Hip tension is a very common dysfunction that can limit many things. From normal daily activities like picking up your children to higher level activities like rock climbing.
Doesn't matter what you're doing, if you have tension, it can be extremely painful!
Here is a simple test to see if your hips, hamstrings or both are the culprit.
Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. We call this "long sitting." Try to stack your body on top of your pelvic floor without rounding your lumbar spine.
Things to think about:
Are you able to keep your knees straight and maintain a neutral spine?
If so, GREAT!!! Whatever you are doing to maintain happy hips, keep it up!
If not, no worries. Just know you should not be sitting for prolonged periods of time because you are already too tight!
Let's dive deeper:
While in the long sit position, bend your knees. Can you now achieve a neutral spine with your weight over the pelvic floor? If so, it was likely primarily your hamstring tension that was holding you back from achieving that "good", neutral position. We will show you how to stretch that in the video below!
If bending the knees did not help to get you closer to a neutral spine, then you likely have more hip joint tension limiting you. So, mobilizing your femur in the hip socket would be more helpful.
Likely, you'll need to do both hamstring and hip mobilizations. So check out the videos!
Standing hamstring stretch:
Start in a standing position with your feet together or at shoulder width apart. Then, with a little bend in the knees, bend forward over your toes while making sure you are not rounding your pelvis or lumbar spine. Keep a straight back. Start to bend and straighten the knees to help to increase the hamstring stretch.
Perform this for a couple of minutes.
Hamstring stretch and hip mobilization:
While in standing, get into the exact same position as above but this time you are going to loop a yoga strap and secure one end to the wall at hip height and the other around the front of the hip.
Then walk forward until you feel tension on the yoga strap bend over in the same exact way as above.
This should feel like the yoga strap is pulling the thigh bone backward while also stretching your hamstrings.
Continue to perform these exercises until you can perform a long sit with your body weight over the pelvic floor and maintain a neutral spine. This should significantly help your ability to perform all types of functional movement patterns and, not to mention, help maintain the correct sitting posture.
See ya next week!
Your Physical Therapists (AKA Doctors of Movement), Dr. Snyder & Dr. Mallari