Stretches to Loosen Hips

You can perform simple hip stretches to open your hips and ease tightness.

You can perform simple hip stretches to open your hips and ease tightness.

Tight hips are a common cause of lower back and hip pain. The iliacus and psoas muscles, hip flexors that help you lift your knees and bend over, are often to blame. These muscles can become shortened and inflexible due to poor posture, a lack of activity or everyday activities like sitting for extended periods of time. Performing hip stretches on a regular basis may help alleviate pain, increase your level of flexibility and reduce discomfort.

Cobbler's Pose

Sit on the floor with your legs stretched straight out. Lengthen your spine and relax your shoulders. Align your head and neck with your spine.

Bend your knees in toward your chest, then allow the knees to fall out to the sides. Do not try to force your knees down toward the floor. Bring the soles of your feet together.

Reach your hands behind you to pull the fleshy parts of your buttocks away from each other, then place your hands on the floor in front of your body.

Walk your fingertips away from your body, folding forward from your hip joint. Stretch only as far as you can without pain or strain. Stay here for several breaths, then return to a seated position.

Garland Pose

Stand with your feet about 3 1/2 feet apart. Point your toes away from each other.

Inhale and squat down by bending your knees and lowering your buttocks to the floor. Lower down as far as you can, as though you are trying to actually touch your buttocks to the ground.

Rest your palms in prayer position in front of your chest and press your elbows on the insides of your knees. Use gentle pressure from your elbows to spread your legs wider.

Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then slowly return to a standing position.

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Fold

Sit on the floor with your legs spread as wide as possible. If you are not as flexible as you might like, keep your knees slightly bent. Sit up tall, extend your spine and relax your shoulders.

Place your hands on the floor between your legs. Walk your fingers forward, bending from your hip hinge. Stretch as far as you can without pain or strain.

Rest your hands, forearms or torso on the floor, depending on your level of flexibility. Do not hunch your shoulders. Keep your neck relaxed. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds, then return to a seated position.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel on the floor. Step your right foot up, bringing your right knee to a 90-degree angle with the floor. Rest your right hand on your right thigh and your left hand on your left hip.

Exhale and lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your upper thigh. Do not bend at your waist. Keep your torso upright.

Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.

Seated Outer Hip Stretch

Sit in a chair, keeping your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed.

Bend your right knee. Rest the outer part of your right ankle on your left thigh. Allow your right knee to fall away from your body.

Press your right knee toward the floor using gentle pressure from your right hand. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.

 

About the Author

Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.

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