Hips stuck? Sore from your last workout? Can't get below parallel? These mobility exercises should help.
Glutes and quads
The glutes and quads are huge muscle groups that attach to your hips. If these get tight, movement in your hips will be restricted. For these exercises, you will need a small mobility ball, or lacrosse ball, and a foam roller. I am using the mobility ball and quad baller from Triggerpoint Therapy.
Imagine you are wearing jeans. Picture the back pocket. We are going to use this as a reference for positioning. To start, place the ball in the middle of this pocket and sit on it. Make sure you are on the muscle and not your sit bones. We ALWAYS avoid rolling on bone. Next, bring your knee up toward your chest and drop it to the outside of your body. You should feel the muscle stretching underneath you. Do this for a total of 6 repetitions. Then we are going to work on different spots around the pocket. Picture the top left of your pocket and position the ball there. You may have to lay back on your elbow to get in the right spot for this one. That's perfectly fine. Then, move your leg the same way we did in the first spot. Keep working your way around the outside of the pocket, finding 3-4 spots that are sore or tight and spending some time there.
Next up, those lovely quads! We are going to divide this section of your leg into 3 zones. Top, middle, and inner thigh. For the top zone, grab your foam roller, place it on the top of your quad right above your knee, and flip over to your stomach. Propping yourself up on your elbows, begin with the leg straight and then pull your foot toward your butt. Again, you should feel the muscle stretching beneath you. Perform 6 of these kicks, then move up a few inches and repeat. Keep moving up your leg, pausing at 3-4 spots along the way. Stop when you reach your hip crease. Then, move the foam roller back down to your knee and tilt your body at a 45 degree angle. This is the middle zone we referenced earlier. Perform the same 6 kicks in 3-4 different spots again until you reach your hip crease. Then, flip back over onto your stomach and position the roller just above your knee on the inside of your thigh. Perform 6 kicks in 3-4 spots once again. If your quads are extra sensitive and you can't kick your leg back in any of these positions, just breathe into the stretch. Sit for about 20 seconds at each spot and move up. If you can kick, do so. But you may need to work your way up to that.
Psoas and Hip Flexors
The psoas is a very deep abdominal muscle that runs on both sides of your spine and connects to the front of your hip (your hip flexor). If you are experiencing any lower back pain or tightness in the front of your hip, this muscle is worth considering.
Take your small mobility ball again and lay on your side. Place the ball on your belly button, and roll it about one ball length up. Then roll over onto your stomach with the ball in place.
Something to take note of here: it is important that you lay on your side and allow your organs to shift over before flipping to your stomach with the ball in place. Just like we don't want to roll on bone, we don't want to smoosh any organs either.
Everyone is different, so you may have to play with the position of the ball a bit, but once you get the ball in place we are going to then lift the leg. If the ball is on your right side, lift your right leg using your glutes and hamstrings. Do your best to keep the leg straight and allow the muscle to stretch underneath you. Some feel this movement quite intensely, while others hardly feel it at all. So don't worry if you don't feel a stretch here. That just means your psoas muscle is not overly tight which is a good thing.
I hope these movements help you guys out. Drop a comment below and let me know!