Why is Hip Mobility Important?
Hip mobility is essential to the proper full functioning of the hip joint. While the hip joint is meant to be more stable and less mobile than the shoulder joint, it can still be extremely limiting and even harmful if the hip joint lacks its full mobility. There are many structures (15 muscles, 3 major ligaments, etc) that cross the hip joint And move it or stabilize it. Therefore, it is a complex joint that needs to be operating at its fullest in order to create peak athletic performance and prevent injury.
Hip Mobility & Athletic Performance:
Think of a dancer that could not do a full 180+ degree leap; Or a hurdler that could not fluidly skim over the top of a hurdle; Or a sprinter without full hip extension to propel him/her forward? All of these various athletes require full hip mobility to be successful in sport. Hip extension helps allow for speed to run and power to jump. While full hip flexion allows us to squat and do many other lifts properly. Hip abduction and hip adduction allow athletes to weave amongst competitors and cut on the field of play. Without full hip mobility, these athletes cannot perform at their best.
Hip Mobility & Injury Prevention:
Hip mobility is also crucial for injury prevention. We have touched on the idea of the “closed chain” in previous blog posts, but this means that an immobility at the hip can cause injury below or above that joint. This means that restrictions at the hip can elicit lower back pain or even knee and ankle pain.
How Can I Improve Hip Mobility?
There are many ways to gain mobility in any joint. The most commonly known ways to regain mobility include static stretching or foam rolling, but there are many other more interesting ways to gain active range of motion! Below are two unique ways to improve mobility at the hip:
- Hip Flexor Distraction stretch: this stretch is similar to most hip flexor stretches in positioning, but with an added twist! This stretch requires a resistance band. Start by attaching one end of the resistance band (at hip level) to a sturdy object (fitness equipment at gym). Then, loop the other end around the upper portion of your leg closest to your hip. Then assume the hip flexor stretch position. This provides a manual distraction while you stretch. By applying a manual distraction backwards, it opens more space in the joint and allows you to gain some added range of motion.
2. Quadruped Hip Rotation Exercise: this is a unique stretch in that it is dynamic and ACTIVE! most stretches, including the one above gain mobility passively. This exercise will help you to use your muscles to actively gain mobility at the hip joint. Watch the following video below to see how Dr. Adrian encourages his patients to perform this exercise properly: