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Hip mobility is important not only to improve and maintain a range of motion, but also to prevent pain and loss of muscle in the legs and back. Many people who experience back pain have deteriorating muscles in the hips, which can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle or past injuries. To increase hip mobility, stretching exercises will be an integral part of the workout routine, as will some resistance training and squat exercises. When executing such hip mobility exercises, remember to take it slow, stretch properly before beginning, and maintain good posture throughout.
Leg swings are a good place to start when attempting to improve hip mobility. These swings stretch the muscles in the hips and begin to get the muscles accustomed to moving in a variety of directions. When doing these swings, it is important to keep the back straight and to execute the swings slowly; going too quickly will be counterproductive, as inertia takes over and the muscles do not engage anymore. Standing with your feet about hip width apart, lift one leg slightly off the ground. Swing that leg slowly forward until resistance is felt in the hamstrings. Then swing the leg backward like a pendulum until resistance is felt in the thighs and hips. Repeat this motion slowly several times with each leg.
Swinging the leg outward away from the body works different muscles in the hips. Doing the motion slowly will work the muscles gently and increase mobility over the course of several weeks of repetitions. As hip mobility increases, you can swing your leg forward and then across the body to further strengthen and stretch the muscles. Remember to keep the torso and hips as straight as possible when doing these leg swings.
Lunges are the next exercise on the hip mobility checklist. These are for people who have increased hip mobility and strength for several workouts. Standing with the feet hip width apart, step forward and drop the body downward until the front knee is bent at about a ninety degree angle. Keep the back straight, and keep the back leg from touching the ground. Hold this position for a few seconds, then return to a standing position. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Other exercises will help you develop and maintain hip mobility, and a trainer can help design a good workout program for you. Be sure to stretch well after a workout as well, as the muscles are limber at that point and can be stretched thoroughly. A foam roller is a good way to stretch tough muscles in the thighs, legs and lower back, and most fitness centers have several available for use.
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