Basic Exercises for Tight Hip Flexors or Sore Hips – Part Two

We see lots of people who are experiencing tight hip flexors or other hip pain. Last week I wrote about the importance of flexible hip muscles including the hip flexors, hip rotators and hip extensors. That post also included a number of stretches and activation drills to help keep your hip muscles healthy and free from injury.

This week I’ll show you some exercise to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the hips. Remember, when doing these exercises you may feel a mild to moderate stretch but should not experience pain.

Strengthening

Strengthening the hip is important, as this joint is required for many of our daily activities such as walking, going up/down stairs, squatting, getting up from chairs and rolling over in bed.

The exercises below are basic and intended to begin the strengthening process. Initially, your focus should be on the quality of movement not the quantity. Once you feel comfortable performing these exercises, you can increase your repetitions and progress to more advanced exercises.

Bridging
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat (shoulder width apart)
  • Gentle activate TA (see above)
  • Roll your pelvis backwards and squeeze your bottom to lift up your hips so they are in line with your shoulders

 

Leg slides
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat (shoulder width apart)
  • Gentle activate TA (see above)
  • Straighten 1 leg away from your body keeping your back and pelvis still
  • Bring the leg back to starting position and repeat with other leg

 

Dropouts
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat (shoulder width apart)
  • Gentle activate TA (see above)
  • Rotate leg away from body to about 45 degrees keeping other leg still
  • Bring the leg back to starting position and repeat with other leg
Leg Lifts in Sitting 
  • Sitting on chair with feet flat on floor
  • Gentle activate TA (see above)
  • Lift 1 foot off the floor keeping back still
  • Try not to push down with arms for support
  • Bring the leg back to starting position and repeat with other leg
 
Mini squats
  • Standing with feet shoulder width apart, arms out at shoulder level
  • Bend at the hips first – sticking out your bottom
  • Then bend at the knees to continue to squat about 45 degrees down
  • Push up through heels squeezing bottom to stand upright again

 

Got sore hips or tight hip flexors, glutes or hamstrings? Book a physio appointment today.

Some of these exercises can be difficult – if you have any questions or concerns, please come and see our experienced physiotherapists for a detailed assessment and tailored exercise plan. 

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This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Sports Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre. 

Basic Exercises for Tight Hip Flexors or Sore Hips – Part One

Do you experience soreness or tightness in your hips? If so, this can come from tightness in the muscles around your hips.

Some of the main hip muscles are:

  • Hip flexors: Iliopsoas, rectus femoris, tensor fascia latae and sartorius
  • Hip rotators: piriformis, gemelli, obturators
  • Hip extensors: gluteals, hamstrings

Flexible hip muscles are important for healthy hips and also necessary for long-term mobility and stability in your lower back. This blog post includes a range of stretches and activation drills that will keep your hip muscles healthy and help you to prevent pain and injury.

If you have any questions about the following exercises (or if you would like to book an appointment for your tight hip flexors or general hip pain and tightness), don’t hesitate to contact us.

Stretches

Hip flexibility is important because it ensures full range of motion. When performing these exercises, you should feel a mild to moderate stretch and no pain.

Hamstrings
  • Put your foot up on a step or chair
  • Bend your knee slightly
  • Lean forward from your hips, pushing your bottom backwards as your chest goes forward
  • Feel stretch at back of upper thigh
  • Hold 30 sec x 3

 

Hip Flexors
  • Kneel on the floor with affected leg knee on the floor
  • Tuck bottom under and lean weight forward slightly
  • Feel stretch at front of hip
  • Hold 30 sec x 3

 

 

Gluteals
  • Sit down with unaffected leg straight
  • Bend affected leg knee over unaffected leg
  • Pull bent knee towards chest as you turn towards affected hip
  • Feel stretch around bottom
  • Hold 30 sec x 3

 

 

 Piriformis
  • Lying on back
  • Put affect leg foot on opposite knee
  • Pull unaffected leg towards chest
  • Feel stretch around bottom
  • Hold 30 sec x 3

 

 

Activation Drills (Isometrics)

Isometric contractions involve a muscle tensing or contracting without creating movement. These drills target the small, deep stability muscles around the hip and pelvis. These muscles are often inhibited from working properly when you have an episode of hip pain.

These exercises should be performed without pain – it is important that you master these exercises before moving on to harder exercises.

Transversus abdominis (TA)
  • Lying on back, knees bent up and feet flat
  • Gently draw in lower tummy without moving back or pelvis
  • Hold for 5 breaths
Pelvic Floor
  • Lying on back, knees bent up and feet flat
  • Gently draw pelvic floor up and in – like you are stopping the flow of urine when doing a wee
  • Hold for 5 breaths
Gluteus Minimus
  • Lying on your unaffected side with pillow between knees
  • Try to draw the ball of the hip into the socket
  • Hold 5-10 sec x 10
Gluteus Medius
  • Lying on your unaffected side with pillow between knees
  • Imagine lifting top leg slightly without actually moving leg
  • Hold 5-10 sec x 10
Hip abductors
  • Lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat (shoulder width apart)
  • Tie belt around thighs
  • Gently press out into belt – try to keep muscles at front of hip relaxed
  • Hold 5-10 sec x 10
  • This can also be done in standing
Iliopsoas
  • Lying on your back with knees bent over 2 pillows
  • Imagine lifting your affected leg off the pillows without actually moving your leg
  • Hold 5-10 sec x 10

 

 

Some of these exercises can be difficult – if you have any questions or concerns, please come and see our experienced physiotherapists for a detailed assessment and tailored exercise plan.

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Stay tuned for part 2 – hip strengthening exercises! Want to find out more about how you can improve your health and wellbeing? Check out these simple lifestyle changes you can make.

This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Sports Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre. 

Simple lifestyle changes to improve your health and wellbeing

As January draws to a close, only 11 months remain to achieve your New Year goal of improved health and wellbeing. Traditionally, January and February are when people are most motivated – although sometimes the approach is a little too gung-ho. Improving your health and wellbeing is best approached as the turtle not the hare; making small changes slowly is the best way to prevent injuries, make continuous progress towards your goal, and to form new and lasting habits.

Here are some suggestions for a healthier you:

  • If you sit at a desk during the day, try to get up every 30 minutes. Walk to the kitchen/toilet/printer; maybe even do some squats!
  • Shoulder rolls and gentle neck stretches during the day may help relieve neck and shoulder tension, especially if you use a computer
  • Park your car further from the bus-stop, train station or workplace and walk the extra distance (2 minutes or 20 minutes depending on your fitness)
  • Try to be active on your lunch break rather than sitting – go for a walk,
    go to the gym, do some stretches, stand up to eat
  • Assess your workstation ergonomics – check your elbows are at 90 degrees, the top of your computer screen is at eye level, and your feet are flat on the floor
  • Add some stretching to your day – morning, lunch, evening – whatever time suits you
  • Have a walk-and-talk meeting rather than sitting around a table – you can still take your coffee!
  • Don’t forget to breathe. Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, then out through your mouth. Repeat 4 times.
  • Schedule time to exercise. If it’s a ‘date’, you’ll be less likely to skip it
  • Exercise with a friend or family member
  • Remember that exercise doesn’t have to mean running a marathon. Find what you enjoy doing – boxing, bushwalking, swimming, Pilates, yoga, running, weights, crossfit. There are so many options out there!
  • When eating, take your time. Chew your food and enjoy it.
  • Have that niggly pain assessed and diagnosed; prevention is always better than cure.
  • And finally, don’t forget to put a smile on your dial – it keeps those face muscles strong and you never know who might be watching. ☺

Not sure how to make small and safe changes to your lifestyle? Our dedicated team of physiotherapists can help. We are movement and exercise specialists who want to help you improve your health and wellbeing. We recognise that all our clients have different goals and abilities and are always happy to help.

If you’re unsure about your body’s abilities, how to perform an exercise, or need further lifestyle advice – we are only a phone call away.

This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Sports Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor. 

Setting Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

New year’s resolutions… We’ve all been there and done that!

I want to lose weight. I want to eat better. I want to do park run every Saturday. I want to take up yoga. I want to return to playing soccer.

Did you know 80% of people have given up on their resolution/s by February? By the end of 2018 only 8% will succeed in achieving their new year’s resolutions.

“Setting goals is the first step in making the invisible into the visible” Tony Robbins.

Goal setting is important when setting resolutions and the best goals are ‘SMART’. So, what is a SMART goal?

Lucy Beumer | Physiotherapist at Stafford Physiotherapy treating pilates clientS = Specific

Outline in as much detail as possible what your goal is. Ask yourself the following questions: What do you want to achieve? When do you want to achieve it? How will you achieve it? Who will help you achieve it?

M = Measurable

How will you measure your success in your goal? This can be done in a number of ways, but needs to be relevant to you and your goal: How many kilometres do you want to run? How much weight do you want to lose? How fast do you want to run 5km?

A = Achievable

Is your goal achievable? Consider how you will achieve it? Do you need to consider time and financial constraints? Do you have an old injury that is bothering you and might limit your success?

R = Realistic

Have you been realistic in what you can achieve and how you will achieve it? Do you love chocolate way too much to give it up completely? Are you really going to have the time to exercise every day? Make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure!

T = Time based

Set a time frame that you would like to complete your goal within. Remember it needs to be achievable and realistic.

So, how can physiotherapists help?

As physiotherapists we can support you in achieving your new year’s resolutions. We are movement and exercise specialists and can help you by:

  • Assisting you in setting SMART goals
  • Providing you with a detailed physical assessment prior to starting an exercise program
  • Planning a tailored exercise program for you including stretching, Pilates, gym and running programs
  • Suggesting injury prevention and recovery strategies
  • Showing you correct form and how to exercise with good technique and safely
  • Communicating with your support team, such as your coach and/or doctor
  • Recommending appropriate footwear, braces and supports

And if things go awry, we can help you tackle any injuries or aches and pains that you get so that you’re able to get back on track as soon as possible. No matter how slow you go, you’re still making more progress than if you were doing nothing!

This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre.