9. Lizard Pose
The hip, hamstring, quadriceps, and inner thigh muscles all have a tendency to tighten when we spend a long time sitting. Add life stress to that and we can become stiff and sore when changing positions. The lizard yoga pose hits all these spots to release tension and lengthen the muscles. You can adjust the depth of the stretch using foam blocks to support your arms.
- Resting on your right knee, walk your left foot forward, moving it away from your hips as you do so. Your left knee should be at the height of your shoulders and hands when you bend forward.
- Keep your left knee in line with your ankle and your hands in line with your shoulders.
- Breathe deeply and shift your right knee back to deepen the stretch.
- Hold for a few breaths and repeat on the other side.
10. Square Pose
Also known as the Double Pigeon, this is an advanced pose to target hip flexor muscles. You can vary the yoga position by placing a block or blanket under your crossover leg and/or foot for comfort while doing the stretch. Protect your knees from strain by keeping your feet flexed during the exercise.
- Sit cross-legged on your yoga mat and adjust your right shin so that it is parallel to the front of your mat. Keep your right foot flexed.
- Bring your left foot across to your right knee, resting it comfortably.
- Try to lower your left knee to your right foot. Use a blanket or yoga block under your left knee if needed. Breathe deeply to loosen your hips. Once loose, you can remove the block or blanket and try again or bend forward to deepen the stretch.
- Switch legs and repeat.
11. Frog Pose
If your knees or ankles are a problem, skip this one. Also known as the Horizontal Squat Stretch, the intense frog pose may feel a little funny but it’s marvelous for opening up tight hips and inner thighs. You may want to do it while the kids are asleep so they don’t make fun of you—or do it together as a family!
- Get down on all fours, with your palms on the floor and your knees on a yoga mat.
- Slowly widen your knees until you feel a comfortable stretch in your inner thighs, keeping the inside of each calf and foot in contact with the floor. Make sure to keep your ankles in line with your knees and flex your toes.
- Lower down to your forearms and keep your back straight. Look forward.
- Hold for 30 seconds. breathing deeply.
12. Kneeling Stretch With Raised Foot
Last of the hip flexor stretches, this one is commonly used by athletes. Pulling up the back foot in this stretch provides a deeper and more intense stretch for the hip flexors, including the quadriceps.
- Start in a kneeling lunge position, with your right knee in front of you, in line with your ankles and hips. Your left knee should be in line with your back and hips, with the left shin on the ground behind you.
- Reach straight back and grab your left foot using both hands, driving your heel towards your left butt cheek.
- Keep you back straight, with your core and glutes engaged and hold for a few breaths.
- Repeat with the other leg.
Given the range of ease of these stretches for your hip flexors, you can gradually start to loosen, lengthen, and strengthen all the pelvic and lower back muscles to counter the strain of long periods of sitting. You’ll feel the difference these muscle stretches make after just a few days, with improved mobility, less strain, and a greater range of motion.
You don’t need any special equipment or to go to a gym to do these hip flexor exercises, just get out your yoga mat and do them at home. It’s always a good idea to warm up your muscles for at least five minutes before stretching to avoid a pull or tear.