Tight hips are a common complaint, and many don’t realize how easy it is to make that discomfort fade away with a few simple stretches. Some of these will look familiar, and some may not, but all of them are easy and take just minutes of your time. Degree in Yoga not required!
Give these a try after your next run, workout, or even taking a quick break at work.
4 Simple Stretches for Happy Hips
by LaBri Krahn
1. Kneeling lunge
This is one of the most common of all hip stretches and very effective. Find a comfortable spot on a mat or soft carpet. Place one foot about two or three feet ahead of the other one, almost like you’re preparing to run a race. Keep your shoulders up and back while putting both hands on the forward knee. Press those hips forward and you’ll feel your hip stretch on the back leg.
Focus area: hip flexors and rectus femoris
A variation of the kneeling lunge involves putting your rear foot up – against the wall or on top of a step for added stretch.
2. Pigeon Stretch
My favorite! Start in a seated position with your feet together, and knees out to the side. Take one leg and extend it straight behind you while your front leg stays tucked close to the groin area. This one takes some practice to get down. Keep your back straight and shoulders back.
Focus area: hip flexors, glutes
3. Supine Hip flexor Stretch
Lay on your back with your knees tucked in to your chest. Keeping your back flat and in a tucked position, slowly extend one leg towards the floor. On this one, the stretch will be stronger the further you are able to get that bottom foot away from your body. If you need a bit more of a stretch, try laying on a bench or raised surface so that your extended leg floats and doesn’t touch the floor.
Focus area: hip flexor
4. Half Straddle
Start in a straddle, or wide V-sit position and move one leg in to put the bottom of your foot on your inner thigh. Reach towards your extended foot as far as you can, while keeping your back straight, and imagine trying to bring your bottom rib to your mid thigh, and eventual goal of putting your nose to your knee!
Focus: hamstrings, inner thigh
See? Hip flexibility doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated! 4 simple stretches you can do every day for a few minutes and voila! Your glutes, inner thighs, hamstrings, hip flexors and lower back thank you. To return your muscles to pre-exercise length, hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and remember to breathe! If you’re really looking to increase flexibility, it’s less to do with a prescribed minimum amount of time, and more about being able to relax into the position and feeling the muscle “release.” But if you want to aim for a quantitative measure, let’s say 60 seconds or 5 deep, deep breaths. Don’t push too hard – make sure you feel a nice stretch but no sharp pain. There are many more stretches out there for hip flexibility but here are a few easy stretches to get you started! Enjoy! For more hip flexibility stretches, check out 4 MORE simple stretches for happy hips!