Super Tight Hips & Lower Back Pain Slowing You Down?

Updated: Aug 14, 2021

Cranky, Stiff, Tight Hips Won't Let You Be Great? 😩 Let's fix that ...

Super Tight Hips & Lower Back Pain Bad For Runners Cyclists & Triathletes
Endurance Athletes Suffer From Tight Hips & Lower Back Pain Frequently

Have tight hips after a workout or during the week when you are not training? You are not alone if you have tight hips after a workout, during your yoga practice or when you have had too many rest days.


So many in our tribe: cyclists, runners, triathletes, swimmers and rock climbers - all talk about how their hips hurt on a regular basis.


Tight hips and lower back pain and weakness is a very common complaint shared among runners, long distance cyclists, some swimmers, triathletes and a plethora of endurance athletes online and during group training sessions.


They all commandingly look for ways to decrease their tightness, relieve aches, increase overall mobility in their hips, without using pain prescriptions, over the counter inflammation drugs and topical creams.


Source of Hip & Lower Back Pain for Endurance Athletes?


Your body is a complete ecosystem in itself. The psoas is the biggest muscle in the hip. It runs from your mid-back to the top of your quad, which connects the top front of your pelvis to the top of your quad, and so on.


Tight hip flexors can make it difficult for your pelvis or psoas to function properly, causing your lower back to overcompensate and produce a lower-back injury. The psoas, and hence the lower back, are supported by stretching the hips and hip flexors.


Pain Culprit: Sitting excessively, poor posture and all the miles we pile on our hips and lower back in the name of endurance sports. All the marathons, bike races, cycling, triathlons and improper/unbalanced weight training we do - sure does a number to our core’s mvp- our hips.

Tight hips or underactive glutes can make it difficult to engage the correct muscles during a workout, so performing regular activation exercises can help you recruit your glutes correctly during cardio or weight training.


The good news is that yoga can help. Certain yoga hip stretches/strength moves can reduce tightness, relieve aches, increase hip mobility, and, if done frequently enough, elevate your race day performance - in all races across the board - swimming, road & trail running, cycling events/bike rides , and triathlons.


Female triathlete riding in a triathlon race
Credit: Triathlete Kristen is having FUN on wheels

Best Exercises To Fix & Strengthen Tight Hips


If you're experiencing tight hips post-workout or during your training sessions, you're not the only person in the pack - in fact it’s so normal amongst athletes 30+. The psoas is the largest hip muscle and wraps from your mid-back across the front of your pelvis to the top of your quad.


Certain yoga hip stretches & strength training moves can decrease tightness, relieve aches, increase the overall mobility in your hips, and, if done often enough, elevate your swimming, biking, running, and even your golf game.

You can use the glute bridge family of exercises to keep your lower body functional if you spend a lot of time sitting or in the case of cyclists and triathletes long hours in the saddle in a closed hip position.


This movement activates the posterior chain (the muscles on the back of your body). It is a powerful glute activation exercise that is commonly used in lower body workouts and perfect for runners, cyclists, swimmers and especially triathletes.


Glute bridges (+ all variations) can be done at any time of day and practically anywhere with zero equipment needed— try them first thing in the morning, during a lunch break, or at the end of the day. We love to use them for the perfect east warm up at the beginning of our “stretch” sessions (we share our actually stretch plan below).


Bridge Exercises as BEST Hip Flexor Mobility & Strength Training
Bridge Exercises as BEST Hip Flexor Mobility & Strength Training

What Exactly Are Hip Bridge Exercises?


A bridge exercise isolates and strengthens your gluteus and hamstring muscles, which are the main muscles that make up the posterior chain.


It is performed by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground at a comfortable distance from your buttocks. The glute bridge does not require any equipment and can be performed while lying on a fitness or yoga mat or a towel.


A glute bridge is simple enough to do at any age or fitness level, but it's difficult enough that you'll feel the benefits long after you've finished your workout.


You can combine the glute bridge with other exercises to get a full-body workout, or you can do it as part of your warm-up.


If you're experiencing tight hips post-workout or during your training sessions, you're not alone. The psoas is the largest hip muscle and wraps from your mid-back across the front of your pelvis to the top of your quad.


Certain yoga hip stretches & strength training moves can decrease tightness, relieve aches, increase the overall mobility in your hips, and, if done often enough, elevate your swimming, biking, running, and even your golf game.


8 Yoga-Based Stretches to Relieve Tight Hips For Cyclist/Runners/Triathletes


Yoga Child Pose Helps with Tight Hips & Lower Back Runners Cyclists Triathletes
Yoga Child Pose Helps with Tight Hips & Lower Back

Child’s Pose

This gentle hip stretch is frequently used to rest between poses. Kneel on the ground. Bring your big toes behind you and touch them. Sit back on your heels, and spread your knees slightly wider than your hips. Exhale by laying your upper body between your thighs and stretching and resting your arms out long in front of you. Stay in this position for 30 seconds to a few minutes, breathing deeply.