It’s tough but sitting at a desk all day would inevitably affect your hips. While stretching and foam-rolling routines can go a long way in eliminating some uncomfortable tightness, they still have limitations and that’s where we introduce CAR stretches to you.
CAR stands for “Controlled Articular Rotation”, and these type of stretches are recovery technique that requires you to move a joint through its full range of motion to help loosen it up. They are particularly useful when it comes to treating your hips since they can suffer so much from tightness. Your hip flexors can get tight from a sedentary lifestyle spent in a seated position, and hip CARs can help open up movement ranges to open up ranges of movement when used consistently.
Physical Therapists use CARs as another treatment option for the following uses:
- To maintain joint health
- To assess your body on a continuous basis.
- To maintain your current range of motion
With CARs, you take the joints through the largest range of motion with control and tension, working to increase your range of motion. These stretches are different from your usual static stretches, in which you lengthen a muscle and hold it for a certain amount of time to help increase flexibility because they add an element of mobility. Experts also claim that CARs can be helpful for resistance training as well as for everyday movement since the hips are such an important driver to every daylife.
Trainers suggest starting every day with a quick CARs session to keep those hips nice and loose. Over time, you’ll see your range of motion improve, which will in turn help you get stronger.
Here some easy movements that you can do for better hip flexion range of motion:
Standing Hip CARs
- Stand with your feet flat on the floor
- Hold onto a wall or another stable surface
- Brace your core and keep tension in your standing leg
- Lift your knee to your chest and hold it at the same height to open up your hip
- Lift your heel to engage an internal rotation in your hip
- Then, kick your foot back behind you into the air
- Slowly come back to start, and reset your position and breathe with every rotation
- Repeat for 30-60 seconds on each leg
Tabletop CARs a.k.a Quadruped Hip Circles
- Start in a quadruped position, on all fours, lift your knee up to your chest limiting the amount of rounding of your lower back.
- Keep your knee up and move your knee to the outside as far as possible, keep your pelvis horizontal.
- Keep your knee there and then rotate the hip inwards attempting to lift the foot higher than your knee.
- Keep your leg up and bring it back behind you. Try not to overarch the back at this point.
- Slowly return to your starting position and note that this can also be done in reverse.
- Perform this position for 30 seconds or more for a challenge.
Take note that CARs stretches would be included in your treatment plan if your condition calls for it. As we have mentioned from time to time, a thorough health assessment takes place before treatment sessions begin.