Here’s the thing: Your hips are capable of a dynamic range of motion, but your typical forward-oriented movement neglects most of it. When you walk, run or cycle, you only flex and extend your hips. Meanwhile, movement like rotation (turning out and in) and abduction and adduction (moving out to the side and back in) are rarely used, and as a result the hip muscles responsible for driving those movements become sleepy and tight. Weakness in the hips can make you more likely to experience knee, hip and back pain. Ultimately, it’s a balance of hip flexibility and strength—mobility and stability—that will help you prevent an array of injuries. Unlock tightness in the hips with the following yoga exercises made for runners.
Adapted with permission from Hit Reset: Revolutionary Yoga for Athletes (VeloPress, 2016)
1. Hug your knees into your chest. 2. Separate your thighs wide apart and grab your calves, ankles or inner arches of your feet—whatever you can reach while keeping your feet flexed. 3. Turn the soles of your feet so they point toward the ceiling. 4. Keep your butt heavy and touching the floor, spine as neutral as possible.
1. Lie on your back and extend your arms open to the sides at shoulder height, palms up. 2. Bring your feet wider than hip-width apart and drop your thighs to one side. 3. Put your foot on top of the other thigh, using the weight of that leg to encourage the thigh to rotate farther in the hip joint and drop toward the floor. 4. If it’s too difficult to keep your foot on the other leg or if either of your knees is uncomfortable, just rest your foot on the floor instead.
1. Lie on your back and extend your arms along your sides, palms up. 2. Bring the soles of your feet together and drop your thighs toward the floor. 3. Feel the stretch along the inseam of your upper legs and into your hips—if it’s too intense, move your feet farther away from your body. 4. If your knees are uncomfortable, insert blocks or pillows underneath your legs so that your knees have more support.