Tight hips and tight hamstrings are all too common, and can be all too painful or uncomfortable, too. There are lots of stretches and exercises out there that can help you loosen up your hips and hamstrings, but where to start?
Here is a short list of some great stretches to loosen tight hips and hamstrings, and feel better in your body.
1. Butterfly Stretch
We have all done this stretch in some form or another. Children often sit like this on the ground, or if you ever took a dance class it was part of your warm up. Sit on the ground with your feet pressed together, knees out. When ready, use your hands to put some pressure on your knees to get them closer to the ground, and move your groin forward. Stop when you feel the stretch, and hold the position.
2. Kneeling Lunge
First, get down on one knee, the beginning of the lunge position. To do the stretch, straight out your back leg somewhat until you can feel the stretch. Keep your hips forward and back straight for the maximum stretch potential. If you feel this is not enough stretch for you, try lifting your back knee off the ground for a more intense stretch.
3. Crescent Lunge Knee-Up
Another lunge variation, but this one involves more motion and a larger range. You begin in a high lunge, where neither knee is touching the ground and the back leg is mostly straightened. Your forward leg should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Keeps your hips and toes facing forward. Lift your arms high above your head, and move into a standing position, pulling the rear knee towards your chest. Then return to the starting position, repeat 10 times, then do the opposite leg.
4. Traveling Butterfly
This is another âdynamicâ stretch with some motion involved. Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Place your hands at your sides, palms flat on the floor. Use your hands and arms to push your hips forward towards your feet. Keep your feet in the same spot, only rotating them as your hips come forward until you end up in the butterfly position with your arms stretched behind you. Return to the starting position and repeat.
5. Standing Hamstring Stretch
This particular stretch can be used to loosen both hamstrings at once. Stand up tall, and cross your right foot over your left. Slowly bend at the waist, lowering your forehead towards your right knee. Keeps your knees straight, but do not lock them. When you have gone as low as you can and you feel the stretch, hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Slowly rise again and repeat, with the left foot crossed over the right.
6. Figure Four
Lie flat on the ground with your feet on the floor, and bend your knees. Cross the right ankle over the left knee so your ankle rests on the knee, creating a â4â shape. Pull your left knee towards your chest until your feel the stretch, then hold the position. Repeat for the opposite leg.
For more stretches and tips on how to loosen your hips and hamstrings, see this article.