For the last few months I’ve been learning how to run, as I switched from weightlifting to HYROX training. And, to be fair, I’ve done pretty well, as I’ve gone from doing no cardio to being able to run eight kilometres in just 30 days. The other night I hit a new personal best though, as I ran over 11 kilometres non-stop. As I finally reached my sisters for my well-earned dinner I felt ecstatic, but my sense of victory was quickly interrupted by a niggling pain in my left hip. The following morning it was even worse.
According to Sport Doctor London, hip pain after running is quite common, with the most regular cause being overload syndromes. I spend the majority of my day sat at a desk too, so my hip flexors get very tight, therefore I’m not surprised running quite a distance is a bit of a shock to them.
Desperate to try and relieve the pain, and not hinder the rest of my training, I eagerly searched for a quick and easy mobility routine I could do during my breaks at work. I came across this three-move one and decided to do it twice a day for three days.
There’s a few things I liked about this routine: firstly, the moves weren’t ridiculous to get into (as some hip mobility movements are) and, secondly, it didn’t take long to do, five minutes tops. This meant it was easy enough to slot into my work breaks and incorporate it into the rest of my training days. You can either follow along with the Instagram video above, or keep on reading to find out what I thought of each move.
1. Frog stretch
This movement is a brilliant hip opener that also gives you a nice stretch down your inner thigh and groin area – so it’s excellent if you’re a runner, or if you do lots of squats. It was definitely my favourite out of the three, as it was very easy to do and is actually also very relaxing. I think this is because it's quite easy to hold, therefore you can focus on other things too, like your breathing.
It requires you to start on all-fours and turn your knees out to the side, so your legs are in the position of a frog. You then gently sit your bum backwards so that you feel a nice stretch in your hips (I’d hold it here for 10 seconds), then I’d relax and come back to starting position and repeat this two more times. The goal isn’t to get your bum to touch the floor by the way, as this can put too much tension through the spine.
2. Lizard stretch
This wasn’t my first time doing the lizard stretch, in fact I love to incorporate this movement in all of my warm-ups, cool-downs and before I head out for a run. Why? Because it releases tension in the hips, hamstrings, groin and glutes.
The more I pushed forwards on my front bent leg, the more I could feel a deep stretch in the opposite hips. Those who are extra mobile may prefer to lower themselves onto their forearms for a deeper stretch (staying on my hands was deep enough for me). If you struggle to keep your back leg off of the ground, you can always rest it on the floor too. It’s a very versatile movement and one that I think everyone would benefit from doing every day.
3. Gate opener
It was my first time trying this movement and I think it’s one I’m going to keep from now on. I liked it because it doesn't just predominantly stretch your hip flexors, but it lengthens the side of your body, as well as stretching the hamstrings, inner thighs, calves and thigh muscles. Again, I held it for 10 seconds on each side and did this three times and I loved how it relieved so many of my muscles. Plus, the stretch it gives down your inner thigh is amazing!
By the end of doing all three movements for 10 seconds (on each side where applicable) for three rounds, my body felt a little more relieved. But, it was after the third day of doing these, twice a day, that I really noticed the pain in my left hip had considerably disappeared.
On top of this, I made sure I did some gentle recovery too, such as going out for a walk or 10 minutes on the bike (nothing crazy though). As I was really keen to keep moving my hip, rather than just be stagnant and it getting worse or stiffening up further. Even the NHS suggests movement, but to not overdo things.
For me, personally, this mobility routine gave my hips the gentle movement and stretch they needed to help them recover and now I’m back to my weekly long run and normal training regime. As they only take five minutes, they’re well worth giving a go to keep your hips mobile and healthy – they all have a firm place in my training routine from now on, that's for sure.
If you want to show your achy shoulders a little love too, we also have a 10 minute beginner mobility routine that focuses just on the upper body. Or, if you have a tight back, try this one bodyweight exercise that helped relieve my back pain.