There's no sense in trying to gain hip mobility at the expense of your low back. One of the big reasons for working to keep your hips mobile and strong is to fend off low back pain. A big mistake that's often made is to neglect responsible form during hip mobility work. This can take a good attempt at hip mobility and turn it into a low back pain creating monster.
The picture above shows a classic half-kneeling hip stretch done two ways. This exercise targets flexibility of the hip flexor and quadriceps muscle groups of the front of the hips. The top image shows this hip flexor stretch done with sound posture and positioning. The key here is that you keep a flat back.
The bottom image shows an important error to avoid: Excessive arching of the low back can be stressful to that area. The best way to avoid this is to lean into the stretch through your lead knee, instead of trying to get a better stretch through the low back. Engage the core as if you're about to take a punch to the stomach. This will help you to keep the line between your ribs and your belly button short. Shoot for 2-3 repetitions of 45 second holds on each side.
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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS spent 6 seasons as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and is the founder of TD Athletes Edge. He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
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