1. Assisted Kneeling Stretch
This is a great beginner stretch, as you can support yourself with a solid object to ensure you get the correct form.
- Lay down your yoga mat flat on the floor and get into a half-kneeling position with your back leg being the one you are about to stretch.
- Hold a stick in front of you and actively push it down into the ground. This will engage your core and stretch all the right muscles.
- Keep your body upright and rotate your pelvis inward, squeezing your glutes.
- Then, keeping your muscles engaged and your body upright, lean forward at the hips for 2 deep breaths.
- Repeat 8-10 reps per leg.
2. Pigeon Stretch
Also known as pigeon pose, this is an advanced stretch for hip flexors. It is a difficult static stretch, so be careful not to over-do and cause injury.
- Start with your hands and knees on your yoga mat, bend your left knee and bring your left ankle to your right hand. Your knee should be aligned between your hands if possible.
- As you do so, slide your right leg straight back, keeping your hips in line with your wrists.
- Inhale, lift your chest to lengthen your spine.
- Hold for a few deep breaths and switch legs.
If you find this stretch difficult, don’t be afraid to look up local yoga instructors or a personal trainer to ensure proper form. Better safe than sorry!
3. Spider-Man Stretch
Be your own superhero with this sequence of stretches to relieve pain and discomfort!
- Start by sitting tall on your knees. Bring your right knee forward, bending at the hips. Your left knee and toes should be touching the floor.
- Step forward with your front foot and bring both hands to the ground beside it.
- Relax your back leg, bring your left knee to the ground.
- Hold for a few breaths as you drive your left hip towards the ground. Hold for a few breaths.
- Bring your right hand to the right of your right foot and shift your weight to sit on your left thigh. Your right leg should straighten out as you do so. Hold for a few breaths.
- Return to the main position and twist your chest towards your right knee. Hold for a few breaths.
- If you’d like, repeat the motion twisting away from your knee.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
4. Hip Flexor Mobilization
This stretch is low impact and you can control how much weight you put into it. Foam rollers are effective in aiding muscle stretches as they release and stretch the fascia (connective tissue) that cover the muscles. Using the roller, you can actually increase the range of motion of your whole hip.
- Press a foam roller into the crease of your hip as you lie down on your belly.
- Let your weight sink into the roller and roll back and forth to massage out your muscles.
- When you find a spot that’s tender, focus on it and apply even more pressure to help release the tightness and loosen your hip.