I’ll admit it: I don’t stretch as often as I should. At most, I stretch maybe twice a week. After a hard workout, I never feel like stretching. I noticed after weeks of running, doing high intensity interval training, lifting weights, sitting in class, and being on my feet at work that my hips became so tight! I felt like an old lady getting up from my desk, and I could barely do some stretches without experiencing pain. Sound familiar?
I decided I better do some serious hip stretching to keep my body healthy. If you’re in need of a good hip stretch, this is for you! The following 6 stretches will make you more relaxed, loosen your hips, and feel oh so good after a long run. So grab a mat, and stretch it out!
Stretch #1: Pigeon
Begin kneeling, and extend one leg behind you. Drop the other glute to the floor, keeping the leg bent. If you can, lean your torso over your bent knee, keeping your extended leg on the floor behind you. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat with the other leg.
Stretch #2: Hip Flexor Kneel
Begin on your knees. Bring one foot out in front of you to a 90 degree angle. Lean your torso slightly forward and down, keeping your back foot, shin, and knee on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch legs.
Stretch #3: Kneeling Straddle
This one is my favorite stretch ever! It’s difficult unless you’re some super flexible contortionist, so don’t overdo it. Begin on your knees. Widen them as far as you can without feeling pain. Then, slowly drop your glutes as far down to the ground as you can. It will be somewhat painful, so you might not be able to go down very far at first. Hold for 30 seconds if possible.
Stretch #4: Butterfly
Begin in a seated position. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together, pulling them as close to your groin as possible. Try to get your knees close to the floor (or touching it) while keeping your feet close to your body. Hold for 30 seconds.
Stretch #5: Baby Pose
This stretch sometimes hurts, so be careful! Begin lying on your back. Bend your legs and bring them up to your torso. Keep them bent at a 90 degree angle (the bottoms of your feet will be parallel with the ceiling). Grab the sole of your right foot with your right hand, and grab the sole of your left foot with your left hand. Widen your knees, bringing them on each side of your torso. Gently pull down with your hands, moving the knees slightly toward the ground. Hold for 30 seconds.
Stretch #6: Kneeling Bridge
Not only is this stretch great for your hips, but also your lower abs. Begin kneeling, and slowly lean your torso back, tilting your face up to the ceiling. Let your arms hang naturally at your sides. Keep leaning back until you are able to reach your heels with your hands. Hold for 30 seconds.