Tight Hips – Real Client Solution

Do you remember one of the things many teachers would say at the beginning of the year? You know when everyone is new to a class and nobody feels comfortable to ask a question? And even when the teacher would put a question to the students everyone would stay quiet.

And so at a certain point the teacher would say questions are great because usually there is someone else thinking the same thing.

This is the inspiration for this post. Hopefully the content helps a number of you as well with your training. Let’s get at it.

The other day Joanne K. was doing front squats and mentioned that often feels restricted in the hips. I say hips plural because she mentioned that the restriction alternates between right and left depending on the day.

Psoas, one of the hip flexors

Psoas, one of the hip flexors

So here’s what we did.First of all I took a look at Joanne’s squat pattern. This involves looking all sides and examining for alignment, depth and symmetry. What stood out was there was a slight collapse of the left knee.

Now we had something to address.

First we had her foam roll the left adductor followed by an exercise to activate the left external hip rotator. For this we used a banded clam shell exercise. This took all of about 5 minutes, or less, to do.

When Joanne retested her squat she said it was substantially better without a pinching at the hip.

But what about the fact the issue seemed to alternate from right to left depending on the day?

Well first we’ll assume the warm-up and training is performed in a balance matter. Then the other thing to examine is activities of daily living which may contribute to this imbalance.

In this situation we discovered that sleeping on the right side with the left leg draped over the top leads to tight internal hip rotators. And when one night can involve sleeping on the left and the next the right we can see how the issue can alternate sides.

So besides some extra foam rolling and corrective exercise for the glutes what else can be done?

The top legs of the 2 outside girls will be flexed and internally rotated at the hip.

The top legs of the 2 outside girls will be flexed and internally rotated at the hip.

First of all make sure to alternate the sleeping position. And when sleeping on the side make sure to place a pillow between the knees. This helps to lessen pressure on the on the low as a more neutral spine position is achieved. Secondly the pillow serves to block how far the top knee can overlap thus minimizing the amount of internal rotation that results.

Next time you are training with us and something doesn’t feel quite right make sure to ask one of our coaches. We will not only help to identify what the problem is but also give you some solutions on the spot to correct the issue.


Related Posts:



4 Responses to Tight Hips – Real Client Solution

  1. Jordy Kreller says:

    This is definitely seen in sooooooo many people!! This is the first thing that tightens up for me! I always asked my mom how everything was feeling and she would tell me that she always seemed to pull her groin in the warm up……. but it would switch sides each time! It took me so long to understand what was going on. But, when Chris assessed her squat and got her to do simple clam shells and some foam rolling, her squat after was much more fluent and she had a lot more range! Thanks Chris!

    Also, I never even thought about sleeping positions…… my sleeping position is just like the two outside girls in the photo, mostly I sleep on my right side with my left leg crossed over and don’t move for the whole night. Usually on squat day, I could feel my body tilting to one side the farther I went down and also felt restricted in motion! Doing band walks, foam rolling and clam shells has helped a lot! GREAT ARTICLE!

    • Chris says:

      Thanks for reading Jordy.

      Often we only consider what we do during training when it comes to our posture and movement quality. The truth is however that we spend the majority of our time outside of the gym and this is where we can establish habits, good or bad, which will impact our performance and results.

      All the best,


  2. Matt Baumeister says:

    Nice post Chris!

    I know that I share this issue with a lot of clients as well. For me, many hours spent on my bike have really tightened my hips, and often I struggle to acheive proper form during squats and other lower body exercises. I have also been using the foam rollers at the facility to roll out those tight areas. I have found that it really helps both with my squats but also with my pedal stroke while I am cycling.


    • Chris says:

      Thanks Matt: It’s definitely important to see listen to our bodies and address issues that are talking to us in the form of restriction, tightness or trigger points before they scream at us in the form of pain and injury.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *