There is nothing that feels better than a hip-opening stretch. Most of us have tight hips due to sitting too long at work or hitting it hard in spin class. Hip pain is a very common and frustrating complaint. But by stretching your hips with these seven moves, you can get your body back in alignment, and improve your mobility and each one feels SO good.
The truth is, everything in your body is connected, and to alleviate hip pain, you’ll want to work not only the hip flexors themselves but the surrounding muscles that support them.
What Are The Benefits Of Hip-Opening Stretches?
You will experience many benefits from the hip stretches below.
One is improved range of motion and circulation. When your hips feel tight, it can cause overuse of the spine, resulting in pain in your lower back. By adding hip stretches, you will be supporting the muscles in the back and spine.
Because many of these hip-opening stretches are yoga poses, the benefits also extend past the physical. They can also offer you a sense of release and calm.
When you take the time to open the hips, you give space for an energetic shift and release. In traditional yoga, the hips are known as a storage space for negativity, pent-up emotions, and stress. Hip stretches allow us to free the body from any of this negativity.
So as you’re doing these stretches, make sure that you sink into the sensation and feel the release in your hips and a release in emotion.
Best Hip-Opening Stretches
These stretches focus on strengthening and stretching your hips, glutes, and yes—that sneaky psoas muscle—so you can be pain-free and mobile once again.
From yoga poses to resistance band moves, these seven moves will relieve tight hips and help you get back to the workouts and everyday activities you enjoy. Practice these exercises 2-3 times per week or as needed to relieve tight hips.*
*Web MD recommends that you see a doctor if your hip pain results in sudden swelling or the inability to move or bear weight on the affected leg.
1. Bridge Pose
Bridge pose is a great exercise to open the hips.
- Lie on the floor on your back, with your knees bent and arms on your side.
- Slowly raise your glutes off the floor until your body is straight from your knees to your shoulders.
- Hold the pose for 8 to 10 seconds, then slowly lower to starting position.
2. Leg Lifts
This exercise will wake up your glutes and legs and help strengthen your hips.
- Start on all fours with the right leg extended long on the mat.
- Squeeze right glute and hamstring to lift right leg up towards the ceiling. Slowly lower and repeat for the desired number of reps. Make sure to keep your abs tight and back straight.
3. Pigeon Pose
Pigeon pose is one of the best exercises to open hips there—this traditional yoga pose feels restorative too.
- Begin in plank position. Tighten your abdominals and pull your right knee toward your right hand, placing your right foot as close to your left hand as you can.
- Keep your back leg long and hips even as you relax your weight through the middle of your hips.
- Slowly begin to lower your chest over your front shin, relaxing your forehead on the mat and arms stretched overhead.
- Breathe and hold for 30 seconds. Slowly lift your chest up, step back into the plank and switch sides.
Happy baby is a great way to stretch out your spine, legs, and hips simultaneously.
- Begin lying on your back and grab your big toes with your index and middle fingers.
- Gently draw toes down, so knees pull toward shoulders. Keep elbows gently pressing knees.
- Relax and breathe; hold for 30 seconds.
A resistance band can be a fantastic tool to help strengthen your hips. This move will stretch and strengthen the thighs and hips.
- Lay on your back with legs straight in the air above your hips
- Place the center of the band around the bottom of your feet and hold the handles together at your chest.
- Press the feet wide open until the legs are in a straddle position and the band is tight. Release slowly.
6. Butterfly Stretch
The butterfly stretch is a pose that encompasses the entire hip area and opens the inner thighs, back, and hip flexors. You can use it to open up the muscles before exercise, to stretch them after exercise, or as a stand-alone stretch to help with tight hips overall.
7. Yogi Squat
This pose opens the hips and inner thighs.
1) Begin on feet, crouched down with tailbone between ankles and hands in prayer at chest.
2) Continue to press hands firmly together while at the same time pressing elbows against inner thighs.
3) Hold and breathe for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
More Stretches To Try
What Causes Tight Hips?
Needing hip-opening stretches is common because hip tightness or pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Sitting for prolonged periods
- Injury to the hips
- Overuse by excessive running or exercise
- Constantly crossing your legs while you sit
- Tendonitis or bursitis of the hip
- Problems with your psoas muscle
How The Psoas Muscle Contributes To Hip Tightness
Your psoas (pronounced “so-as”) is essentially the deepest muscle in your core, responsible not just for hip rotation and extension but for virtually every movement you make, whether it’s walking, jogging, or just standing tall.
The psoas is thick, acting as the only muscle that connects the upper body to the lower body (the lumbar vertebrae to the femur).
If your psoas is weak, it can cause postural problems and hip pain or tightness. A weak psoas muscle causes the hips and quadriceps to work overtime, resulting in a chronic feeling of hip tightness and even back pain. It’s an often-overlooked cause of tight hips! Now that you know what may be causing your hip tightness, let’s do something about it, shall we?
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