Most people don’t take muscle tightness, strain, or pain as seriously as they would a viral infection. But, truth be told, muscle-related problems, especially if they’re hip related, can disrupt your day’s plans.
This is because hips are critical for mobility, along with other muscles in your lower extremities.1 And, if you frequently feel a strain in an around your hip area, here are a few stretches that you should try.
1. Double-Knee Torso Rotation
This simple and relaxing stretch opens up your hips. It also works on your back, chest, and outer thigh. Here’s how you can go about it.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent. Ensure that your feet are together and flat on the floor.
- Place your arms at shoulder level on either side of your body.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles and lift both knees toward your chest.
- Keeping your shoulders relaxed, lower your knees to the right side of the floor. As you do this, look in the opposite direction.
- Hold this position for a few seconds and feel the stretch in your hips.
- Bring both knees back to center and return both your feet back to the floor, one after the other.
- Repeat in the opposite direction.
Make sure you stretch only to the point of mild tension, not pain. If your body is struggling with this position, place a rolled towel between your knees.2
2. Floor Hip Flexor Stretch
This stretch relieves hip pain. It also improves mobility in the hip and strengthens it. Here’s how you can go about this stretch.
- Lie on your back with your legs extended in front of you on the floor.
- Relax your shoulders against the floor and bend your right knee.
- Interlock your fingers at the back of your right thigh and pull your knee toward your chest. Flex your left foot and press the left leg toward the floor as you do so. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg for 1 repetition.
Repeat this stretch as many times as you can. Try to stay as still as you can during the stretch.3
3. Side Hip Stretch
This stretch targets your hip and inner thigh muscles. Here’s how you can go about it.
- Lie on your back with your legs together, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your shoulders pinned on the floor. Try and make sure not to move them throughout the stretch.
- Slowly lower your right knee to the right side as far as you comfortably can. Keep your feet close together and try not to move the other leg.
- Hold this position for 10–30 seconds and bring your knee back up slowly.
- Repeat with the same knee at least 3 times before moving on to the other knee.
Avoid locking your joints at any point during this stretch. Be sure to consult a professional if you’ve had a hip surgery recently.4
4. Pelvic Tilt
This stretch helps build strength in your hip muscles. Here’s how you can go about it.
- Lie on your back with your arms on the floor next to you.
- Position your hands next to your hips, bend your knees, and keep your feet flat on the floor and slightly apart.
- Slowly lift your vertebrae off the floor starting with the lower back, then the middle, and then the upper back.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds and then roll down one vertebra at a time, starting from the upper back down to the lower back.
Repeat this as many times as manageable and give yourself 30 seconds of rest between each repetition. If you’ve got acute or chronic back pain or had a hip surgery recently, it might be best to skip this one.5
5. Half Lunge Stretch
This simple stretch can relieve any tension in your hips. Here’s how you can go about it.
- Stand with one foot in front of you and your weight equally distributed between the two feet.
- Bend both knees and lift your back heel off the ground.
- Bring your pelvis slightly forward, so your back is flat.
- Hold this position for 10-20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
You should feel this stretch in the front of the hip and in your abdomen. To make this stretch easier, you could lean against a wall or column for balance.6
6. Frog Stretch
This pose expands the hip flexors and improves mobility in the hips. Here’s how you can go about it.
- In a seated position, place your feet beneath the buttocks and keep your knees together.
- Open the knees into a “V” shape and slowly walk your arms and torso forward. Be sure to breathing deeply and evenly at this point.
- Rest your forearms at a 90-degree angle while supporting the torso.
- Hold this position for 2–5 minutes.
To up the intensity of this stretch, position your feet further apart once your hips are in the “V” position. To make it easier, place thin pillows or an extra yoga mat under your knees.7
Try doing these stretches every day, especially if you tend to experience cramps and tightness in your hips a lot. Be sure to warm up before you try any of these stretches so as to avoid injuries.
|↑1||The importance of stretching. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑2, ↑3||Stretching: The new mobility protection. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑4||Hip. National Institute on Aging.|
|↑5||Exercises For Strong Back And Hips. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.|
|↑6||Hip stretch. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑7||Clippinger, Karen S. Dance anatomy and kinesiology. Human Kinetics, 2007.|