Are Your Hips Tight? Start Here

Juha Juppi
6 min readJan 17, 2022

I’ll introduce you to 2 exercises you’re probably not doing & share a ‘homework’ series you can try.

Today’s article will be broken down into 2 parts:

  1. Sharing 2 types of exercises that can help your tight hips — but describe them like i’m introducing you to a person who’s about to solve a burning problem you’ve been having.
  2. Sharing a 4 week ‘homework’ series you can plug in throughout your day.

Hint: One is more movement focused and the other is more static strength training focused.

You wake up one morning and your hips start talking to you. TIGHTNESS. The first few steps in your morning look more like a penguins waddle as you walk to get your morning coffee. You think to yourself “I have must have slept funny last night”.

You decide to start stretching again. In the beginning your motivation is at an all time high. Stretching all day, you start feeling limber, then going to sleep and waking up just as stiff as before.

WHY?!

Let me introduce you to two people who can help you. I’ll tell you a little about them then introduce you to each other.

#1 — This person is the ultimate accountability friend for your joints.

They really want to help you keep your joints moving well for years to come. In the same way that stepping on a scale helps you check in on how your weight is that day… this person wants to check in with you and see if your joints are still moving as well as they did last week/month/year, etc.

‘Challenging yourself’ becomes a part of every time you two gang out together. Testing & pushing your limits to be the best version of yourself.

If things just feel ‘off’ one day — they’ll inform you how uncharacteristic that is for you. They won’t force an opinion if that’s good or bad. They’ll simply give you information and let you form your own opinion.

Photo by Andrea Tummons on Unsplash

Would you hang out with this person? If so…I’d like you introduce you to CARs. Controlled Articular Rotations

So, what are CARs?

  • CARs = Controlled Articular Rotations
  • CARs = Moving one joint through a full pain free range of motion
  • CARs = An isolated joint movement, so try your best to not have exaggerated compensatory movement
  • CARs =A self assessment for your joint health and range of motion

If CARs were a person, they would have some ground rules:

  • They value honesty and HATE cheating. Imagine you told your partner you were going to study with someone but they found you kissing them instead? When you allow outside parties to do things they shouldn’t be — things get messy. So when you’re doing CARs — try your best to let your shoulder do shoulder movements and not let your back get involved.
  • They really enjoy hanging out in a ton of different locations. Have you noticed you’re closer with the friends who you’ve shared more experiences with? If you only do one thing together, things get stale after a while — no? So when it comes to CARs (ie. moving your joints) — experiment with different body orientations!

Example: Shoulder CARs while… Standing, 1/2 kneeling, Tall kneeling, Hanging from a chin up bar, While planking, While in side plank, While sitting in the bottom of a squat, etc.

  • Pain if their safe word! You can’t expect a friendship to grow if you intentionally put someone through pain. If you experience pain — reflect and react. Regarding CARs — if you feel pain, either stop the motion or move through a smaller, pain free range of motion.
Photo by Klara Kulikova on Unsplash

Now introducing to you, person #2.

#2 — This person teaches you how to thrive in group settings.

Personally, i’m pretty introverted. I’m super comfortable in 1:1 settings, but in 1:5, 1:10, etc. things just feel different..

This friend will help teach you to get better at one specific thing that is limiting you in group settings. They can take an isolated problem and help you turn it from a weakness to a strength.

Without this friend around, you’ll probably fall back on old habits and whatever feels comfortable. I don’t blame you — it’s not always fun working on your weaknesses, but your life is better them in it.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Would you hang out with this person? If so…I’d like you introduce you to static strength training.

So, what do I mean by static strength training? Specifically, PAILs & RAILs

  • PAILs = Progressive Angular Isometric Loading
  • RAILs = Regressive Angular Isometric Loading
  • PAILs = Moving into your passive ROM (red zone) and statically pushing INTO your active ROM (green zone)
  • RAILs = Moving into your passive ROM (red zone) and statically pushing DEEPER into your passive ROM (red zone)

Basically…

  • PAILs/RAILs is static strength training in your end range of motion
  • PAILs =teaches you to be stronger pushing out of a stretch
  • RAILs =teaches you to be stronger pulling deeper into a stretch

If PAILs/RAILs were a person, they would have some ground rules:

  • They will be pushing you outside of your comfort zone. You don’t have to go 110% on day one, but you do have to build up to really pushing yourself.
  • They hate when you don’t give them your focus. You’re not there to practice multiple things at once. You are there to practice doing one thing very, very well.
  • They treat every session like it’s 1:1 tutoring. The more specific you can be about your weaknesses & goals, the more specific they can tailor what’s the most appropriate focus for you two that day.

So, what’s the TL;DR?

Here is an example of a 4 week ‘homework series’ for your tight hips. You can sprinkle this in throughout your day/week as often as your schedule allows. You can even add this before or after your workouts. This is not a substitute for your current workouts — simply a series that can be added on top of what you’re doing.

Week 1:

Week 2:

  • Sidelying Hip CARs (45 seconds each leg)
  • 90/90 Hip IR PAILs/RAILs (45–75sec stretch → [10sec push, 10s pull at 20–50% intensity]x2)

Week 3:

  • Quadruped Hip CARs (60 seconds each leg)
  • 90/90 Hip IR PAILs/RAILs (60–90sec stretch → [15sec push, 15s pull at 30–60% intensity]x2)

Week 4:

  • Standing Hip CARs (30 seconds each leg w/ 1–3lb ankle weights) x2
  • 90/90 Hip IR PAILs/RAILs (60–90sec stretch → [10sec push, 10s pull at 40–70% intensity]x2–3)

Let me know your thoughts below!

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DISCLAIMER

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Juha Juppi

🔻 Improving fitness with mobility training 🔻 FRC® FRA® 🏋️ 🔻The Juha Juppi Podcast🎙️ 🎧 ⤵️ podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-juha-juppi-podcast/id1492722292