Turns out, Shakira isn’t the only one who believes that hips don’t lie. Those ball-and-socket joints can tell a lot about a person, and just as important is how well they are taken care of through hip strengthening and stretching.
When a person’s hips are tight, it usually means they’ve been doing a lot of sitting, such as a desk job, or working at a computer, says Chelsea Wilkens, NASM-CPT, a trainer at Soho Strength Lab in New York City. , “By doing active stretches before or after prolonged sitting, you will help to relax the area, feel less tight, and help yourself sit comfortably,” says Wilkens. “It will also help protect against injuries.”
Hip strength and mobility can also help improve movement patterns and posture. “If a joint isn’t working—say, the hip is tight and immobile—this can put stress on the joint above or below it,” says Wilkens. When the hips are strong, it can put pressure on the lower back or knee joint, which can then alter posture and gait (aka, how you walk) and lead to injuries.
1. World’s Greatest Stretch
Start in a plank position, hands on the floor directly under shoulders, core engaged, body in a straight line from head to heels. Step right foot forward and right hand outside. Raise your right hand, place it behind the head, and lower your right elbow toward the floor. Then bring your elbows up toward the ceiling as you rotate your torso to the right. Pause for 3 seconds. Put hands back down and step right foot back to plank. Then, repeat on the left side. Continue alternating for 5 reps on each side.
2. Banded Ankle Kick-Slides
Place a looped band around the ankles and stand with feet hip-width apart. Sit a little back on the hips. Standing on the left leg, straighten the knee and take the right leg to the side. Then go back to hip-width. Repeat for 10 reps. Then, straightening your knee, step your right leg diagonally behind you. Then go back to hip-width. Repeat for 10 reps. Then switch sides. Do 10 reps on each left side.
3. Banded Glute Bridge