Five Stretches To Open Your Hips
Running, cycling, hiking and many other activities can lead to tightness in your hips. This is an important area of the body that can get missed by many stretching routines - but stretching is the best way to prevent tears and injury. Try these yoga-inspired stretches to open up your hips and prevent injury in your legs and spine.
This gentle pose is a perfect cool-down stretch or a great way to kick off your hip opening sequence. Begin on your hands and knees with your toes touching and your legs hip width apart. Bend your knees, bringing your hips back toward your heels. Stretch your arms out forward on the ground, lengthening your spine. Rest your forehead toward the mat and let your sit bones rest on your heels. You can experiment with widening your knees or bringing them closer together to see what feels better on your hips. Stay here for one minute or more.
You might remember this one from gym class! Sit on the ground and bring the soles of your feet together, splaying your knees out wide. You can rest your knees on books or a blanket for support. Sit up tall, then hinge at the hips to bring your torso toward your feet. Hold wherever you feel slight resistance and breathe into your hips for 30 seconds, then release.
This one will feel heavenly to runners. Begin in a plank position and step your right leg forward in between your hands. Drop your left knee down to the ground and lift your chest upright. Make sure your right knee does not pass in front of your right ankle. Sink your pelvis forward and toward the ground and feel the opening in your left front hip. Repeat on the other side. Place a blanket or yoga mat under your bottom knee if desired for extra cushion.
A classic hip opener that releases tension throughout the body, Pigeon pose can do a lot for active people. Start in plank position, then bring your right knee toward your right hand and rest it on the ground. Position your right shin toward your hands and flex the right foot. Extend your left leg straight back and fold your torso over your leg. Lengthen the spine and rest your forehead down on your hands, a towel, or the floor. Place a stack of books under your right hip for support if desired. Stay here for 1-3 minutes, then release. Repeat on the left side.
Finish off your hip openers with a gentle standing stretch! From standing, lift your right leg and cross it over your left leg. Bring your right toes to the ground or behind your standing leg. Squeeze your thighs together and bend into your knees. Wrap your right arm under your left arm, cross at your elbows, and bring palms to touch. Gaze forward and keep your chest upright. For more space in your back body, bring your hands to touch your shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Tight hips can create pain in your lower back, knees, and shoulders. Try out these hip openers during your stretching routine and notice the difference!