The lateral hip foam roll is a great warm-up and cool-down exercise to improve hip mobility. Here is how you should do it for a broader range of movement and performance.
The lateral hip foam roll is a great warm-up and cool-down exercise to improve hip mobility.
This exercise targets the gluteus medius muscle, which runs down the side of the hip and is primarily responsible for hip abduction.
Position the foam roller on the side of your hip. Feel for the top of the hip somewhere between your front and back pocket and place the roller here.
Bend the top leg for support and rest your upper comfortably on your elbow/hand.
Allow the roller to sink into the muscle, and slowly roll down the side of the hip — when you get to the hip joint, slowly roll back.
Continue back and forth for 30-45 seconds.
The hip joint is designed to be a mobile joint, and in healthy individuals, this mobility is supported by stability in the knee joint (below) and the lumbar spine (above). If there is stiffness in the hip joint, the knee and lumbar spine may increase their mobility to compensate, potentially resulting in knee/low back pain.
Often, restricted hip movement may be the result of poor gluteus maximus activation. The larger gluteus maximus muscle is located at the back of the hip and is responsible for hip extension – a powerful movement required in many exercise and sport-specific movement. If the gluteus maximus muscles are weak (or inhibited) the smaller gluteus medius can become overworked. In a similar way, if the core muscles are weak, the gluteus medius may also be called upon to provide core stability by increasing hip stiffness. In any case, the lateral hip can become stiff/tight and often painful – with pain radiating to the sacrum and low back. This can often be felt by prodding your fingers into the side of your hip.
Restriction and pain in the side of the hip can significantly affect bending, lifting and squatting movements. Often the gluteus medius muscles will engage immediately during these movements and continue to tighten, eventually causing discomfort and pain.
Addressing the stiffness and tightness on a regular basis is important to restoring function and mobility in the hip. The lateral hip foam roll is a great tool that should be used before and after your workouts. In addition to mobilising the hip, it is also important to develop greater stability through the knee joint and lumbar spine through appropriate exercises. This will help to consolidate the mobility in the hip and maintain range of motion.