BEECH: Happy Hips

Today at the Beeach Community, we will talk with Ellie, an Exercise Physiologist and Pilates Instructor.

She will be going through some stretches for happy hips. Before you participate in any physical activity, make sure that you seek medical clearance from your doctor.

Doing a warm-up or stretching prior to exercise is essential since in this way we can prevent sprains, strains, which can cause injuries and serious fractures. Even without exercising, incorporating a stretching routine into your daily life is convenient for your health and the proper functioning of your body. Warming up relaxes muscles and increases blood flow along with nutrients in cartilage and muscles.

Also, the stretches that we’re doing today can be a little bit uncomfortable, like Ellie says “comfortably uncomfortable for stretching, but nothing should be painful”

As soon as you have pain in any of these stretches, you’ll have to stop exercising and speak to your doctor.

Now before getting into the stretches, we’re going to do a quick anatomy review and look at the different movements that the hip performs.

Hip Movements

  • Hip flexion using your hip flexors to pull your knee up
  • Hip extension kicking the leg backwards using your gluteal muscles.
  • Hip abduction taking your leg to the side, also uses some gluteal muscles, and then the opposite adduction, so pulling your leg back to the center and squeezing your inner thighs together, that uses your inner thigh muscles or adductors.
  • External rotation and internal rotation uses a combination of muscles.

Let’s Begin

Now, come down to your mat. The stretches today that we’ll be doing we’ll go for about 20 seconds (you can use the timer on your phone). Usually, we recommend you to try and hold your stretches for at least 30 to 45 seconds, so, if you like, keep holding that stretch for more time.

Coming down onto the floor, we’re going to start with some internal and external rotation at the hip. Flying on your back feet about as wide as the mat, roll both knees over to one side and lift up and change to the other side.

Go as far as you can without any pain or discomfort. From here we’re going to take one knee into the chest and hold on to it. If you like you can extend your bottom leg to increase that stretch, and we’re going to hold here 20 seconds. It’s up to you, if you just want to keep it still, or you can go for a bit of circular movements by just rotating the leg (do the same with the other leg). Again, if you like you can extend your bottom leg or you can even just hold this stretch.

We’re gonna move on but, if you want to, you can take both knees into the chest as well, and hug it in, that usually feels quite nice too.

Now, we’re going to roll up to the top, and we’re going to go into a little butterfly or frog stretch. We put the soles of our feet together and let the knees fall out to the side, from here you can take a bit of a lean forward if you like.

This should get your inner thighs, but also a little bit into your outer thighs too. Hold the stretch, and you can increase this one a little bit if you want to.

Now, sweep an arm up and do a big side bend, so we also get a stretch for the body but, kind of stretching that inner thigh too. In this way, we’re stretching your abductors a little bit.

The best thing you can do is just breathe through your stretches. Coming all the way out, the other leg goes out lifting up stretching over and holding. If you flex your foot at the front, you’ll get more of a stretch through your hamstrings to the back of your leg

Next, we’re going to go into a child’s pose stretch, then you’ll have to keep both knees together, sit back into your heels and then reach forward. Option two is we turn the knees out, pretty much as wide as your mat, then you’re gonna crawl forward, then sink into that stretch, and hold.

From here we’re going to come into a hip flexor stretch, so if you can take one foot forward the other one (this is the most important part that a lot of people miss), you want to tuck your pelvis under, and then you’re going to go from sticking your bottom out to trying to point your tailbone down to the floor, and zipping up your core straight away.

You should feel a stretch in your underneath leg front. If you can maintain that, then try to push forward even more and open up that hip if you want to increase the intensity a little bit. You can take your same arm as your back leg and lift up opening the whole front of the body, and then we’re going to repeat on the other side tucking your pelvis under, and then pressing forward holding.

Adding an arm raise if you wish and coming out of it, we’re going to go into a glute stretch next, so we’re going to lie down and then we’re going to put one foot over the other knee and try to hug your knee in towards your chest.

You should feel a stretch in the glute of the leg that’s turned out and bent. Hold that stretch, and change sides.

Thanks to stretching, you will feel much better physically, and not only by increasing the flexibility of the hips and muscles in general, it also reduces muscle tension and a body without tension provides a high level of well-being. If you also prevent injuries and improve your performance in the gym, what are you waiting for to do these stretches daily?