If you work a desk job like me, the chances are that you probably have tight hips. This can cause a lot of discomfort, not only around the hips but in other areas of the body, such as the lower back. This is because when you have weak hips, the muscles and joints surrounding them have to take on extra load to compensate.
Quitting my day job isn’t really an option, so I’ve been on the hunt for simple ways to mobilize and strengthen my hips. Regular stretching that incorporates hip mobility exercises is one of the best ways to do this and I’m trying to spend five to 10 minutes stretching and mobilizing my body each day.
As part of that, I decided to try a routine by osteopath Dr Andrew Harkin that’s designed to relieve stiff hips. It’s only three exercises and all you need is a resistance band.
It involves two passive stretches and one dynamic stretch and it’s simple to do no matter your ability level. I did it first thing in the morning to wake up my body and warm up my joints before a day of work.
Watch the Instagram post below where Harkin demonstrates the exercises.
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Hold the first two stretches for 60 seconds and complete 20 reps on each side of the band hip mobilizations.
I’d never tried any of the moves in this routine before and using a resistance band certainly intensified the stretches. I’m fairly flexible, and hypermobile in certain areas of my body, so sometimes I find it difficult to achieve a deep stretch with bodyweight exercises, but each of these three moves immediately opened up my hips.
Using a resistance band for these exercises also encouraged me to move deeper into the stretches as I held them, particularly with the passive movements. As my muscles got warmer, I realized I could actually move my legs further down during the groin stretch, with the band encouraging me to do so.
Taking time to stretch at the start of the day also helped me start my morning in a mindful and relaxed way, because I focused on my breathing while holding each of the stretches. Plus, it only took five minutes to do this routine, so it’s not as much commitment as a yoga or Pilates session.
If you’d like to try this session but don’t own a long looped resistance band, you’ll find our recommendations in this selection of the best resistance bands. It’s worth the outlay, especially because that type of resistance band is required for workouts that can improve your posture, like this resistance band shoulder workout.
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Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.