Hip Mobility for Athletes
Many of my athletes tell me that their hips always feel tight, so I decided to do a little research on this and read up on the relationship between hip mobility and how it affects performance and other areas of the body. I always notice that whenever I “warm up” my hips I tend to feel better during my workout. This is no coincidence. I can kick higher, lunge deeper, and squat lower.
Whenever my chiropractor gives me strength and mobility for my lower back, it always includes work on the hips, and vice versa. I’ve learned that if your hips and hip flexors lack in mobility, this can create problems in other areas, particularly undue stress on the lower back.
Believe it or not, your hip flexors go all the way under your pelvis and connect to none other than your lower back! So, it’s no wonder that a pelvis that is tilted forward is putting a lot of strain on the lower back and posterior chain. If you think about it, a pelvic tilt in the wrong direction can really mess things up. I know that I definitely have a pelvic tilt from many years of being a top level gymnast and always arching my spine. I have to consciously think about tucking my tailbone under to put my spine in a more neutral position therefore taking pressure off my lower back. I’ve actually had conversations with PT’s who go as far to say that tight hip flexors are the root of all evil and are responsible for a slew of back as well as hip issues.
So I am pretty certain now that hips that move well don’t need to ask areas around them for intervention.
The best thing you can do to keep your hips healthy is to make them move in a full range of directions. This means not just walking but incorporating hip mobility into your daily routine. If you are only moving your hips in one range of motion such as running or walking, mobility will be sacrificed and your body will find a way to overcome this weakness by compensating with another area such as your back.
To help you maintain healthy hip mobility, I present you with several moves that you can do to work the full range of motion of your hips. Think front, back, lateral, and in circles for the fullest range of motion. I also threw in a few key lower back exercises because so often tight hips are what actually makes your back hurt.
Take these and make them your own, modify as needed. Choose just a few to do a few minutes before your workout each day and you will start to notice a difference in your flexibility and mobility.
Check out my YouTube channel for lots of great resources for triathletes!
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