Does pain prevent you from doing the things you love? If your lower back, knees, or ankles are constantly aching, you could have tight hips. The number one cause of hip tightness is sitting still, a habit that is hard to avoid in today’s world.
If you spend many hours at a desk, in a car, or in front of the television, it’s important to make time for movement. Waking up your hip flexors will relieve pain and help you get back to enjoying your favorite activities.
Are you wondering how to release tight hips? Practicing a series of yoga-inspired hip flexor stretches daily is a great idea.
Keep reading to learn more about the hip flexors and 8 effective stretches for loosening up tight hips. There’s no equipment required, so try these movements anywhere!
What Are Hip Flexors?
Your hip flexors are a group of muscles that connect your upper legs to your hips. They help you walk, kick, bend at the waist, and swivel your hips.
Tightness in the hip flexors and related areas of the body is often caused by a sedentary lifestyle. Pain is a signal that you need to take better care of your body by exercising and stretching every day.
Let’s take a look at some specific stretches to help you find relief from hip tightness.
1. Butterfly Stretch
The butterfly stretch is simple and effective. To begin, take a seat on the floor. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together in front of you.
Next, move your heels as close to your perineum as possible. Keeping your spine straight, gently lean forward. To deepen the stretch, use your arms to apply pressure to your inner thighs.
Hold the pose for 30 seconds, and remember to breathe.
2. Reclining Pigeon Pose
Reclining pigeon pose is one of the most common hip openers taught in yoga classes. To begin, lay down on your back. Bend your knees so the soles of your feet are on the ground, hip-width apart.
Cross your right ankle over your left knee. If this is enough of a stretch for you, hold the position.
For more sensation, interlace your fingers behind your left thigh, drawing the left knee closer to your body. There is also an option to push against your right knee with your right elbow.
Keep your lower back flat against the floor. After a minute, repeat the same process on the opposite side.
3. Yogi Squat
Yogi squat, also known as malasana, is a powerful hip stretch. From standing, plant your feet wider than your hips. Angle your toes out slightly.
Bring your palms together in front of your chest, then bend your knees as you lower into a squat position. Your heels can be flat on the floor or lifted.
Use your elbows to press against your inner knees, creating space. It is important to keep your core muscles engaged to protect the lower back.
Hold yogi squat for up to a minute.
4. Hero Pose
If you are relaxing in front of the television, try sitting in hero pose for a few minutes to passively open your hips.
Start in a kneeling position with your knees together and the tops of your feet on the ground. Slide your feet apart until there is enough space to lower your hips between them.
Sit with your glutes on the ground and your hands resting on your thighs. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for as long as you feel comfortable.
If sitting on the ground feels too intense, you can modify hero pose by placing a yoga block or bolster under your tailbone for support.
5. Low Lunge
Low lunge is a great stretch for both the hip flexors and quads. From standing, step your right leg forward so your right knee is aligned over the right ankle.
Inhale your arms up towards the sky, then lower your left knee to the ground. Stay here for ten rounds of breath, then switch sides.
6. Lizard Pose
Lizard pose is a variation of low lunge that offers an even deeper hip stretch. From low lunge with your right leg forward, move your right foot a few inches to the right. Plant both palms on the ground inside your right foot.
Lower onto your forearms, allowing your upper body and head to fold forward. Stay here or let your right knee roll open, shifting your weight to the outer edge of your right foot. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with the left leg forward.
7. Double Pigeon
An intense hip and glute opener, try double pigeon after you’ve warmed up with low lunge or yogi squat.
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend your left knee and place your knee, shin, and ankle on the floor so they are parallel to the front of your body.
Bend your right knee and stack the knee, shin, and ankle over your left lower leg. Think of your lower legs as stacked fire logs.
Place your fingertips on the ground beside your hips, or walk them out in front of you as you fold forward. Keep your spine long, not rounded. Take ten breaths, then practice with your left leg on top.
8. Happy Baby
Happy baby pose is everyone’s favorite way to end a yoga class. Lay on your back, then bend your knees and pull them to your chest.
Grab your ankles or the outside edges of your feet with your hands. Keeping the knees bent and the bottoms of your feet facing the sky, pull your knees toward your armpits. Try to keep your lower back and tailbone on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds, rocking from side to side, then release.
Stretch Daily to Find Relief From Tight Hips
Tight hips can cause significant pain, but this common problem can be solved with a daily stretching routine. Practice these 8 stretches as often as possible to find relief from hip flexor discomfort. You’ll be amazed by what a difference a few simple movements can make.
Physical therapy can also help with chronic hip flexor tightness. Contact us today to schedule a phone conversation.