Hip Stretches and Myofascial Release
Stretching your hip muscles and joints decreases your risk of low back and knee pain, according to physical therapist Gray Cook, author of "Movement." Myofascial release is a technique that physical therapists and massage therapists use to stretch and release connective tissue, or fascia, tightness within and around your muscles that causes pain and stiffness. Once the tissues are released, perform stretching exercises to maintain the joint and muscle mobility and prevent the stiffness from returning.
Myofascial Release Purpose
When muscles and fasciae get injured, they become tight to protect the part from further damage and tearing, according to Myofascial Release.com. The shortness and tightness cause one side of your body, such as your buttocks, to become uneven, causing hip and low back pain. Myofascial release involves the therapist massaging the affected area by using compression forces to smooth the fibers and fasciae along the muscle's gradient. The amount of pressure used would depend on your sensitivity and the injury degree.
Types of Stretching
Static stretching of your hip involves stretching a muscle group or joint in one direction for a duration of time -- usually about 30 seconds. This decreases neural stimulation to the muscles, causing relaxation and elongation of the fibers and fasciae, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Dynamic stretching is moving your joints and muscles in their full range of motion repetitively, stimulating neural activity, increasing body temperature and improving tissue elasticity. You should perform dynamic stretching before a workout as a warm-up and static stretching after a workout.
You can also perform myofascial release on yourself by using a foam roller, which is a long cylindrical tube that is made out of a dense styrofoam. You can use this technique to smooth out tight and sensitive tissues in your hip. To roll on your buttocks, lay the foam roller on the ground and sit on top of the roller. Put your left foot on the ground and cross your right ankle over your left thigh near your left knee. Shift your weight onto your right buttock and gently roll up and down your buttock from the upper rear pelvis down to your sit bone. When you find a tender spot in your buttocks, hold that spot and gently rub the area up and down until the tenderness subsides. You can also use the foam roller on your outer thighs to massage the IT bands. Stretch out on the roller in a side-plank position. Position the roller above your knee and roll all the way up to your hips. Do this on both sides.
Supine Hip Rotation
This exercise stretches the buttocks and outer lateral hip while keeping your torso and shoulders stable on the ground. You should perform this exercises after self-myofascial release. Lie on the ground on your back with your arms out to your sides. Bend your left leg with your left foot on the ground and cross your right ankle over your left thigh near your knee. Turn your pelvis to your left until your right foot rests on the ground. Do not lift your upper back or right shoulder and arm off the ground. Hold the stretch for five to six deep breaths. Perform the stretch on both sides of your hip two times.
- NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training; Michael Clark
- Movement; Gray Cook
- ACE Fitness: Why You Should Be Foam Rolling
- ACE Fitness: Tissue Density/Myofascial Release Exercises
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.