Updated: Oct 19, 2021
We all struggle with tight hips, whether that is from a lifestyle dominated by sitting for long periods of time or from a heavy day or week in the gym.
When doing the movements below, you can implement tools such as contract - relax ( building tension actively in the whole body or specific area for 5-10 seconds then relaxing with the intention of finding more space for 10-30 seconds repetitively) along with breath work (focus on nasal breathing and use your exhales to find more space activating a parasympathetic response).
We always want to have some form of intention when stretching, it's not as simple as putting yourself in a position and waiting for the magic to happen. There are four types of flexibility including, Active dynamic, active static, passive dynamic and passive static. Active means we are using strength or muscle contraction to be in a position or whilst moving, where as passive means we are not using strength or contraction to be in a position. These movements below primarily focus on static active & static passive but you will also find dynamic active work here too. Dynamic means there is movement at the joint or joints and static means there is not. Take my coaching points in to consideration so you can get the most from each hip opener.
1️⃣ Saddle Stretch
Use a support such as a med ball. Tuck your bum under and press your hips up. Over time you can work your body closer to the ground but you must maintain an active posterior chain. A great way to open up the hips into extension and release tight quads.
2️⃣ Active Kneeling Lunge & Lizard lunge
Start in a half-kneeling lunge position. Tuck your bum under and press your hip forward at the same time as pulling your front heel back towards you (without it moving). You can stay here or work your way down into a deep lizard lunge with or without the back knee on the floor. Blocks can be a great assist here if you cannot reach the floor or want to bridge the gap from hands to forearms down inside the leg.
3️⃣ Elevated Pancake
First, you must learn to hip hinge. You can practice this standing in a wide leg position, then move to a box, a Yoga and finally the floor (Do not rush this process). Spend a couple of minutes in this wide leg position aiming to find some range. Contract the quads to help the hamstrings relax more and use your hip flexor strength to pull yourself in to it. Once you have done so, move in and out with some good mornings, aiming for around 3 sets of 10-20 reps and a 3-5 second pause in the end range of each rep.
4️⃣ Frog & Single-Leg Frog Stretch