Ahh, tight hip flexors and locked hips.
There’s a good chance you’ve felt this before, especially if you’ve spent a few hours in a row on the couch. The moment you stand up, you feel tense and restricted right under your pelvis. And no, that’s not a good thing.
But it’s a common problem. And whether you go to the gym or not, it can cause you problems. For everyday people, tight hip flexors and locked hips create shaky posture and core imbalances that can lead to lower back problems. Athletes, meanwhile, can struggle to move sideways, and their overactive hip flexors can prevent them from getting the most out of important exercises like hanging leg raises, deadlifts, and squats.
It’s a series of movements that allow you to open your hips, but it’s about more too, says Samuel. “The thing that is forgotten in the hunt for mobility is that you need stability with mobility,” he says. “You can’t blindly pursue flexibility and mobility. You won’t do that here.”
Instead, as you open your hips, you are strengthening key core principles and building midback stability as well. Core control is also key. “By keeping your abs tight,” says Samuel, “you are actually challenging the range of motion of your hips and hip flexors more, and making sure the movement you create comes from your hips, not from shifting your spine.”
In the meantime, in addition to training your hips, you will also train valuable stability in your middle back and shoulder. Reaching your arms above your head is key, says Samuel, as long as you get it right. “Squeeze your back and back muscles to propel your arms above your head,” says Samuel. “But keep a tight core while doing this so you make sure you’re not arching your lower back or trying to arch through your thoracic spine.”
It’s all so simple that you can (and should do it) anywhere.
- Start in the push-up position, core and glutes firm.
- Switch down into the dog, contract your abs, straighten your legs, and propel your bum up. This should stretch your hamstrings.
- Move your right foot next to your right hand and aim for a perpendicular shin. Place your left knee and shin on the floor with a pointy toe.
- Tighten your abs and glutes and move your arms over your head.
- Put your hands on the floor and twist your torso to the left, sitting on your left hip. Take this as deep as it is comfortable.
- Pull your core tight and run your hands over your head again.
- Return to the push-up plank position and repeat. Do 3 sets of 3-5 repetitions per side.
Best of all, you can do it anytime you need to loosen your hips and feel “all around great,” as Samuel says. “You’re moving your body the way it should move so that it doesn’t strain your nervous system or require recovery,” says Samuel. “Do it several times a day.
Whenever you do, take your time. “This is not a race,” says Samuel. “Make sure you take a deep breath in each position and then move on.”
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full list of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more specialized routine, consider Eb’s New muscle rules Program.
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