Let's speak about tight hips this week! Let's look at three of the most common causes of hip soreness.
1. You Run. Running is notorious for causing many problems, such as tight hips. However, most of the time it is due to your running style rather than any other factor. One reason might be that you rely more on your quadriceps than your glutes and hamstrings to propel you forward. The goal isn't to quit running but to make sure you are doing exercises to strengthen the other muscle groups to prevent injury so you can continue your love of running.
2. Weak feet
If your feet are weak, they will not be able to provide the necessary support for your body, which can lead to problems further up the kinetic chain. This is why it is so important to have strong and healthy feet. When your feet are weak, it can cause your ankles to pronate or collapse inward. This can cause several problems, including knee, hips, and lower back pain. To avoid these problems, it is important to strengthen your feet with exercises such as toe raises and calf raises, which we do in almost every Pilates exercise. (Hello, crampy feet).
3. Poor posture
If you have poor posture, it can lead to tightness in your hips. This is because when you slouch, your pelvis tilts forward or backwards, which puts more strain on the muscles and tissues in your hips. We all know how terrible sitting is for your posture, but unfortunately, we can't avoid it in our culture. (I'm looking at you, office workers and students!)
In addition to poor posture, another common cause of tightness in the hips is sitting for long periods. This is because when you sit, your hip flexor muscles (located in the front of your hips) are in a shortened position. Over time, this can lead to tightness and even hip pain. To avoid this, stand up, move around every 20 minutes, and do some simple stretches throughout the day.
Remember that your body is a whole system. When one part of your body is tight and weak, another part will have to work harder. This can cause injuries, pain and stiffness. Instead of always stretching the tight muscle, try to find the weakness causing the tightness. You can prevent injuries and find lasting relief from hip pain.
One common imbalance we see is when the hip flexors are tight, the glutes and hamstrings are weak in comparison. So, while it might feel good to stretch your hip flexors, if you don't also strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, the imbalance will remain. This is why we always recommend a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises and why PILATES is the ultimate workout for creating a balanced body!
Pilates can help alleviate tension in the hip flexors by:
-strengthening the muscles that support good posture
-increasing range of motion in the hips
All these things work together to help reduce strain on the hip flexor muscles and prevent them from becoming tight.
So doing the 100 may not seem like an exercise that will help stretch your hips, but it strengthens your core. This, in turn, will help take the load off your hip flexors, improve your posture, and alleviate tension in your hips.
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