Stiff hips are a problem for many people, including dancers, cyclists, stay-at-home moms, and runners. Some people may also suffer from stiff hips that are due to injury or diseases, and it is very important for these people to participate in carefully-selected stretches that can help open up the hip joints and encourage greater flexibility and range of motion. Here are a few of the best and most effective stretches for those who suffer from stiff hips.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
One of the most popular and effective hip stretches is the kneeling hip flexor stretch. This stretch is easy to do, even for beginners. To complete this stretch, simply follow these steps:
- Kneel down with your toes flat on the ground and your spine straight
- Bend your left knee forward and place your left foot flat on the floor directly in front of your body with your left knee aligned with the left ankle
- Place both of your hands on your bent left knee for support
- Press your hips forward until you feel slight muscle tension in the front of the right thigh
- Raise your arms above your head with the palms facing each other and start to arch your back slightly without lifting your chin
- Hold the stretch for 15 – 30 seconds, then repeat the stretch on the other side of the body
When you first perform this stretch you may feel tightness in the hip area before you even push your hips forward, but as you regularly complete the stretch you will increase in hip flexibility over time.
Front to Back Hip Swing
If you prefer to stretch your hips while lying on the floor, you will love the front to back hip swing stretch. This stretch allows you to effectively stretch your hip muscles from the comfort of the floor and can be completed in the following steps:
- Lie down on the left side of your body with your hips stacked straight up and down
- Prop the upper part of your body up with your left elbow
- Once stabilized, slowly raise your right leg to hip height with the toe pointed
- Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in tight and sweep your right leg forward without moving your upper body or hips
- Sweep your right leg behind you while squeezing your buttocks and keeping your body steady
This exercise helps to strengthen and stretch the muscles that stabilize the hip.
Standing Hip Flexor
For a standing version of the seated hip flexor stretch, simply follow these easy steps:
- Place a resistance band around your right foot and turn your body away from the band’s anchor
- Stand up straight, pull in your abdominal muscles, and lift your straight right leg forward for two counts, then release it for two counts
- Repeat the movement on the left leg
Regardless of the reason for your stiff hips, it is important to regularly stretch out the muscles in the area in order to increase flexibility and mobility. Without a regular stretching routine, your hips may become even more stiff and restrictive over time and could lead to needing hip surgery in the future.
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