Whether you run or bike, you will find that hip stretches are a welcome addition to your workout routine. Done properly, hip stretches will help improve your performance as well as aid in recovery of muscle fatigue after you exercise. The important thing about physical fitness is that the best programs address the prep and recovery in addition to the workout.
Hip Flexor Stretches
Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexors include your iliopsoas and tensor fasciae latae muscles. The standing hip flexor stretch targets the first of these two muscles.
To do this stretch, you will need either a stool or exercise step.
- Step back from your support about a stride length back.
- Step your left foot onto your support and lunge forward.
- Make sure and straighten your back leg as you hold the stretch for a moment or two.
- Switch legs.
Seated Hip Flexor Stretch
Because these muscles are so deep, it can be difficult to isolate them.
To target the tensor fasciae latae muscle, perform this exercise:
- Sit on your exercise mat with your right leg extended.
- Bend your left leg and place your left foot on the outside of your right knee.
- Twist your body to the left until you feel a stretch.
- Repeat on the other side.
Stability Ball Stretches
Seated Stretch for Hips
A stability ball gives you several options for hip stretches. A simple seated stretch will work the deep muscles of your hip joints.
- Sit on the ball.
- Place your left ankle on your right knee.
- Gently push down on both your left ankle and left knee. You should feel a pleasant stretch at your hips.
- Repeat the stretch with your other leg.
Tension-Easing Hip Stretch
To relieve muscle tension in your hips, stay seated on your exercise ball with both feet on the floor.
- Place your arms out to each side.
- Circle your hips clockwise a few times.
- Repeat the motion going counterclockwise.
This gentle stretch will help release any lingering tension in your hips, especially helpful for a way to wind down at the end of the day.
Yoga Stretches for the Hips
There are several yoga poses of varying difficulty which can also help improve the flexibility of your hip joints. One of these is resting pigeon. You can use a yoga strap or yoga brick to help you ease into this hip stretch until your flexibility increases.
- Sit on your mat with one leg extended behind you.
- Bend your front leg to 90 degrees and walk your foot to the inside edge of your mat.
- Inhale as you lay your knee down flat at the opposite edge of the mat.
- Rest over your bent leg.
- Hold for a few minutes and repeat on the other side.
With extended triangle pose, you can use a yoga block as an aid, depending upon your flexibility.
- Stand on your exercise map.
- Move your legs apart about three feet.
- Point your right foot in front of you and your left to the side at a 90-degree angle.
- Extend your arms out to each side and face forward.
- Bend from the hip, tilting your body to the left. Use your left leg for support.
- Extend your right arm into the air and reach for the ground with your left.
- Turn your head to the right, looking at your extended arm.
- Hold the pose briefly and release. Repeat the stretch with your other leg.
Hip stretches are a necessary part of your exercise regimen. Bear in mind that it takes time to increase your range of motion. Daily stretches will help relieve stress and reduce your risk from injury even during day to day activities. Flexibility, after all, is essential for most activities.