8 Stretches Your Tight Hips Are Begging For

8 Stretches Your Tight Hips Are Begging For

Tight hips seem to be a common problem for almost everybody u2014 from runners to cyclists, from deskbound bloggers to dancers. Give this area a little extra love with this sequence of eight hip-opening stretches to increase your flexibility, reduce discomfort, and prevent injury. Try the series in the order listed here, or pick your favorites to incorporate into your workout routine.

Related:

5 Easy Hamstring Stretches

All the Stretches You Need to Know in One Place

The Stretches Your Lower Back Craves

| Happy Baby

This calming hip opener also stretches your lower back.

  • Begin lying flat on your back. Bend both knees, and hold the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands. Keep your arms on the outsides of your legs.
  • Gently use your upper-body strength to equally press both knees to the floor below your armpits. Try not to tense your shoulders or chest, but keep everything relaxed.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths.

| Extended Wide Squat

This relaxing stretch targets both hips at once while opening up your lower back.

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Bend your knees, and lower your hips down toward the ground. If your heels don’t touch the ground, roll up a towel or the back of your mat, and place it under your heels for support.
  • Bring your palms together at your heart center, and firmly press your elbows against the inside of your knees. This will help to open your hips even further.
  • After five breaths, release the hands to the floor and walk them away from your feet to increase the stretch in the hips and lower back. Hold for another five breaths.

| Open Lizard

The hip flexors, the muscles at the front of the hip, can become extremely tight just from sitting. This intense stretch targets that area as well as the outer hips.

  • Come into a lunge position with your right knee forward. Lower your left knee to the floor, and rest your hands on the ground under your shoulders.
  • Slowly lower your right knee to the right so you’re resting on the outside of your right flexed foot. Keep your arms straight, pressing your chest forward to increase the stretch.
  • Hold like this for five breaths, and then repeat on the left side.

| Wide-Legged Split

To stretch your hips, hamstrings, and inner thighs, do a Wide-Legged Split.

  • From Wide Squat, place your hands on the floor in front of you and inch your feet apart, making sure to keep your heels wider than your toes. Keep the soles of your feet flat on the ground at all times to protect your knees.
  • As your hips get lower, you can prop yourself up with your forearms, and then move down to your shoulders (as shown). If your shoulders are on the ground, turn your head to the side, and rest your cheek on the ground so you don’t bruise your chin.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths, then walk your feet back together. If this pose is a bit more stretch than you can muster, try the seated straddle stretch.

| Butterfly

Stretch both hips at the same time with Butterfly pose.

  • Sit on the ground, bend both knees, and bring your feet together. Using your hands, open your feet up like a book. Use your leg muscles to press your knees down toward the floor.
  • Lengthen your spine, drawing your belly button inward. Relax your shoulders, and gaze either in front of you or toward your feet. Stay here for five breaths, and then slowly fold forward, drawing your torso toward your legs. Remember to try to keep your spine straight.
  • Rest your hands on your feet, pressing your knees down with your arms, or if you want more of a stretch, extend your arms out in front of you. Stay here for another five breaths.

| Head to Knee

A popular stretch for runners, Head to Knee targets the hips and hamstrings while giving the back a nice stretch too.

  • Sit on the ground with your legs out in front of you. Bend your right knee, and pull the sole of your foot against your left inner thigh.
  • Sitting with a tall spine, reach both hands to your left foot, and stack your torso on top of your left thigh. If you can’t reach your hands to your foot, rest your hands on your shin or knee. Try not to round your back.
  • Stay here for at least five breaths, relaxing your shoulders away from your ears. Then do the other side.

| Pigeon

A basic yoga pose, Pigeon is one of the most effective hip openers because you can focus on one hip at a time.

  • Sit with your right knee bent and your left leg extended behind you. Pull the right heel in toward your left hip, or if your hips are more open, inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat. If it begins to open up toward the ceiling, draw your right foot back in toward your body.
  • Stay here with your hands resting on your right thigh or your hips, or walk your hands out in front of you, allowing your torso to rest over your right knee. Hold here, breathing into any areas of tightness and tension for at least five breaths.
  • Repeat this pose with the left knee bent.

| Double Pigeon

Double Pigeon offers a very intense stretch for your deep glutes.

  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your left knee, and place your knee, shin, and foot on the floor so they’re parallel with your pelvis. Bend your right knee, and place it on top so your knees, shins, and ankles are stacked. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you gaze down and see that your legs make a little triangle.
  • You may find your top knee to be high up toward the ceiling. It’s OK, it just means that your hips are tight, so just stay where you are and breathe.
  • To make this pose more intense, place your hands in front of your shins and walk them out as far as you can, folding your chest toward your legs.
  • Stay here for five breaths, slowly release, and then switch legs so your left knee is on top.

The Only Yoga Sequence Runners Need to Do

The Only Yoga Sequence Runners Need to Do

OK| OK! As a runner| you already know you should be stretching more| so I’m not even going to go there. I’m just going to present you with the most amazing Sun Salutation variation ever| which has been specifically designed with your runner body in mind. This sequence is full of hip openers| hamstring stretches| quad and glute toners| and lower back lengtheners; if you only do one thing today (besides go for a run)| make this it. Repeat this sequence at least twice before or after a run| and you’ll notice a difference.

Note that this sequence flows like regular Sun Salutations| moving from one pose to the next with each inhale and exhale. If you prefer| you can hold each of these poses for five breaths for an even longer and more intense yoga session.

| Down Dog

  • Come onto the hands and knees into the classic upside-down-V shape called Downward Facing Dog.
  • Take a complete breath here.

| Tip-Toe Three-Legged Dog

  • From Downward Dog| inhale to step the feet together so your big toes are touching| and raise your right leg into the air| rising up onto the left toes.

| Arching Three-Legged Dog

  • From Tip-Toe Three-Legged Dog| exhale to bend the right knee| as you lift your head up to look over your left shoulder| arching the spine.

| Warrior 2

  • From Arching Three-Legged Dog| inhale to step the right foot forward between the hands| rising up into Warrior 2 with the arms extended into T position| gazing passed the right fingers.

| Goddess Eagle

  • From Warrior 2| exhale to turn the left toes out| squatting deeply with the thighs parallel to the floor.
  • Cross the right arm over the left and bring the palms together.

| Warrior 2

  • From Goddess Eagle| take a breath in and turn the right toes in| lowering into Warrior 2 on the left side| gazing passed the left fingertips.

| Side Lunge

  • From Warrior 2| bring the palms together and exhale as you bend the left knee deeply| lowering the hips into a Side Lunge with the right heel flexed.

| Side Lunge

  • From Side Lunge on the left| inhale to shift your weight| bending the right knee into Side lunge.

| Low Crescent Lunge

  • From Side Lunge| exhale to plant the palms on the front of the mat| lowering the left knee.
  • Inhale to raise the arms up| sinking the pelvis toward the floor to intensify the stretch in the hips.

| Lifted Head to Knee

  • From Low Crescent Lunge| exhale to shift your weight back| straightening the right leg and folding forward with both feet flexed.

| Side Lunge

  • From Lifted Head to Knee| inhale to shift your weight forward| turning to the left| coming back into the Side Lunge on the right side with the palms pressed together.

| Side Lunge

  • From Side Lunge on the right| exhale to shift your weight| coming into the Side Lunge on the left.

| Low Crescent Lunge

  • From Side Lunge| inhale to turn to the back of your mat| lowering the right knee and lifting the arms up.

| Lifted Head to Knee

  • From Low Crescent Lunge| exhale to shift your weight back| straightening the left leg and folding forward with both feet flexed.

| Side Lunge

  • From Lifted Head to Knee| inhale to shift your weight forward| turning to the right| coming back into the Side Lunge on the left side with the palms pressed together.

| Side Lunge

  • From Side Lunge on the left| exhale to shift your weight| coming into the Side Lunge on the right.

| Plank

  • From Side Lunge| inhale to turn toward the front of your mat| planting the palms and extending the legs behind you.

| Four-Limbed Staff

  • From Plank| exhale to bend the elbows behind you| lowering the body in one straight line.

| Up Dog

  • From Four-Limbed Staff| inhale to scoop the chest forward| rolling onto the tops of the feet.

| Four-Limbed Staff

  • From Up Dog (and this is tough!)| exhale to roll back onto the balls of the feet| bending the elbows behind you| hovering over the floor.

| Plank

  • From Four-Limbed Staff| inhale to straight the arms.

| Down Dog

  • From Plank| exhale to lift the hips up| pressing the heels back| resting on the hands and feet with the legs and arms straight.
  • Hold here for five breaths then repeat this sequence with the left leg leading.

This is the Best Hip Stretch Ever

Tight hips and a tight lower back are common complaints among runners and bikers, so here’s a relaxing stretch that will stretch both. It’s similar to Half Happy Baby, but with this variation, both knees are bent at the same time.

Sanskrit Name: Ananda BalasanaEnglish Translation: Happy Baby PoseAlso Called: Dead Bug
Begin lying flat on your back.Bend both knees and hold onto the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands. Keep your arms on the outsides of your legs.Gently use your upper body strength to equally press both knees to the floor below your armpits. Try not to tense your shoulders or chest, but keep everything relaxed. Stay like this for five deep breaths. To release, let go of your feet and straighten your legs to the floor.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Louisa Larson

This is the Best Hip Stretch Ever

Tight hips and a tight lower back are common complaints among runners and bikers| so here’s a relaxing stretch that will stretch both. It’s similar to Half Happy Baby| but with this variation| both knees are bent at the same time.

Sanskrit Name: Ananda BalasanaEnglish Translation: Happy Baby PoseAlso Called: Dead Bug
Begin lying flat on your back.Bend both knees and hold onto the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands. Keep your arms on the outsides of your legs.Gently use your upper body strength to equally press both knees to the floor below your armpits. Try not to tense your shoulders or chest| but keep everything relaxed. Stay like this for five deep breaths. To release| let go of your feet and straighten your legs to the floor.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Louisa Larson

An Easy Way to Ease Tight Hips

When your lower back is sore from running or sitting all day, here’s a relaxing stretch to target that area and open the hips.

Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you.Bend your knees so they are slightly wider than your shoulders. Plant your feet slightly wider than your knees, with your toes pointing out to the sides. Lower your torso in between your knees, and place your hands on the floor. If you’re more flexible, place your forearms on the floor. Relax your shoulders away from your ears, and try not to let your feet slip away from your body. Stay here for 30 seconds, and then sit up to release. Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

An Easy Way to Ease Tight Hips

When your lower back is sore from running or sitting all day| here’s a relaxing stretch to target that area and open the hips.

Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you.Bend your knees so they are slightly wider than your shoulders. Plant your feet slightly wider than your knees| with your toes pointing out to the sides. Lower your torso in between your knees| and place your hands on the floor. If you’re more flexible| place your forearms on the floor. Relax your shoulders away from your ears| and try not to let your feet slip away from your body. Stay here for 30 seconds| and then sit up to release. Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

4 Poses, 4 Minutes, and Your Hips and Back Will Thank You

If you have the ever-popular office job that involves sitting at a desk for eight hours a day, it can wreak havoc on your precious body, creating tight hips and lower back pain. Many stretches for your hips also stretch out your lower back, so these poses are like two for the price of one. It will only take about four minutes, but that’s all you’ll need to ease tension.

Butterfly

Sit on the floor, bend both knees, and bring your feet together. Using your hands, open your feet up like a book, pressing your knees toward the floor with your elbows. If you want more of a stretch, extend your arms out in front of you.Stay here for five breaths (about 30 seconds).Half Happy Baby

Lie flat on your back. Bend the left knee and hold onto the outside edge of your flexed foot with your left hand. Keep your left arm on the outside of your leg.Gently use your upper body strength to press the left knee to the floor below your armpit. Try not to tense your shoulder or chest, but keep everything relaxed. Stay like this for five deep breaths, and then switch legs.Then do both legs together for another five breaths. Pigeon

Sit with your right knee bent and your left leg extended straight behind you. If your hips are flexible, inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat. If it begins to open up toward the ceiling, draw your right foot back in toward your body.Rest your hands on your hips or walk your hands out in front of you, allowing your torso to rest over your right knee.Hold here for five breaths, and then repeat Pigeon on the left side.Double Pigeon

Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee and place your knee, shin, and foot on the floor so they’re parallel with your pelvis. Bend your left knee and place it on top so your knees, shins, and ankles are stacked. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you gaze down and see that your legs make a little triangle.To make this pose more intense, place your hands in front of your shins and walk them out as far as you can, folding your chest toward your legs.Stay here for five breaths, slowly release, and then switch legs so your right knee is on top.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Louisa Larson

4 Poses, 4 Minutes, and Your Hips and Back Will Thank You

If you have the ever-popular office job that involves sitting at a desk for eight hours a day| it can wreak havoc on your precious body| creating tight hips and lower back pain. Many stretches for your hips also stretch out your lower back| so these poses are like two for the price of one. It will only take about four minutes| but that’s all you’ll need to ease tension.

Butterfly

Sit on the floor| bend both knees| and bring your feet together. Using your hands| open your feet up like a book| pressing your knees toward the floor with your elbows. If you want more of a stretch| extend your arms out in front of you.Stay here for five breaths (about 30 seconds).Half Happy Baby

Lie flat on your back. Bend the left knee and hold onto the outside edge of your flexed foot with your left hand. Keep your left arm on the outside of your leg.Gently use your upper body strength to press the left knee to the floor below your armpit. Try not to tense your shoulder or chest| but keep everything relaxed. Stay like this for five deep breaths| and then switch legs.Then do both legs together for another five breaths. Pigeon

Sit with your right knee bent and your left leg extended straight behind you. If your hips are flexible| inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat. If it begins to open up toward the ceiling| draw your right foot back in toward your body.Rest your hands on your hips or walk your hands out in front of you| allowing your torso to rest over your right knee.Hold here for five breaths| and then repeat Pigeon on the left side.Double Pigeon

Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee and place your knee| shin| and foot on the floor so they’re parallel with your pelvis. Bend your left knee and place it on top so your knees| shins| and ankles are stacked. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you gaze down and see that your legs make a little triangle.To make this pose more intense| place your hands in front of your shins and walk them out as far as you can| folding your chest toward your legs.Stay here for five breaths| slowly release| and then switch legs so your right knee is on top.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Louisa Larson

Always Wanted to Be Able to Do Lotus Pose? This Will Get You There

Lotus = yoga, right? This is such an iconic pose, but it’s also one of the hardest! If you wonder how people can sit so calmly meditating with their legs tied in a pretzel, here are some tricks for opening up your hips so you too can do Lotus with ease (well, without pain, anyway).

Sanskrit Name: PadmasanaEnglish Translation: LotusAlso Called: Pretzel
Begin sitting on your mat and come into Butterfly with the soles of the feet together. Stay here for five breaths.If you need a little more help opening the hips, do Double Pigeon, stacking your shins with your left knee on top of the right ankle. Hold here for another five.Pull the left heel all the way into the right hip (or as close to your hip as you can) and extend your right leg on the floor in front of you. Fold forward over your right leg in Half Lotus for five breaths.Sit up and bend your right knee, and if you can, use your hands to pull the right heel into your left hip, coming into Lotus. If that’s not happening, just tuck your right foot under your left thigh.Touch your thumb and index finger together, and extend your other three fingers down toward the floor. Tuck your chin in slightly toward your chest and gaze softly at your nose.Use your abdominal muscles to keep the spine strong and tall. Relax your shoulders away from your ears, and concentrate on breathing for 10 deep breaths.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Louisa Larson

Always Wanted to Be Able to Do Lotus Pose? This Will Get You There

Lotus = yoga| right? This is such an iconic pose| but it’s also one of the hardest! If you wonder how people can sit so calmly meditating with their legs tied in a pretzel| here are some tricks for opening up your hips so you too can do Lotus with ease (well| without pain| anyway).

Sanskrit Name: PadmasanaEnglish Translation: LotusAlso Called: Pretzel
Begin sitting on your mat and come into Butterfly with the soles of the feet together. Stay here for five breaths.If you need a little more help opening the hips| do Double Pigeon| stacking your shins with your left knee on top of the right ankle. Hold here for another five.Pull the left heel all the way into the right hip (or as close to your hip as you can) and extend your right leg on the floor in front of you. Fold forward over your right leg in Half Lotus for five breaths.Sit up and bend your right knee| and if you can| use your hands to pull the right heel into your left hip| coming into Lotus. If that’s not happening| just tuck your right foot under your left thigh.Touch your thumb and index finger together| and extend your other three fingers down toward the floor. Tuck your chin in slightly toward your chest and gaze softly at your nose.Use your abdominal muscles to keep the spine strong and tall. Relax your shoulders away from your ears| and concentrate on breathing for 10 deep breaths.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Louisa Larson