Pigeon Stretch profile

Relieve Hip Pain and Restore Proper Mobility

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Kyle Dosterschill


“You’re telling me that you’ve been living with low back pain for over a year?!”

That was my response to learning about one of our new member’s ongoing battle with chronic pain, tightness, and overall discomfort in her lower back. After multiple failed attempts to treat the symptoms, she reluctantly decided that it was “just going to be a part of [her] life”. It kills me to know that so many people go through this. Living everyday with excruciating pain is not living at all. I’m writing this article for her, and for all who deal with similar issues.

Many of us immediately assume low back and hip pain is caused by tight, bound up muscles. While this isn’t necessarily wrong, the etiology is often more complicated, involving other systems and structures than just the muscle tissue itself. the joint capsule systems are usually of equal blame, thus deserving equal attention but rarely receiving it. Not only does inadequate hip mobility lead to pain and weakness, it also causes poor movement mechanics, reduced force production, and frequently leads to injury. Pain or not, your hips are likely starving for some TLC.

Below is a hip joint capsule mobilization protocol that’s worked wonders for so many people, including myself. This can be done as a squat warm up, workout cool down, or even as a stand-alone program on rest days. Those who are experiencing everyday pain should make this part of their everyday routine.  

Step #1

Squat Assessment

  1. Align your feet just outside shoulder width
  2. Keep your toes pointed straight ahead
  3. Try to squat to full depth without sacrificing posture
  • Do your feet rotate out?
  • Does your torso overextend?
  • Where is the pain coming from?

Note your results and repeat the same assessment after you mobilize.

Step #2

Banded Hip Distraction

Banded Hip Distraction top          Banded Hip Distraction bottom

  1. Loop one end of a band around a floor mounted object, secure the other end around the top of your foot and again around the back of your heel.
  2. Create tension on the band by moving back and lying down.
  3. Relax and allow the band to pull.
  • Spend 3 minutes on each side.

Step #3

Lacrosse Ball Glute Smash

Lacrosse Ball Glute Smash leg down           Lacrosse Ball Glute Smash leg up

  1. Sitting in an upright posture with the soles of your feet touching, position a lacrosse ball under the meat of your glute.
  2. Find an area of bound tissue to focus on.
  3. Slowly externally rotate your leg by dropping your knee to the floor and then pulling it back towards your mid-line.
  4. Continue rotating your leg throughout.
  • Spend 5 minutes on each side.

Step #4

Lacrosse Ball Hip Smash

Lacrosse Ball Hip Smash flat          Lacrosse Ball Hip Smash slightly raised          Lacrosse Ball Hip Smash fully raised

  1. Lying flat on your back, position a lacrosse ball right below your hipbone, just outside of your high glute meat.
  2. Distribute as much weight as possible onto the ball.
  3. Break up the tissue across your muscle fibers by slowly rolling onto your side and then back to the starting position.
  4. Continue rolling back in forth throughout.
  • Spend 3 minutes on each side.

Step #5

Pigeon Stretch

Pigeon Stretch top          Pigeon Stretch profile

  1. Start by sitting upright with your legs straight out in front of you.

  2. Swing one leg behind you and position your other leg in front so it’s perpendicular to your trailing extended leg.
  3. Maintain a flat back while slowly lowering your chest towards the floor.
  • Hold for 2 minutes on each side.

Step #6

Couch Stretch

Couch Stretch profile          Couch Stretch Front

  1. Kneel onto a mat with both knees and scoot your feet back to the wall.
  2. Swing one leg up so your foot is in contact with the ground in front of you. Your front leg should create a 90-degree angle at your knee.
  3. Slide your back leg up the wall so your shin runs parallel to the wall.
  4. Slowly sit as tall as possible, closing the gap between your back shin and the wall.
  • Hold for 2 minutes on each side.

Step #7

Squat Assessment

  1. Align your feet just outside shoulder width
  2. Keep your toes pointed straight ahead
  3. Try to squat to full depth without sacrificing posture

Compare your results to the initial assessment.


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