3 Types of Hip Openers to Loosen Up Tight Hips

By: Abi Carver

A woman is doing yoga during the sunset on the beach

What Causes Tight Hips?

Your body is an efficiency machine that adapts to make it as easy possible to do your most common activities. This means that you lose the ability to get into positions and perform movements that you have systematically neglected over time. And that the activity you do with the greatest intensity, overdevelops certain muscles while others become relatively weak. Both overworked and underused muscles can feel ‘tight’, as can painful areas.

  1. Chronic contraction. Most of us are sedentary for the majority of the day. We sit work, on our bicycles, while we’re travelling, eating and relaxing in front of the TV. Sitting chronically shortens the hip flexors and adductors (inner thigh muscles), and over time, you body adapts and you lose access to your full range of motion.

  2. Limited movement patterns. Your hips are designed to flex (bend), extend (straighten), abduct (open), adduct (close) and rotate (turn in and out). Your sport prioritises a particular range of movements at the hip and neglects others. Again, the principle of “use it or lose it” comes into play.

  3. Overuse. Repetition of the same movement patterns over-develops certain muscles while others become relatively weak. These muscular imbalances can pull your pelvis and spine out of alignment and cause pain at your lower back.

  4. Reciprocal inhibition. As the hip flexors tighten from contraction and overuse, the opposing muscles—the glutes—respond by relaxing and deactivating. This process, known as reciprocal inhibition, is designed to protect the hip flexors from tearing. The result can be a further weakening of the glutes.

What Are the Benefits of Increasing Hip Mobility?

Here are some of the primary benefits of loosening up tight hips:

  • Generate more power and speed.

  • Transfer your weight smoothly and efficiently to optimize control and reduce fatigue.

  • Reduce your risk of injury.

  • Relieve associated lower back and knee pain.

We share this article with permission. This article originally appeared here on Yoga 15’s blog.

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