When it comes to our anatomy, most of us know that we’ve got glute muscles, and that’s as far as our knowledge of our hips goes (if even that). However, if you suffer from “tight hips,” chances are, it has nothing to do with your glutes being too tight.
One of the most common causes of tight hips that I see is actually WEAK glutes. Our glutes are the largest muscles in our hips, and they are designed to be our primary standing and walking muscles. However, due to poor posture or lack of use, they often forget how to do their job.
When this happens, a muscle known as the piriformis usually takes over. (Occasionally it’s one of the other small, deep hip rotator/stabilizer muscles, but the piriformis is most common.) When this muscle jumps in to do a job it wasn’t designed for, it can get way too tight, inflamed, or injured. Inconveniently, the sciatic nerve passes right through the piriformis, so this can also aggravate sciatica.
Let’s add to that the fact that many women also have over-tight pelvic floor muscles, due to chronically engaging the pelvic floor or constantly sucking in their tummy. The pelvic floor attaches all throughout the interior of the bowl of the pelvis, so when it is over-tight, that can also feel like “tight hips.” So what can you do about these two causes?
- Breathe! Unless you’re actively using your hip muscles, release and relax the pelvic floor and hips with every inhale. Try this in a range of positions until you can feel that full release.
- Adjust your posture so your glutes are engaged when standing and walking. I have a few videos on this in my Facebook Group – jump in there to see them.
- Strengthen your glutes. Just a few exercises to try include: Deadlifts, squats, lunges, and glute bridges.
I’d love to help offer you some more specifics on how to get relief from tight hips. Book a free consult with me now to discuss!