Lunges (Test how flexible each hip in its own)
How to do it:
- On the mat, start in a prone plank position with your shoulders on top of your hands.
- Lift your right foot, and bring it alongside your right hand.
- Place your left knee down to the mat.
- Bend your elbows to increase the stretch (try to maintain your back as straight as possible, and keep your head in line with your spine)
- Return to starting position, and repeat on the other side. Continue for a total of 3-6 repetitions per side.
You need to improve flexibility if:
There is a significant difference between how close you can bring one foot toward the hand compared to the other one.
What causes this:
The most common reason for one hip being more flexible than another:
- asymmetry while sitting down at work (crossing one leg on the top of another);
- sleeping on one side of the torso (or on the belly) with one knee bent and hip flexed (climbing the mountain position);
- sports that emphasize one side of the body, for example, golf, baseball, soccer, and jumping. One side of the body becomes tight, but strong, while the other side becomes flexible, but weak.
While using one side of your body differently than the other can create balance issues, it can also cause the other side of the body to compensate for the imbalance. This can lead to muscle fatigue in those areas and eventually cause injuries.
For athletes, muscle imbalance and tightness along the hips can result in inefficiency in performance as well as sport-specific difficulties. Some examples are: low back pain for cyclists and swimmers, shoulder problems for tennis and baseball players, knee pain for runners, etc.
Switch legs when you sit. This will not be as easy as you think. You will often catch yourself returning to the position with which your legs are most comfortable without even realizing it.
Try to place a pillow between your knees/thighs when you sleep. It will level your hips.
Try to do exercises that stabilize the flexible side and stretch the strong side.
Pilates exercises that will help: stretching (lunges, down stretch), band destruction technique for hip mobility, strengthening (supine marching, foot work), pelvic stabilization (single leg/ foot work, pelvic lift, climb a tree, step ups),