These powerful alternates will help you open your hips in all directions.
Many of us could use more hip opening. From sitting to standing to walking, our legs are constantly working to support our upper bodies. All this effort can make hip muscles chronically tight, especially when we’re sitting for long periods at desks or in cars.
The phrase “hip-opening” often creates confusion, as many people assume that it’s similar to opening a door or book, and therefore limited to taking your legs apart. But opening your hips means creating mobility in all directions.
Hips are ball and socket joints, which are the most mobile joints in your body. The head of each thigh bone (femur bone) forms the “ball’, which sits in the socket (acetabulum) of your pelvis.
Ball and socket joints also do circumduction, which means moving in all three planes, like when you swing your leg in a circle.
In order to stretch a particular muscle group, you must take your body in the opposite direction of that group’s movement. For example, if you’ve been sitting for long periods, which is hip flexion (taking thighs toward your chest), you’ll want to extend your hip (taking your thighs back) to release your hip flexors.
Your Hips in All Planes of Movement
We are three-dimensional beings. We move in space in many different directions. We can go forward and backward, side to side, and inward and outward. And most of the time, we move in some combination of those directions all at once. For example, to set up our front legs in Pigeon, we must both open our legs to the …