4 Simple Hip Mobility Drills To Reduce Low Back Pain
Tightness/stiffness/immobility in the hips…it’s one of the most common dysfunctions I see in clients on a daily basis and can be a relatively common cause of sacroiliac joint pain, knee, ankle and most importantly… low back pain. The days of heat packs, ultrasound and ESTIM as a means of treating low back pain are thankfully over as the importance of addressing the biomechanical factors associated with pathology is better understood.
There’s plenty of new research that indicates a relationship between low back pain and hip pain secondary to limited range of motion in the hips (namely deficits in hip rotation) and the fitness world has now come a long way in understanding the importance of mobility work and its influence on pain, performance and training.
When it comes to the hips, ensuring we have good ranges in flexion, extension, internal and external rotation and abduction is vital to reducing the stresses and strains placed on the lower back and other area of the kinetic chain that can compensate. Below are a few of my go to drills for trying to improve hip mobility, but it’s worth remembering that they are simply part of a bigger picture. All the stretching and mobilising in the world won’t necessarily improve your motor control, pain and movement abilities without stability and neutral positioning of the pelvis and spine…but more on that another day!
A nice drill that addresses multiple areas…external rotation on the lead hip and internal rotation and adduction on the trail leg.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try a few transfers, ending up in the same position on the opposite side.
So often performed with poor technique…but when done correctly, this is a really effective drill for addressing mobility issues with hip extension.
Switching on your glute max will also induce what is known as reciprocal inhibition – whereby the activation of one muscle decreases the activity in the opposing muscle/muscles. In this case, squeezing your butt helps to decrease the activation in the anterior hip musculature.
Basically an isometric or static hold at the bottom position of a squat
Bringing it all home with a big bang for your buck drill that I use with the majority of my clients. It manages to hit both hips simultaneously; incorporating hip flexors, adductors, internal and external rotators.
Give these a try and assess how you feel after…more mobile? Less pain? If so…it’s probably a good sign to start incorporating them into your training regimen. Hopefully it goes without saying that if you experience pain and/or a deep pinching in your hips with any of the above…stop!