How to Fix Tight Hips (WITHOUT STRETCHING!)

How to Fix Tight Hips (WITHOUT STRETCHING!)

What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, Today I’ve got Jesse with me – oh, wait. I’ve got Jesse with me and we’re going to
show you what to do about tight hips. A lot of times, guys will say, “Oh, my hips
are so tight”, or they’ll even say, “My hip flexors are so tight, and I can’t squat”. Guys, it doesn’t make sense because at no
point – yes, your hip flexors should be activated in the descent of the squat, actively
pulling you down, but it’s not a hip tightness. They’re not being stretched at the bottom
of the squat. As a matter of fact, they’re getting more
lax. So, what we want to do is fix somebody like
Jesse who has some tightness on a squat. Go ahead and squat down. He gets up and he feels tightness in through
here. What’s causing that? I’m going to help you, guys. We’re going to go through three stages. Number one: we’re going to take a look at
the non-Jesse, Raymond over here, to look at skeletal factors and things that you can
do right away to fix the tightness that you’re having. The next thing we have to do is look inside
the joint a little bit. Right around something we call the ‘hip capsule’. A lot of times we don’t really address this. This is going to have some mobility actions
that we could do to try and get to the root of it. And then if that doesn’t work, there are some
other things we tend to always overlook at the muscle level. It’s not just about stretching the muscles. It’s about what the activity of those muscles
are and what the stability of those muscles are because if it’s not there, you’re going
to get some compensation in other places that will be causing these tight hips. So, when stretching is not working you’ve
got to look in other places. This video is going to help you finally get
to the root of it. Obviously, there are a lot of things that
could be causing that tightness and that restriction, but we’ve got to start somewhere to figure
it out. The easiest place to do that is staying right
here on the ground. No, you don’t have me to do this for you,
but the good news is, you don’t need me to do this for you. You just take your hip through three different
ranges of motion. The first is: how much flexion do you have? You could do this yourself, again, by grabbing
onto your knee and pulling up. For Jesse, he’s got good flexion. He can get well past waistline and it doesn’t
feel hard at the end. You want to make sure it’s not feeling like
it’s running into a wall, but it has some bounciness to it. The next thing is, you want to check internal
rotation. Even though the foot is moving that way, outward,
the hip is actually going into internal rotation. You want to look and see how much rotation
you can get here. 30 to 45 degrees would be great. Jesse’s got good rotation. Again, you don’t need me to do that. Although it’s easier. You can do that yourself, just to test that. Then we have to go into external rotation. With external rotation here, we’re going this
direction. What I’m looking for is if this lower leg
can cross your waistline, parallel to your waistline. Run east and west. A lot of your are probably going to find that
you’re going to have some restrictions here, but if you find that you have this restriction
really hard and feel restriction on internal rotation significantly, combined with some
of this flexion limitation here; that would indicate to me that you’ve got some bony,
arthritic changes going on there. Or you’ve got some type of impingement or
labral tear. Or maybe even a bursitis, if you’ve got some
pain. Those are all instances where you’ll want
to get checked out for something that needs a little more qualified medical attention. That’s not something you’re going to fix here
in a single video. But when we see the restrictions coming more
from what we’re going to find in this video – more of the capsular restrictions, things
that you can do something about – you’re likely going to find that the restrictions
come in external rotation. That’s exactly what we find here with Jesse. You can see his external rotation on this
side is nowhere near getting to waistline. He’s nowhere near parallel to his waist. He’s not running east to west. He’s got all this lack of external rotation. So, we need to try and figure out what’s happening
here. We’re going to look at the skeleton in the
easiest of changes because we know we can do some things, just with his own posture
and how he sets up for a squat to help alleviate that and create more room. But if that persists, you’ve got to start
looking deeper. You’ve got to start looking into the hip itself
and the capsule, which we’re going to do. Then, interestingly, looking at the muscles. But not just from stretching them out, but
how we can use the activation of those muscles – or the inactivation – that’s happening
here, causing the tightness in the hip. So, I’m going to explain all of it step by
step, and we’re going to start right here with the skeleton. All right, guys. Let’s start off anatomically here. It’s the easiest thing. The thing you can do just like this, just
by changing position. But it helps to understand what’s happening
inside your hips when you go to squat. We should know that the one of the requirements
is to get into hip flexion. That’s what a squat is. You’re getting into a deep hip flexion. You want to be at proper depth. The first thing you can do to help yourself
is realize, in order to get into flexion you want to make sure you have external rotation
because it’s going to be easier to get deeper into flexion if you have external rotation
of the hip. You can see that right here. If I were to take my hips and internally rotate
them like this, and then try to go into flexion, you can see I get limited in how high I can
go. We get bony stops here inside the acetabulum
here, the ball and socket of the hip. That gets cleared substantially more when
I externally rotate the hip and I can keep going all the way up here. That’s when you see kids get way down into
a deep squat. You have to externally rotate the hip to get
there. So, you’re doing yourself a favor if you realize
that and you set yourself up to do that. So, the easiest way to set yourself up is
twofold. Number one: you take a little bit of a wider
stance. If you go into a narrow stance squat, you’re
already starting to cause some impingement in the hip here and the inability to get past
this bony block. You can see it getting stuck. It’s getting stuck right here on the pelvis. But if I take my leg out wider and now, I
go down in there, I’ve cleared that. There’s a clearance here. Anatomically I’ve created a better opportunity
to get down. But then I could also just turn my legs out
a little bit. It’s a necessary part of squatting. We talk about it all the time, guys. If you want to squat effectively and properly
you need to turn your legs out. Not just your feet. Your feet – it doesn’t mean anything because
you can turn down here and some rotation of the tibia that won’t have any impact on the
hip. It’s about getting the entire leg turned out,
keeping those knees over the toes, and that’s when you hear that because you want to keep
the whole leg out. So now when I go into that squat, I’ve got
external rotation. So, if you’re already having problems, let’s
say you do this, but you still feel you’ve got this tightness inside; we’ve got to go
to the next part here. That is examining what is going on right here
in the hip capsule at the head of the femur in the acetabulum. So if you’ve tried to make those skeletal
modifications where you’ve opened up your hips, and you squat, and you’re still finding
that you’ve got the tightness, and you can’t really identify where it is, but you’ve got
the tightness; you’ve got to start looking a little deeper. Inside the joint. Again, when people start pressing here it’s
really because they can’t get to what’s actually bothering them. That’s the ball and socket joint. What they’re talking about there is the capsule. The surrounding ligaments and structures that
hold the hip joint together. It’s like a series of seatbelts and straps
and it kind of acts like this. If this is the ball and socket, if I have
tight capsule over the top and you try to create movement – come on, Jesse. Get some movement. JESSE: It’s tight. JEFF: Right. So, the idea is that you’re limiting the freedom
of motion here. But if I was able to use this – the head
of the femur here – as a mobility tool to create more space by pushing into these areas
of tightness so I loosened it, now all this freedom of motion is back. We want to restore that. We can do that very specifically here with
Jesse to try and restore that external rotation and flexion that’s needed in a squat. So, what you do is take a band and anchor
it to something behind you and then step into it on the affected side, which we know in
this case is Jesse’s left hip. Now he anchors it up nice and high – not
too high. Careful. High, and then you put yourself and your foot
up on a box. Now, if we want to just go into flexion, which
a lot of people will have you do, they have you sink into it. What the band is doing on that high hip position
is creating a little bit of a distraction in the hip joint to allow for some of that
mobility. And allowing it to push into that posterior
capsule – the tight posterior capsule – to allow more flexion. That’s the idea. You’re using your own bones as tools to stretch
out the capsule. But we can do better than that because we
know we need external rotation anyway. So, we can combine then because they’re going
to happen in a combined way in a squat. So, we dive down into flexion, but we allow
the hip to turn out because we know that external rotation is being able to do this. To turn the foot in this direction. So, the hip joint needs to go into external
rotation. So, Jesse’s not just diving straight down
into flexion, but he’s diving into external rotation this way. Now, did you feel that? JESSE: Yeah. JEFF: It’s tight. Now what we do is, you’ve got to make sure
your foot stays flat on the ground because, again, if we were to translate this over to
a squat you don’t want to just let it roll. It’s not going to roll when you’re squatting. Your feet still have to stay in contact with
the ground. So that roll would be bad. You want to keep this down and work on that
external rotation – go ahead. Dive, and open. There you go. At the same time, you get the benefit of hitting
them both together because that’s what you’re going to need when you get over there. Now, this is something you want to work on,
especially if you’re still feeling that problem when you made the modifications of your stance. But beyond that, what we need to do is look
at another level because there could be something muscular going on, but it may not just be
about stretching it. More importantly, it could be about activating
muscles that are far away from the area of your problems. Let me show you what that means. So, here’s where things get interesting because
we start to talk about the muscles, which is where most of us put all our attention. But it’s not necessarily about the flexibility
of the muscles. You realize there are a lot of muscles that
cross the joint, or at least impact the hip and its motion. There are about 27 muscles that will impact
the motion of the hip. So, we’re not necessarily looking to dissect
the function of every, single muscle because that would take a real scientist to do that. JESSE: Mm-hmm. JEFF: We don’t need to do that. All we want to do is look at overall motions. So, if we can’t get – in your case and a
lot of people’s case who are watching – if we can’t get into hip external rotation, in
general, what is probably restricted? JESSE: Your internal rotators? JEFF: Right. The stuff that’s actually opposing external
rotation. So whatever causes internal rotation of the
hip would potentially be impacted here. In your case, if you have a limitation in
motion of the hip, what’s interesting is, the desire to go stretch it, or stretch the
internal rotators in this case, is not where I would start. I would start to see if there’s some kind
of restriction caused for a reason. The number one thing your body always wants
to do is stabilize the spine. Your spine, for good reason, is this main
focus because an injury to the spine could be life changing. JESSE: Yeah. JEFF: So, what we want to do is always have
stability there. Well, we know the way the joints are setup
in the body is that the knee is a stable joint, the hip is supposed to be really mobile – the
ball and socket – but the low back needs to be stable. We alternate these stable and mobile joints. JESSE: Right. JEFF: Well, if the hip joint here is tight,
why would that be? Maybe there’s some instability where there
should be stability. JESSE: Right. JEFF: The place I look right away is the low
back. The low back is supposed to be stable. The spine is supposed to be stable. If the spine is not stable, maybe there’s
some compensation going on here. So, if we can wake up the muscles that are
supposed to be providing stability to the pelvis and the trunk, maybe the hip would
say, “I can do my thing”. So, what I would do for you, I would put you
through this move. I would have you get on your side here. Again, this is the tight hip. So, if this is your tight hip, I’d have you
get in this position here and we want to say, “Hey, what could potentially be causing some
of that tightness of internal rotation?” So, I’d have you get in this position here. Now I want you to perform a side bridge, but
when you perform the side bridge you’re going to drive through your adductors. The muscles on the inside here to try to pull
up. JESSE: Oh, yeah. I feel that. JEFF: Okay. Now all I’m looking for is for you to hold
that. Awaken these muscles on the inside here that
are driving this. This is here for support. Let’s say this is too hard for you. Let’s shorten it all up a little bit. Bring this up. You can even bring this in like that. Now go ahead and push. You feel it still here? JESSE: Yeah. JEFF: A little easier, but it’s still getting
the job done here on the inside. So, if we can awaken these muscles up – now
go ahead and lie on your back again. If I can take the test again and go into external
rotation, I’m a little bit better. Believe it or not. You can see this. I’m a little bit – before he had at least
a 30-degree lack here. He’s closed that down a pretty good amount. If all your rotation deficit goes away then,
yeah, you’re looking at an instability problem. You’re looking at this tightening here. This is trying to cause the stability that
you’re lacking somewhere else. If you have the stability of your pelvis from
the other places that are supposed to do it, you wouldn’t need to create this lockdown
stability in your hip. It’s supposed to be mobile. JESSE: Right. JEFF: So, when it gets more comfortable, knowing
that its job is free to do what it has to do, it can restore the motion. If this doesn’t clear it though, there’s
one more thing that we can do. Jesse, lie on your stomach. This is where we look for overall, flat out
weakness. I will say you’re probably going to find there’s
going to be an element of this as well. So, for Jesse’s left leg here, the first thing
he’s going to do is bring his leg up like we did, like this. Now the first thing you want to do is test
your strength into rotation. So, if he lifts his foot off the ground, but
keeps his knee down, what is the strength there? How does it feel? JESSE: No, it’s easy. JEFF: Easy? Actually, if you were to hold and I would
press he can kind of resist me right there. Now that’s his internal rotation strength. To test his external rotation, he’s got to
lift his knee off the ground. I said, ‘lift his knee off the ground’. JESSE: I’m trying! JEFF: See, he can’t get his knee off the ground
very high because he doesn’t really have strength there. I don’t even have to do it with one finger. Go ahead. One finger, I could push him back down again. He’s lacking external rotation strength of
his hip tremendously. The last thing I could do is have him try
to lift the whole leg up. See? As soon as he does, he dives right down into
internal rotation. He has no strength in flexion. Lift it up again. The whole leg. In flexion with external rotation he can’t
even keep it there. So, I know he’s got some weakness there and
that’s something that we’d want to address. Things like hip mini-band walks, clamshells,
anything we could do to strengthen the external rotators of the hip would be a good deal. The bottom line here is that there are a lot
of causes for what’s happening or why you feel tightness. The thing that’s not happening here is a tightness
in the flexors of the hip. When you go down into a squat your flexors
are getting shortened. They’re not lengthened. They’re not being stretched. You don’t need to stretch them anymore. JESSE: Right. JEFF: What you need to do is figure out why
you’re having this cause and if modifications in how you stand don’t fix it, you move
to the next level. If modifications and stretching out that capsule
don’t fix it, you need to move to the next level. If the mobility or stability of this joint
isn’t really affecting what you do, isn’t really getting to the bottom of it by fixing
that inactivation of the muscles that are opposing what you’re trying to do, you need
to move to the next level. If the weakness is there – let’s say there
is no weakness there and you test out strong where Jesse failed miserably, you need to
move to the next level. Guess what that next level is? Stretching the hip. JESSE: Yeah. JEFF: It comes last. Stretching the muscles of the hip are going
to be the least impactful, when it comes to getting to the root of why you’re feeling
that tightness or having restriction when you get to the bottom of the squat. Guys, I hope you’ve found this video helpful. In the meantime, if you’re looking for programs
where we put the science back in strength because, as you can see, these things matter
and there’s a progression to what you should be doing in every step of the game. You want to assess what it is after you’ve
made a change and go from there. Not just keep doing the same things all the
time, expecting a different result. Our programs are based on that. If you head to right now you
can find the program that’s best suited to your goals. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, please
subscribe and turn on your notifications so you never miss a video when we put one out. Make sure to leave your comments and thumbs
up below. Let me know what else I can cover for you
to try and help you guys in your training and take you to that next level. All right, guys. I’ll be back here again soon. See ya.

100 Replies to “How to Fix Tight Hips (WITHOUT STRETCHING!)”

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  2. AT 3:23 I thought external rotation was in the opposite direction,or am I MISTAKEN ,sorry if I am incorrect.You were pointing to the mid line at 3:23 holding his left leg ?

  3. Thank you so much for your video it’s so interesting .really much better than fitness with you 😉😉👏👏👏👍👍👍😘😘😘from geneva

  4. Athean-X
    Great videos, can you recommend good Rubber bands for those hip stretches?? GOD bless and thank you

  5. I’ve had this for a couple weeks now and I was getting really frustrated with how stretching wasn’t working! Thank you so much!

  6. I hurt my hip area last year and it got better, but with a consequences. I was left with tight hips and it hurt to lift my leg. Trying out some of the exercises in the video, I got some relief. I was able to lift my leg without the pain that was caused by the extra tight hamstring. I will definitely continue to see how much painless mobility I will gain.

  7. Thanks man, I’m always working on something you’ve brought to my attention, or that I can feel bothering me. I’m not a beginner by any means either. It always helps.
    You really are one of the brightest people when it comes to understanding the human structure. The way you break it down is simple and effective. What the hell has Jessie be doing his whole damn life tho….????

  8. I've had the same problem and one side was much stronger than the other, in fact I couldn't lift the weak side knee at all. I've been having squat and pelvis problems but this helped tremendously. Really explains why all the stretching I did was not sufficient. When I did the recommended exercises to strengthen the side my body thanked me with joyful cracking. Thank you.

  9. Wihh the test for external rotation, surely Jesse can't lift his knee off the ground because his hip is already abducted to the end range? Lifting his knee up would he asking him to abduct further than 90 degrees past his own body which is surely impossible for most people?

  10. I have this exact problem/symptoms for quite a while now. How many sets/reps and how often on the side bridges and external hip strengtheners? Btw I failed the test worse than him…left knee (main problem side) is pinned to the ground on the test.

  11. So informative, very logical and easy advice to understand and follow. I love that about your videos! I’ve really learned a lot and continue to do so from Athlean X.

  12. August 10 2019: I don't have the flat bands, but I did purchase a $20 kit of those tubular bands off of Amazon. They're great. I did the motions at 7:27, by using the door anchor and two bands. I could feel it for sure. Awesome video!!!!! Thank you Father G-D and thanks to Athlean-X !

  13. Wow, I didn't even know I was looking for this and I'm so happy. I kept stretching my hip and it didn't change much, but these exercises finally helped me understand what my problem is. I'm pretty flexible in all directions, but that external lifting when lying on my stomach killed me. Now I know I gotta strengthen that, my hip already feels better.
    Thank you so much!!!

  14. Thank you so much. I finally understand how to investigate my problem. I kept stretching my hip but nothing improved. All my doctor comes up with is that it is arthritis. I believe that even it that is the case, there could be a lot of room for improvement. I will certainly work with your suggestions.

  15. I have had this hip pain for 3 years and physio, chiro, and massage did nothing, sometimes making it worse through stretching. I found out through this video that i have zero muscle in external rotation and i need to strengthen that. After 20 minutes of doing this i finally have relief of pain. I will continue to keep doing this, thank you so much!

  16. I think my hips are totally messed up. In the last test that he was doing at the 13 minute mark, I can lift my left foot off the ground easily, but I can’t lift my left knee or whole leg off the ground. On my right side I can barely lift my right foot off the ground, and I can’t lift my right knee or my whole right leg.

  17. omg! Thank you so much! I've been having trouble figuring out what's up with my hips! I practice martial arts and rotating my hips enough to do a decent has been severely limited! Now I have a place to start looking at how to address it!

  18. Any chance of exercises or a routine for stratification syndrome or upper and lower cross syndrome. Some exercises to follow and if they need to be in a certain order to prevent more problems, like starting with upper body first or combining upper and lower body muscles. Thank you

  19. 13:55 Can you make a video on how specifically to do hip mini band walks and clam shells?? I did the band walk today and broke my band.

  20. Jeff are you straining your voice often when doing videos? If so, evetually you'll exhaust yourself every video because of the throat issues you'll problebly develop. or maybe you just have a cold 😛

  21. This guy's lucky to have such a good trainer, and presumably for free… wish I had that. Training is hard, exercising is confusing and I'm in terrible shape, hurts too.

  22. 0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!0.0'!
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  23. 13:16 I can't even lift my knee of the ground even a little. Thank you for showing me what's wrong with my body, I now know my situation better

  24. Me: trying to stretch the hips…
    Athlean X: How to fix tight hips…….
    How does Jeff know all our problems…How does YouTube know what we are doing right now…

  25. Absolutely amazing this channel is the best I've ever watched Jeff thank you so much for all you do I just subscribe yesterday I'm learning so much from you thank you!!

  26. This channel has saved my training at 60 years old. I’m becoming more athletic and flexible than any point in my life. Even with injuries that need surgery, I’m able to train. Amazing !

  27. I dont really do workouts and the gym any more because of how pain i have all the time with shoulders and lower back and hips. But im only 37 so from these videos im hoping it should make a huge difference by doing what is demonstrated in these videos. Definately my hips must be very tight as even trying to sit cross legged is extremely uncomfortable and i have the extreme tightness in both hips not bringing knees to my chest but outward rotation that is a huge part which probably contributes to the pain and constant clicking or popping all the time.

  28. So I have an athlete, who is actually super flexible, but has really tight hips… so I was thinking she has very little stability? She's 17, a rugby player, but has tight hips. I was thinking of helping build up her glute muscles/hamstrings and getting her started on stability exercises, because she is so hyper flexible? Any ideas…

  29. I would like to see exercises and stretches that address aching rhomboids and scapula area – between and just beneath.

  30. Hope you get a chance to read this. I’m commenting through my daughters channel. Just FYI.
    I am an active 31 year old male.
    Construction for over 10!years
    And been lifting weights for a long time. But unfortunately sometimes lifting is forced to take a break bc
    Of terrible pain in my right hip
    It occasionally goes away. But does come back.
    It feels like it’s in the front pelvic area. Some times the pain is so bad that when I’m sitting and in a relaxed state my hip feels like pins and needles and the pain runs down my leg.
    When I do these internal and external rotations I for the most part succeed in getting mostly full rotation with a little help but the pain is there.
    I notice that when I do flutter kicks and or leg raises my hip pops.
    Something to mention. Is that I’ve always had lower back pain.
    And you can see my lower spine pull in words. So I always thought that I had a tight muscle from my hip pulling on it.
    Our Company policy is to always perform a stretch and flex bc work.
    And last week when stretching my hip I not only felt a pop but my coworkers near me herd it to.
    I instantly had relief and was able to rotate and completely squats with no pain.
    It as my day went on the pain slowly returned.
    if there is any rhyme to this reason help is truly appreciated. I’ve been enduringthis pain for years. And have watched your vids over and over every time the pain returns.
    I believe in your expertises.
    honestly have came to your videos before for my doctor (which is no help)
    This is my first time writing you.
    And hope there is some advice you can give me.
    Sam Adamo.

  31. Fantastic!! I kept telling the dr. that I hurt way down deep & it felt like my hip wouldn't rotate. Can't wait to try this, thanks!

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