In today’s world, tight hip muscles are just a part of life. Between walking, sitting throughout the day and working out, our hips get a lot of use, so it’s imperative to give them proper care. If neglected, tight hips can lead to back pain, muscular imbalances and can also cause injuries like pulled muscles or torn ligaments. Stretching is so important for many reasons, so check out our other article detailing how to stretch to improve posture.
This article is your one-stop shop to mastering hip flexibility and reducing hip pain, from the whys to the how-tos!
The best yoga poses to reduce hip pain
Before you dive into stretching, there’s some strategy you need to know about first. There are three major types of hip stretches, and it’s important to always incorporate one of each: groin, hip flexor and outer hip. These three categories will allow you to stretch in multiple ranges of motion, ensuring your body is balanced.
As you move throughout the day, take note of which movements are the most stiff. This will help you figure out which areas need the most work. Pro tip: Always start your stretch routine with your most stiff side, as it’s natural to spend more time on your first side than second!
Yoga poses to stretch and open up your hip flexors
The best yoga poses to stretch your hip flexors are the low lunge or lizard pose, wheel pose and progressive low lunge.
This stretch is great for those of you who sit at a desk all day. It’s also the best way to start all of your hip stretches since it activates the largest muscle in your hips.
- Start by putting one foot back into a regular lunge
- Make sure the front knee is directly over your ankle
- Extend both arms up
- Inhale and lean back lifting your hips and ribs up
- Return to a regular lunge and repeat five times
If you sit all day, this stretch is a must. Releasing your hip flexors will not only improve your posture, but it will also keep you from getting knee injuries. Pro tip: Move your hips in small alternating circles for a deeper stretch and to build mobility.
This pose is great for your hip flexors, and it also helps build flexibility in your spine and shoulders. Take deep breaths as you lift your hips and chest, and exhale to lower. Use this sequence if you’re a beginner, aiming to get your hips higher each time.
Yoga poses to open your hips
The best yoga poses to open up your outer hips are the figure four stretch, pigeon pose and recalling spinal twist.
If you’re currently experiencing lower-back pain, this stretch is for you. It will also help you bring balance to your back and hip muscles.
This stretch releases your external rotator muscles. If you’re a big barre or circuit class enthusiast, chances are your external rotators are your tightest hip muscles. Add this to your routine to get your range of motion back!
If your outer hips are super tight and pigeon pose is too difficult, this stretch is great to build up flexibility. Remember to breath in deep and exhale while pulling your hips into the stretch.
Yoga poses to stretch your groin
The best stretches to improve groin flexibility are the inner groin stretch, happy baby and reclining butterfly.
Groin stretches are often helpful for relieving stress and upper/lower-back pain. This stretch is a one-stop shop for this!
This stretch is great for beginners (those of you with super tight muscles), as you can ease into it by holding your ankles or calves.
This stretch is the holy grail of groin stretches! You can choose how intense you want it to be by sitting back into it, making it easy to scale back if you’re a beginner.