A foam roller is commonly used in a process known as self-myofascial release. Self-myofascial release is a means of stretching, reducing pain and increasing the range of motion in virtually all parts of your body -- including your hips. During self-myofascial release, you roll the foam roller over your hip region until you find a knot or sore spot. There are several exercises used to stretch the hip region.
Hip Flexors and Quads
Your hip flexors are located on the front of your hips. They bring your thighs and chest closer together when they contract. One of the quads -- the rectus femoris -- flexes the hip and straightens your knees. You can release tension in these muscles by positioning your foam roller on the ground. Lie with your stomach facing the ground on one side of the foam roller. Your hip should be positioned on the foam roller. The other leg and hip should be positioned slightly off of the roller. Slowly roll up and down along your hip until you find a sore and tense spot. Hold this position with light pressure for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat on the opposite side of the foam roller for your other hip.
Your adductor muscles, which are the muscles that run from your hip down your thigh, comprise your groin. They are responsible for the inward and outward motions of your hips. Position the foam roller long ways between your legs. Press the foam roller up against the inside of one of your thighs. Your body should be positioned in a push up position. Slowly roll the roller from your hip down to your knee. When you find a tight spot, stop and apply light pressure. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat with your opposite leg.
Your illiotibial band runs from your hip down the outside of your leg to your thigh. It is used during running to stabilize your hip and knee. Position yourself so that you are lying on your side with the foam roller underneath your hip. This will lift your bottom leg slightly off of the floor. Slowly roll the foam roller from your hip down to your knee. Stop when you experience tension or pain. Rest this portion of your leg on the foam roller, and hold for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat for the opposite leg.
One of the three powerful gluteal muscles, the gluteus medius abducts the hip, moving your thigh out to the side of your body. It is also a hip rotator, turning the head of the thigh bone in the hip joint. To release tension in the gluteus medius, lie on your side with the foam roller under your hip. Slowly turn your body, as if you were trying to lie on your back. After you've rotated about 45 degrees, roll the foam roller up and down along the side of your buttocks, resting briefly in any position that causes discomfort. To minimize the discomfort, you can support more of your body weight on your hands. After rolling one hip, turn over and work on the other side.