Clinics Library

Hips: The Epicenter of Movement

In this self-care clinic, Gnarly Athlete Piseth Sam will discuss the hips and how they connect to the body as a whole. Often overlooked, our hips have a wide-ranging impact and can cause both basic and complex complaints, from low back pain to rib cage stiffness to both hamstring and shoulder pulls. Come with a tennis ball or foam roller to begin understanding how to care for your hips

The anatomy of hips

Piseth opens up this clinic with a deep dive into the anatomy of the hips, this begins at 09:50.There are three main bones that make up your hips; the ilium, ischium and pubis.

In addition to the three primary bones that make up the hips, the muscle tissue that surrounds the bone is broken into three types; the iliopsoas is the only muscle that truly connects the upper body to the lower body. The psoas is attached to the diaphragm through fascia and the medial arcuate ligament. It’s important to remember that with each breath, psoas and the diaphragm work together to provide anterior spinal stability. The diaphragm and hence the psoas, react to fear and to stress with constriction.

Next is the Erector Spinae, these postural muscles have a really hard time resting, therefore they take the heavy load of our body weight. Near the back of the hips, the gluteus maximus attaches a huge portion of your hips and are required to take on a heavy load of body weight as well.

On the front of the hips, the tensor fascia latae (FTL) is known to hold a lot of tension and can create issues with your IT band. If you’re unable to solve issues with your IT band, it would be helpful to focus on your FTL.

How to release & stretch your hips?

Your muscles love to be hugged, meaning that it’s important to focus on compressions exercises. Piseth begins this segment begins at 25:21.

Foam Roller Stretch:

How to use a foam roller to stretch the hips?

Begin with sitting on the foam roller and roll from the hip downward towards the ankle. Taking deep breaths through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Once you get into the sideline position, try to rock over the bone and rock back and forth.

Breath Work:

Why does breathwork help with stretching the hips?

In order to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, begin with some simple breath work. Start with a deep breath into the nose for a count of six, hold for a count of four, and then exhale out the mouth for a count of six.

Tennis Ball Stretch:

Is it good to use a tennis ball to stretch the hips?

Although slightly uncomfortable  and painful, the tennis ball is an excellent tool to stretch the hips. Used for deep tissue release, the tennis ball is more focused on pressure so it’s going to feel more intense. Gently rock on the tennis ball and push your hips back and forth on the tennis ball. This may feel painful, but focus on the glide over the attachement points of your hip.

Common Symptoms of Hip Pain?

Some of the most common symptoms of pain in the hips are caused by compacted spinal discs, which is when your vertebrae is pushed into each other. Another common symptom with runners is a clicking in the hips, which means that your hips are out of alignment. Think of the alignment is off center, so focus on activating your toes when you’re standing straight.

Pro Tip: Fascial Tissue Stretch

Why does stretching fascial tissue relieve hip pain?

There are multiple simple ways to stretch your hips by focusing on facial stretches. Small step forward, lock your leg out and reach the opposite hand to the outside of your foot. Take a few deep breaths and release. Switch sides and continue with your deep breaths, and allow your breath to guide your stretching.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some tips to improving healthy facial tissue?

Generally, you should focus on improving your nutrition with healthy diets, as well as keep your self hydrated with electrolytes and B vitamins. 

should i roll my hips out everyday?

Yes, absolutely! Set a routine that works for you to do a daily foam rolling or tennis ball release on the hips.

How can I handle chronic SI joint pain?

Great question. The best way to handle chronic SI joing pain is by strength training using a rubber band around your knees and side-step 4-5 steps to right and repeat on the left.

How can i rehab a strained hip flexor?

A great way to rehab a strained hip flexor is to strengthen your lower core by laying on your back, keep your lower back planted on the floor. Raise your legs and do 30 second of heal taps with 30 second rests, do this for five rounds.

Is it better to foam roll before or after my workout?

Both of course! If you foam roll for 5 minutes before your run or workout, then you’re going to be more relaxed and muscles will perform better. If you foam roll after your run or workout, then your muscles will respond better to recovery.

ABOUT the athlete

Piseth Sam

Gnarly athlete Piseth Sam is a personal trainer, licensed massage therapist, and therapeutic cupping practitioner who specializes in human structural integrity. Simply put, they look at how the body works as an entire, complete system. They’ve helped hundreds of clients not just improve their overall health and wellbeing, but navigate through acute and chronic injuries ranging in cause from extreme sports to extreme inactivity. Their goal is to empower their clients and educate all folks on how to take optimal care of the awesome vehicle that is the human body.

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