How to Loosen Up Your Hips While Dancing
Whether its salsa, merengue, or club dance, hips are an important ingredient in developing your dance style. Many beginner dancers have a hard time moving their hips separately from the rest of the body. To learn to move your hips more, whether it is a just a basic hip roll or you’re doing a full out wine, you have to learn to move your hips like you move your fingers -- independently. In addition to understanding how your body moves and getting more familiar with controlling your body, it’s also important to loosen your hip flexors, a muscle group that consists of the psoas and the iliacus, and if you have a desk job or a job that requires prolonged sitting, your hip flexors can get quite tight.
Stand with your hands to your sides and your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed to your corners. Slightly bend your knees. Proceed by sticking your left hip out to the left. Then bringing the left hip back to its original spot, and continue the same movement to the right hip. (This exercise loosens up the hip flexor.
After continuing step 1 for about 10 reps, stop with your left hip out to the left. Continue the motion back to your right hip by rolling your pelvis forward. You should only be using your hips to rotate your pelvis -- your back should remain straight. Continue this exercise back and forth from left to right hip for another 10 reps.
You should now find yourself with your left hip out once more. Repeat the motion to rotate your pelvis forward to hit the right hip. You will now continue to the left hip by rolling the pelvis to the back, so you will be making a complete circle moving from the left to right hip and from the right to left hip stopping each time you reach the left or right hip. This is another effective exercise to loosen the hip flexor.
Once your hips start to feel more comfortable, attempt to continue the motion fluidly without pausing at the right or left hip making a full non-stopping circle.
Once you feel confident starting with the left hip going clockwise, then start the exercise with your right hip moving your hips in a counterclockwise motion.
If you find these exercises are straining your lower back, you may be arching your back too much when executing the pelvic roll to the back. If your back starts to hurt, be sure not to arch your back or push your chest out during the back pelvic roll.
Dorothy Stephenson is a writer with experience in travel, health, nutrition, equine science, real estate, history, green living, fitness and agriculture. She has written for publications such as "EQUUS," "American Farrier’s Journal," "Today’s Diet and Nutrition," "Military Officer" and "The Washington Examiner."