As women, we have hips and sometime they can present problems for us. While we may not like the shape or size of our hips, that is not the kind of problem I am talking about today. Many have hyper-mobile hips that are very loose and unstable. Others have very limited range of motion and tighter hips. Whether tight or loose – each presents its own set of possible issues.
Let’s take a look at factors that influence the make up of our hips. For starters, we need to look at the shape of the hip socket. Without an X-ray, this is not something you can readily see but there are some clues to look for. Issues such as being bow-legged or being able to easily do the splits can point to a more narrow/obstructive hip opening or a more open/wider hip opening socket. This type of looseness or tightness is structural and not changing without surgery!
Next we need to consider tendons and ligaments. It is possible to be flexible in some areas and tight in others. Looser tendons and ligaments could lead to looser hips. Tighter tendons and ligaments will restrict range of motion.
Finally, we need to consider our muscles. Our muscles can be tight from injury or overuse. Our muscles when de-conditioned or un-trained can be looser. This type of looser is a sign of lack of control and not necessarily a good thing. This looseness can lead to other issues.
So what does one do with tight or loose hips? Let’s look at loose hips first. Are you also double jointed? Can you hyper extend your knees? If you answered yes to either or both of those questions, chances are your body is looser by nature. That can be a good thing provided you learn to control your body. An out of control body can lead to injury and/or back issues. Good exercises for loose hips are those that require holding the pelvis steady while moving the legs or trunk. Movements that involve control and stability are great ones to focus on.
Tight hips? Do you feel when you try to spread your legs you’ve hit your end range? This could be a bone structure issues. Do you feel like your soft tissue tends to be tight? There are things we can do here! The dynamic stretching that Pilates provides will work to length and strengthen your muscles at the same time. Working to stretch hip flexors, strengthen abductors and adductors are all good areas to start with. it is also important to accept responsibilities for our bodies. I can continue to work on my flexibility and strength but I won’t punish myself for not doing the splits. Instead, I can celebrate a centimeter of success and a stable body.
Whether your hips are loose or tight – Pilates has answers for you! Be sure to tell me or your instructor your issues and then let us work our magic on you!