The hip complex is an incredibly involved musculoskeletal unit that's responsible for linking the lower body to the trunk while absorbing and transferring significant amounts of force during movement. In fact, the muscles within the pelvic girdle aren't actually contained within the "hips" themselves — rather, they include the muscles of the low back, glutes, hamstrings, quads, abductors and adductors.
In today's sit, sit, sit world, it's incredibly common for the hip flexors (the muscles that run along the front of the hips and into the upper thighs) to shorten, while the glutes become weaker. The muscles of the low back are also inclined to tighten up, and the low back and hips are particularly prone to "hold" tightness due to stress. In a nutshell, if you have tight hips, chances are you have low back or hip pain, stiffness when standing up or walking around and reduced range of motion.
Regular stretching can help "open up" the hip complex, relieve pain, reduce tension and just make you feel good. If you're feeling tight or cranky, take six minutes to perform the following six stretches. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
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