Our hips….. Lawd if I had a dollar for everytime someone told me they have tight hips. It is funny though because I feel like alot of us relate everything tight in the front of our legs as our hips even the inner thigh area. Not that it is necessarily wrong but most of us do not even know what are hips are, what they do, and why they are important. If I asked you would you know?
Here is an example of how our hips get slightly flexed when walking.
Well lets go a little deeper into it then. Our hips are really a MAJOR player in our mobility, our comfort and ability to workout properly, move properly and do everyday things. So to give you a clear understanding, our hips are not just one muscle, we tend to think of “hip flexors” which are but essentially there are 11 of those bad boys responsible for “flexing our hip”. To clarify, to “flex” our hip means to basically swing or raise our leg. Think of when you are stepping up (the knee is bent and leg is 90 degrees aka flexing the hip), when you are walking and swinging your leg forward or when running that is also a degree of hip flexion, when you sit at a desk (like I am right now)…. My hips are flexed. So they get into this position alot, more than they probably get extended…. So they can get tightened and shortened from being this way. That is why we want to not only work to get them less tight, but do so my strengthening the muscles that also work to extend the hip… ya follow??
For example – if we strengthen our glutes and hamstrings more and they can bear more of a load as they are intended then we can take some of the pressure off of our hip flexors. Our glutes and hamstrings are meant to be primary movers as they help extend the hip (think kick back when we walk or run or push off rather) and internally and externally rotate our legs. They also help balance everything out. When we sit alot and our hips shorten then naturally the bigger muscles on the front of our legs take over when we move (think quadriceps) this automatically causes weakness in our glutes and hamstrings because they dont get to do any work. This also can cause too much pressure on our knees and can lead to our pelvis tilting forward because the hips are pulling it down. Then lower back pain starts, we get overstretched and underworked hamstrings and a weak core. If we strengthen the core, hamstrings and glutes it can pull our pelvis into alignment so our posture improves and back pain can diminish.
I know that is alot of information but can you see why keeping our hips mobile and training from a total body approach is important?? If we can get everything balanced out in the front and the back so to speak then we can move and feel better. It is something that is often so overlooked. Do me a favor try stretching your hips out right now, or foam rolling them. If you are confused how then check out the video below.
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