I just wanted to post a quick one for today for you to check out. It’ll be the beginning of a series I wanted to share with you over the next few posts about environments and positions you can put your body into that will help mobilize and strengthen your Tight Hips. These will be some “Front Butt” Stretching Variations that you can throw into your warm up, in between squat/lunge sets, or even as a segment of your metabolic conditioning cycle at the end of your work out. The “Front Butt” is a term coined by Gary Gray that describes the anterior hip compartment (Rectus Femoris, Iliopsoas, Sartorious, TFL/IT Band, Pectineus, and the Adductor Group), and is one of the more notorious areas for excessive tightness, as well as a significant contributor toward pain pretty much anywhere in the body, but especially in the low back and knees.
The first variation I’ll cover is the basic half kneeling hip driver, with overhead arm matrix reaches.
What Does it Do?
This is the basics of the basics, folks. A great stretch for targeting the “front butt”, and something I include in with alot of my training sessions with clients who have tight hips.
Who is This Stretch For?
Anyone who has excessive anterior pelvic tilt and tight hips. It’s also a great stretch for those who sit for extended periods of the day (that’s you, Mr./Mrs. desk jockey ;)).
How Do I Maximize the Benefit of the Stretch?
One of the biggest mistakes people make when performing this stretch is getting their motion through the back as opposed to the pelvis. Imagine reaching the top of your head as high in the air as possible will make the spine longer and create a natural “tensioning” of the trunk. This tension will take up any “slack” in the fascial connective tissue, thus preventing the motion to go through the path of least resistance (which is typically located at the lumbar spine), and ensure the motion goes to where we need it (the hips).
Some of the clients I’ve worked with comment that they can’t “feel” the stretch with some of the ranges of motion (usually the side to side and rotational motions). In these cases, I try to emphasize to the client that sometimes in order for the “feeling” to build, it is important to take the hips back and forth through the 3d motions so the joint proprioceptors have an opportunity to actually turn on. The acceleration and deceleration of the thigh and hip bones through these motions causes a reaction to happen in the joint, and this is what turns on these proprioceptors. The proprioceptors then in turn switch on muscles to get them ready for strengthening movements.
How many Sets/Reps Should I Do?
Something in between 1-3 sets of 5-8 reps per direction should suffice. Work additional sets/reps if you are experiencing excess tightness, and remember that after a group of muscles is stretched, it is essential to strengthen the tissues into the ranges of motion you just stretched it for the muscles to be able to work in that new length that you just created.
Give it a shot and let me know your thoughts!