Well-balanced, unrestricted hips are important to all athletes. They're especially critical to tennis players.
Tight hips limit the range of motion and ease of movement on the court, making it more difficult to make those winning shots. In the worst case scenario, tight hips can cause muscle strains and tendinitis.
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Tennis players with tight hips end up bending at the waist to get low for a shot, instead of flexing their hips and knees. Excessive bending in the waist puts a strain on your lower back, which will take the power right out of your shot.
If you want to play great injury-free tennis, it's essential to keep the hip muscles loose and functional. The hips often get tight because they have to pull against constricted groin muscles.
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Before you can effectively stretch your hip muscles, you have to loosen up the groin muscles with the lying down groin stretch.
The external hip stretch aims to loosen up the external hip. The stretch can cause an uncomfortable sensation other muscle groups, such as hamstrings, lower leg muscles, inside of the thigh, the groin, outside of the knee or lower back.
The muscle groups you feel the most during the stretch are the tightest. Once that particularly tight muscle relaxes, the sensation will move to the opposite muscle group.
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When that one lets go, you will feel in the original muscle group again and you'll sink deeper into the stretch. Breathe deeply and hold the stretch until it feels comfortable.
How to release the external hip
Sit down with straight legs, feet pointing up and the upper body erect. Bend your left leg and put the left foot on a top of the right thigh as close your groin as possible, letting the left knee to fall outward.
Breathe deeply and allow the left hip relax. Start slowly leaning your straight upper body forward and toward the right leg until you grab your foot or ankle with both hands. Remain in this position for one to two minutes, while breathing deeply and relaxing in your neck and the left hip.
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It's normal to experience tightness and slight discomfort in the left knee or ankle if they're too tight.
Performing this external hip stretch regularly after your tennis practice will increase the range of motion in your hips, knees and ankles, which will allow for better movement and balance on the tennis court. As a result, your tennis game will improve too!
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