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11 stretches and exercises to loosen tight hips



Created for Greatist by Healthline experts. Continue reading

Hips don’t lie, but that’s not their only great quality. Your hips will help you walk, run, and dance! However, if you ask too much or too little of them, they can become tight or weak, which can lead to pain and physical limitations.

How do you whip your hips in top shape? We have summarized some of the best exercises for strengthening and opening your hips.

Hip openers rock because they can prevent hip problems and help fix them.

The problem: Tight or weak hip muscles can mean you have less range of motion, less stability, poor posture, or pain.

A solution: Stretch and strengthen your hip muscles with hip opening exercises.

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Exercises and stretches to open your hips can help you become a stronger, more flexible badass! But the perks don̵

7;t stop there. Making hip openers also has other advantages, such as:

  • Improve your body alignment and balance
  • Increase your blood flow
  • Reduce your risk of injury
  • Increase your mobility
  • Development of your muscle tone and your efficiency
  • Relieve pain in the hips and back
  • Refraining from or supplementing more invasive therapies (such as drying needles)

If you have pain or discomfort, you want relief as soon as possible. Even if you are only looking to become a human pretzel, you should let these hip openers count. Here are some tips to get the most out of your stretching.

Get started with the program

  • Set goals. Set realistic goals and milestones. Track your progress regularly and adjust your training plan as needed to achieve your goals.
  • Start small. Do not exaggerate. Start gradually and slowly add more time, repetitions, or sets of exercises as you gain flexibility and strength.
  • Experiment and have fun! Try different techniques to see what your body responds to. You are more likely to stick to your newly discovered routine when you are having fun.

Put it on the mat

  • Warm up. Prepare the surrounding muscles before placing high demands on your hips. When you warm them up, your circulation pumps. It can also help ensure a safer and more effective workout.
  • Pay attention to the alignment. To be most effective and minimize the risk of injury, make sure your body is in the right position with every exercise.
  • Change as needed. Listen to your body. Feel free to leave out openers that don’t do it for you. Use props such as yoga blocks and straps, a chair or pillow to make the exercises more accessible or safer. You can even add weights or resistance bands for an additional challenge.

Okay, now put the gear in and open your hips!

1. Basic lunge

There are countless lunge variations (low, runner, side angle, lizard), but a simple lunge is a great place to start.

Try it:

  1. While standing, step forward with your left foot and plant your left heel forward as far as you think it is comfortable.
  2. Bend your left knee so that it is directly above your left ankle (a 90 degree angle).
  3. Activate the thighs and glutes as you settle into the pose.
  4. Hold this position (no fooling around!) For 5-10 breaths.
  5. Push through the left heel to return to standing. Turn on and run on the opposite side.

2nd Scorpio dog

This stretch, popular in yoga, opens your hips (and a few more!) As you train your arms and abs.

Try it:

  1. With a dog facing down, stretch out and lift your left leg so that you have a straight line from head to toe.
  2. Bend your left knee so that it forms a 90 degree angle.
  3. Put your foot in the air (point or bend).
  4. Carefully turn the left hip outwards.
  5. Hold this posture for 5-10 breaths to maintain proper upper body alignment. Turn on and run on the opposite side.

3rd Dove

Pigeon is a route with many variations. So you can always modify it to work for you.

Try it:

  1. Pull your left knee from a table or plank position to hit your left hand (or as close as possible).
  2. Rotate your left leg so that the pad of your left foot is facing your right hand. Ideally, your leg should run parallel to the top of your mat. (If you’re not here yet, don’t force it!)
  3. With your right leg outstretched, sink to the floor directly behind you. Keep your weight centered on the outside of your left leg and the top of your right leg.
  4. Use the toes of your right foot to position yourself, and then loosen them so that the top of your foot is on the floor.
  5. Your torso should be upright with a neutral spine.
  6. Stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes before switching sides.

4. Bound angle and forward fold

This opener and its variations, also known as Cobbler’s Pose or Butterfly, are great for undoing the effects of sitting in a chair all day long (someone a lot?).

Try it:

  1. Sit on the floor and move the meat away from your sit bones.
  2. Bring the soles of your feet together.
  3. Close your feet with your hands.
  4. Bend forward from the waist and keep your back straight for 5-10 breaths.

5. 3-way leg extension

A strap helps you achieve a deeper stretch, but this opener is absolutely doable with your arm in freestyle. Remember not to lock or overstretch your knee.

Try it:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and your feet bent.
  2. Place the strap around the arch of your right foot.
  3. Hold the belt with both hands and lift your right leg up.
  4. Pull your right leg towards your chest. (Both butt cheeks should remain on the mat and your left leg should remain engaged.) Hold 5 slow breaths.
  5. Grasp both ends of the strap with your right hand.
  6. Pull your right leg to the side and to the bottom right on the floor. (Hold your hips on the mat. Your left arm may be in a T or cactus position.) Hold for 5 slow breaths.
  7. Bring your right leg back in the middle and switch the strap to your left hand.
  8. Pull your right leg down over your body to the floor on your left. (Your right arm may be in a T or cactus position.) Hold 5 slow breaths.
  9. Repeat the trio on your left leg.

6. Leg pendulum

This simple but sweet dynamic stretch loosens your muscles and keeps your hip joint lubricated.

Try it:

  1. Stand with your feet apart.
  2. Shift your weight to your right foot.
  3. Keep your left leg straight and activated and lift it off the floor.
  4. Sweep your left leg from side to side several times and then front to back several times.
  5. Repeat with your right leg.

7. Hold high-knee psoas

Your psoas is a core muscle that you can use to flex and lift your hip joint. This muscle is in motion every time you walk or run.

Try it:

  1. Stand up and shift your weight to your right foot.
  2. Keep your hips straight, bend and raise your left knee so that it is above your waist.
  3. Press and hold this button for about 30 seconds, then lower your left foot to the floor. Do 1-3 sentences.
  4. Repeat with your right leg.

8. Squat and lift

If you didn’t know Squat before, you will soon. Your hips will spin with joy after this composite exercise!

Try it:

  1. Stand with your feet a little more than hip width apart.
  2. With your weight in your heels, let your butt drop down and back onto the floor as if you were sitting in a chair. Keep your knees behind your toes and your head and chest high.
  3. Squeeze through your heels and squeeze your glutes to stand again.
  4. When you stretch your legs, shift your weight to your right foot and raise your left leg to a 45 degree angle. Keep your foot bent and your upper body upright.
  5. Stop for a breath, then tighten your thighs and glutes as you lower your left leg.
  6. Repeat the squat on the other side. Do 20 squats, 10 side lifts per leg.

9. One-leg deadlifts

No loaded dumbbells for this one! (However, you can add a few weights for an additional challenge.) With only one leg at a time, you can really focus on your balance and target muscle groups.

Try it:

  1. Lift your left foot slightly off the ground from a standing position.
  2. Slowly hinge at the waist and bend your right knee slightly while lifting your left leg behind you to keep your balance.
  3. Bend your foot in the air and keep your hips on the floor. (You don’t want your left hip to be higher than your right, or your body to open to the left.)
  4. Engage your thighs and glutes and take a short break.
  5. Reverse the movement to stop again.
  6. Do 3 sets of 10 reps on both legs.

10. Dog and pony

This hydrant / donkey kick love kid offers compound movement and lots of bang for your hip opening trestle.

Try it:

  1. Start in table position.
  2. Dog: Lift your left leg to the side and keep the 90 degree angle in your knee. (Your thigh should be parallel to the top of your mat, with the inside of your leg facing the mat.) Keep your foot bent.
  3. Bring your left leg back to the starting position, but don’t put your weight on the mat. Instead, drive straight into the pony.
  4. Bangs: Bring your left foot back and up, like a horse kicking. Activate your glutes during this movement. Imagine your bent foot knocking on the ceiling.
  5. Squeeze your glutes as you bring your left leg back onto the floor.
  6. 1 dog + pony = 1 repetition. Do 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg.

11. Leg lift for abductor and adductor

Here’s another dynamic duo that will help you achieve Shakira status.

Try it:

  1. Lie on your right side with your legs straight and stacked.
  2. Abduction lift: With your foot bent and your leg straight, raise your left leg as high as possible. Stop for a few punches. Lower your leg 90 percent down. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
  3. Adductor lift: place your left foot on the floor in front of your right leg. Raise your right leg as high as possible with your foot bent and your leg straight. Lower your leg and pulse it up again. Do 3 sets of 15 pulses.
  4. Turn around and repeat the sequence with your right leg.

Your hips are a strong system of bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles. Hip muscles allow the movement of the thigh and contribute to the stability of the body.

Tight or weak hips can cause pain and limited mobility, but there are many hips stretches and exercises that can improve your hip strength and flexibility.


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