During a typical workout, many people neglect to include exercises that focus on strengthening the glutes. However, it’s very important because weak hip muscles can set off a cascade of negative changes that affect your mobility. If your hip muscles are weak, you may have poor hip movement.
In turn, this can cause pain in your hips, knees, and back. There are several major muscles in the glutes that need to be strengthened. Your gluteus maximus (located in the buttocks, or the back of your hips) and gluteus medius (the main muscles on the side of your buttocks) are two of them.
Your hip flexors—the rectus femoris and iliopsoas—should also be taken care of, especially if you spend long hours at a desk.
Sitting for long periods of time can cause the hip flexors to shorten and become tight, which can lead to posture problems and back pain. Additionally, weak hip flexors can lead to foot, ankle, and knee injuries.1,2
Sitting for too long is a major culprit for tight hips and thighs because the muscles are rarely stretched (although they can also get tight from exercise). To lengthen and strengthen those muscles, try this move created by Suzanne Bowen, founder of BarreAmped, an internationally taught barre technique named Best Barre Workout of 2015 by Fitness Magazine and Natural Health Magazine.3
You’ll need a chair or kitchen counter for support. Begin in a kneeling lunge position with your right foot forward and your leg bent at a 90-degree angle at the knee. Your left knee should be a few inches behind your left hip. To do this exercise, Bowen recommends:4
“1. Press your right leg forward a few inches until you feel a slight stretch in the opposite hip.
If you have really tight hips, this might be something you can do. (Protect your front knee by making sure it doesn’t stick out of your toes.) For a more advanced stretch, straighten your left leg behind you and push forward.