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Effortlessly Enhance Hip Flexibility Through Two Simple Regimens Caused By Prolonged Seating

As famously quoted by Shakira: The hips tell the truth. If your hips are feeling stiff or sore due to extended periods of sitting during the pandemic, rest assured that you are not alone. These exercises focused on strengthening and improving flexibility in the hip flexors can come to your rescue. Recent studies indicate that the majority of American adults spend over eight hours per day seated (and this data was gathered before the transition to working from home eliminated daily commutes). Many individuals now only have to move from their bed to the bathroom, then to the kitchen, and finally to their workstation in the morning, leaving little time for stretching and strengthening the muscles surrounding their hips. Consequently, these muscles are losing their mobility, which explains why they can cause unexpected discomfort when you try to engage them.

These clicking sensations are often experienced during movements involving bending and extending the legs, such as transitioning from a seated position to standing. Carolyn Lyons, the founder of Wild Girl Wellness and a certified personal trainer with a background in exercise physiology, explains, “When our psoas muscle—commonly referred to as the hip flexor—becomes stiff from infrequent full-range movement utilization, it can produce that ‘snapping’ sound.”

Lyons highlights on social media the negative impact of tight hip flexors on pelvic stability and the subsequent chain reaction it triggers throughout the body. These asymmetries frequently lead to one side of the hip compensating for the other, affecting overall posture. Prolonged sitting is a primary culprit for tight hip flexors, as the hips remain flexed and in a shortened position. The positive news is that there are two uncomplicated exercises designed to boost hip flexor strength and flexibility (no equipment required!) that can help enhance hip mobility and alleviate those uneasy clicks and creaks.

@wildgirlwellness#hipflexors always out here trying to ruin all the fun #hipmobilitywork #warmuptime♬ Coming In Hot – Andy Mineo & Lecrae

1. Seated straight-leg hip flexion

Commence by sitting on the floor with your legs extended and spread wider than shoulder-width apart. Place a weight or object (e.g., a small water bottle) on the floor between your calves. Position your right hand in the crack between your legs and your left hand on the floor outside your left leg. While maintaining straight legs, lift your left leg over the object alongside the right one, lightly touching the floor before returning to the initial position. Aim for 5–10 repetitions before switching sides.

“This hip flexion exercise can be made more challenging by elevating the height of the object over which you raise your leg or leaning against a wall, preventing you from leaning backwards,” advises Lyons.

2. Supine straight-leg hip circles

Lie on your back with legs straight, arms bent, and hands positioned behind your head. Elevate your left leg straight upwards, forming a right angle with your body. Utilize your hip muscles to perform 5–10 small clockwise and counterclockwise circles in the air (ensuring your back remains flat on the ground and limiting body motion). Upon completion, switch legs and repeat the movement.

“Both of these exercises can be performed two to three times weekly,” states Lyons. “For individuals finding them challenging, I incorporate these exercises into their workout routine as regular hip or abs movements. As their strength improves, I transition them into their warm-up routine.”

These exercises not only aid in relieving hip clicks and creaks but have also been shown to enhance running and jumping abilities, according to research findings. For additional benefits, take short breaks throughout the day to stand and walk briskly. Your hip flexors—and posture—will appreciate the effort.

For additional care for your tight hips, consider integrating this hip-opening yoga flow into your fitness regimen:

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