In today’s world, tight hip muscles are just a part of life. Between walking, sitting throughout the day and working out, our hips get a lot of use, so it’s imperative to give them proper care. If neglected, tight hips can lead to back pain, muscular imbalances and can also cause injuries like pulled muscles or torn ligaments. This article is your one-stop shop to mastering hip flexibility, from the whys to the how-tos!
Get a pre-stretch game plan.
Before you dive into stretching, there’s some strategy you need to know about first. There are three major types of hip stretches, and it’s important to always incorporate one of each: groin, hip flexor and outer hip. These three categories will allow you to stretch in multiple ranges of motion, ensuring your body is balanced.
Choose your stretches.
As you move throughout the day, take note of which movements are the most stiff. This will help you figure out which areas need the most work. Pro tip: Always start your stretch routine with your most stiff side, as it’s natural to spend more time on your first side than second!
Hip Flexor Stretches
This stretch is awesome for those of you who sit during the day due to work! It’s the best way to start all of your hip stretches out as well, since it activates the largest muscle in your hips.
If you sit all day, this stretch is a must. Releasing your hip flexors will not only improve your posture, but it will also keep you from getting knee injuries. Pro tip: Move your hips in small alternating circles for a deeper stretch and to build mobility.
This pose is great for your hip flexors, and it also helps build flexibility in your spine and shoulders. Take deep breaths as you lift your hips and chest, and exhale to lower. Use this sequence if you’re a beginner, aiming to get your hips higher each time.
Outer Hip Stretches
If you’re currently experiencing lower-back pain, this stretch is for you. It will also help you bring balance to your back and hip muscles.
This stretch releases your external rotator muscles. If you’re a big barre or circuit class enthusiast, chances are your external rotators are your tightest hip muscles. Add this to your routine to get your range of motion back!
If your outer hips are super tight and pigeon pose is too difficult, this stretch is great to build up flexibility. Remember to breath in deep and exhale while pulling your hips into the stretch.
Groin stretches are often helpful for relieving stress and upper/lower-back pain. This stretch is a one-stop shop for this!
This stretch is great for beginners (those of you with super tight muscles), as you can ease into it by holding your ankles or calves.
This stretch is the holy grail of groin stretches! You can choose how intense you want it to be by sitting back into it, making it easy to scale back if you’re a beginner.