Posted on January 23 2019
We sit for hours. At desks. In cars. On couches binge-watching special holiday releases on Netflix. Not to mention, flying. All this sitting makes for some seriously tight and achy hips, but we have an easy remedy: stretching, of course. To take care of this joint, you need to lengthen all the muscles around the hips and glutes. Here are nine stretches that will do just that.
It's best to stretch your muscles when your body is warm, so after a workout is ideal. If you're ready to dedicate a stretch session to your hips right now, do a little light cardio — think jumping jacks — and then get to stretching.
Kneeling Quad Stretch
This move lengthens the entire front of the thigh, stretching the quad from the hip to the knee.
- Begin in a runner's lunge with your right foot forward. Slowly lower your left knee to the floor.
- Take a few moments to find balance, and once you're stabilized, grab your left foot with your left hand.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Lunge With Side Bend
This is a gentle stretch for the front of the hip. It's a great addition to your warmup routine since it's an active stretch that preps the hip for almost any kind of workout.
- Stand with your hands at your waist, and step back with your right leg into a deep lunge. Increase the stretch by lifting your right arm overhead and reaching to the left.
- Press through your left heel as you return to standing to fire up the glutes, and repeat this move on the other side.
Lunge With Reach and Twist
Perfect for after a run or Spin class, this lunge targets the deep hip flexors, found at the front of the hip.
- Begin in a runner's lunge, and place your right hand on the outside of your right foot. Reach your left hand to the ceiling, increasing the stretch on the left side of the body. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Then place the left hand at the inside of your right foot. Twist to the right and reach your right arm to the ceiling. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Repeat this sequence on the other side. Feel free to do this stretch two to three times on each side.
Roller Psoas Stretch
Use a foam roller for this passive, relaxing stretch that lengthens your psoas, one of your deep hip flexors.
- Place the roller perpendicular to your spine and lie with your sacrum (the back of your pelvis) — not your spine — on the roller.
- Pull your left knee toward your chest, keeping your right heel on the ground. You should feel a stretch on the front of your right hip.
- To increase the stretch, reach your right arm over your head and open your left knee slightly out to the left.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs. Repeat as needed.
Tight inner thighs can affect your hips too. This simple straddle is a great way to lengthen your adductors (aka your inner thigh muscles).
- In a seated position, open your legs as wide as needed to feel a stretch in your inner thighs. If you're really tight, try sitting on a pillow to decrease the stretch, or try doing this stretch one leg at a time.
- To increase the stretch, walk your hands forward while keeping your back straight, hinging forward from your hips. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Then round your back, bringing your head toward the floor; hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds.
Straddle Stretch at the Wall
This is a deep, passive stretch that targets the inner thighs and is great after a long, hard workout.
- Lie on your back as close as you can to the wall; you want your bum against the wall.
- Lengthen your legs upward with your heels resting on the wall. Separate your feet and slide your legs down the wall toward the ground, coming into a straddle position.
- Hold this position for two to three minutes or longer, if needed.
- When you're ready to get out of the stretch, slide your legs together (or push them together if that's easier). Draw your knees into your chest and roll to one side, coming into a fetal position. Hold this position for a few breaths. Then roll onto your knees and come to standing.
Your glutes affect your hips, so you want to keep them flexible for happy hips.
- Lie on your back with both legs in the air. Place your left ankle on your right thigh just above your knee. See the shape of the number four? It's there, just upside down.
- Clasp your hands around your left thigh and slowly pull your thigh toward your chest. You should feel a stretch on the outside of your left hip. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
The seated twist also stretches your glutes. Doing this regularly will free up your hips, and twisting is also great for the spine.
- Begin seated on your mat with your legs extended straight out in front of you.
- Bend your right knee and place your right heel as close to your left sit bone as you can.
- Reach your right arm behind you, and plant your palm or fingertips on the floor. Place your left hand or elbow on your right knee or thigh, and gently pull your knee to the left until you feel the stretch in your glutes.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat on left side.
Lying Low Back Twist
To enjoy the full range of motion your hip joint has to offer, it's important to keep the outside of the hip and thigh flexible. This variation on the supine twist really stretches that area.
- Lying on your back, extend your arms out to your sides. Bend your knees, and cross your right leg over your left.
- Slowly rotate your knees to the right, allowing them to come to the floor. It's OK if your left shoulder comes off the floor. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Then, slowly bring your knees back to center.
- Reverse directions and twist to the left. Repeat as needed.