Updated Sep 2, 2016

Morning Stiffness

A Simple Exercise that can Reduce Morning Stiffness

The Standing Hip Shift

Morning Stiffness can be very difficult to overcome.  This is a constant pain that can progress to the point of significantly affecting your quality of sleep.  There are numerous factors affecting it such as, the quality of your mattress, sleep position, body weight, etc…

There are many exercises that should be performed to address the issue of morning stiffness.   These exercises try to relieve both the tightness and imbalance in the lumbar spine, muscles of the lower back and your hip muscles.  When your lower back is stiff in the morning, muscles such as your psoas, glutes and hamstrings become tight overnight.  This generates pressure on the joints resulting in pain.  Weak abdominals also contribute to this pain as they do not allow adequate support for the lumbar spine.

The Standing Hip Shift is a great exercise to help reduce this form of pain.

It is illustrated below from Exercise #8 from the Challenging Exercises (See Table of Contents). It helps to reduce back pain by:

  1. Encouraging your gluteus maximus to contract (for hip mobility and support).
  2. Strengthening your gluteus medius (for hip mobility, reduce hip stiffness).
  3. Stretching both the deep muscles of the spine and back (reduces low back stiffness).
  4. Strengthens the abdominals (reduces excessive anterior pelvic tilt).

First, perform this exercise before going to bed (standing) and while in bed (lying sideways) but prior to rising. (It is important to have consent from your family doctor prior to any exercise routine such as the Standing Hip Shift.)

Standing Hip Shift

Step 1:  Stand upright, raise one leg and hold it up unassisted.  Allow the unsupported hip to drop.

Standing Hip Shift

Step 2:  Raise the elevated and unsupported side of the hip by flexing the standing hip.  Raise in a slow and controlled fashion as high as possible. Your hip should be raised from below the level position to above level.


Step 3:  Hold the contraction and keep your hip raised for 1-10 seconds.


Step 4:  Return to a rest position.


Step 5:  Repeat with the other leg and hip.


Step 6:  Repeat this entire exercise but now with a forward lean.  Contract your abdominals and hold 1- 10 seconds.


This is a very difficult exercise to perform initially so it is better to perform it while lying down on your bed or the floor.  Your initial stiffness you prevent you from fully executing the movement but should improve over time.  When standing, remain near a support to prevent yourself from falling, until your balance improves.

It is important to shift your hips in respect to the blue axis lines indicated in the images above.  Tight and stiff hip muscles make this movement very difficult.  At first you may only be able to shift a very slight amount.

With practice and increased strength and flexibility, you will be able to shift your hips with greater degrees of motion.

“I wanted to let you know that your program has made me have unbelievable breakthroughs and in only two days. I now realize that my pelvis has been tilting back and up as well as to the right side. Your hip unlocking exercises in particular made me feel something I forgot I could feel. I’m 22 and was having a lot of spinal issues and joint pain which was causing immobilizing suffering but this has already made me have unbelievable relief and hope. You’re a real life saver” 

“This book is a lifesaver for anybody with chronic lower back pain. I have suffered from lower back pain for 6-7 years and nothing I tried (physical therapy, yoga, swimming) provides any meaningful lasting relief. Found this book about 10 days ago and have been following the exercises in this book; it is like magic and I have been pain free for the last week. After many years, I am sleeping well at night and wake up energized and ready to take on the day.”



If you are tired of enduring this form of chronic pain, and are in need of a proven, structured, plan for pain relief: Search this site for more valuable help and Download the eBook to start today.