Bilateral hip circles take your hips through lots of different ranges of motion with different muscles participating as you oscillate your hips. This stretch is a keeper just like the Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch. You can do it anywhere. Do it on the golf course to wake up your glutes, open your hips to take pressure off of your lower back, and keep you feeling loose. This is also a great movement to break up extended periods of sitting. But, if you do it in the office or any other public place avoid making eye contact with anyone, they might get the wrong idea;)
The hip is a generic term for the part of the body where each femur inserts into the pelvis. But, it is more than that. The hip is influenced by the anterior (front), posterior (back), lateral (outsides), and medial (groin/inner thigh) muscles that attach from your leg to your pelvis. The hamstrings, groin muscles, glutes, and even the quadriceps have an influence on the pelvis/hips. For golf we need internal and external hip rotation. In your backswing your trail hip internally rotates and your lead hip externally rotates. In your downswing your lead hip internally rotates and your trail hip externally rotates. It is this reciprocal hip rotation that powers your swing from the ground up. If your hip mobility is limited you are more likely to have excessive lateral movement in your backswing (a.k.a. Sway) or excessive lateral movement in your downswing (a.k.a. Slide). Limitations in hip rotation/mobility also put unnecessary stress on your lumbar spine.
There are lots of great hip mobility drills, but when we can offer you one with the fewest barriers to do, it is more likely that you will actually do it. And, if it feels good, you are even more likely to incorporate it into your daily life. And, if you can hit a whole bunch of muscle with one movement, then you are being efficient, and it is always great when you can keep things simple.
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Hip Circles (bilateral) 2-4 sets of 5 circles each direction
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Slightly turn your toes out.
- Place your hands on your hips
- Push your hips to the side, around to the back, through to the other side and forward.
- Take you time, see if you can get the stretch to feel like it goes from groin to hamstring to the front of your hip. Use your glutes when your hips come forward to find some hip flexor stretch. Note: the leg that is straightening is the one that will get most of the stretch.
A couple of tips:
Keep your abs engaged so you are moving from your hips as opposed to moving from your lower back.
Make slow circles, with your intention being to feel the stretch “roll” around from one muscle group to the next.
Widen your stance to get more stretch.