When it comes to stretching I like to think critically about the actions of the joint in question and what big (or little) muscles are playing vital roles in those actions. When we talk about the hip here are my 4 favourite hip stretches. They all target different musculature and actions of the hip while encompassing much of the hips function.
The Couch Stretch:
The Couch Stretch this stretch is great for accessing the front of the hips. You can get a nice stretch on both the hip flexors and the quads. Changing the torso angle can make this a little more or less intense. This one can also be performed nicely on a couch, as the name suggests.
The Dancer Stretch:
The Dancer works the groin and medial hamstrings. The groin, or adductors, are frequently an afterthought when it comes to hip function, but plays a vital role in both hip flexion and extension and can have big impacts on hip and low back dysfunction. You can also add a level to this groin stretch by biasing to one side or the other which targets an individual side more and ads and upper body component to the stretch.
The Pigeon Stretch:
The pigeon stretch is actually taken from a yoga pose of the same name. This stretch should be felt in the gluteal groups or the back side of the hip. We can scale the one to a raised surface such as a plyo box to make sure we don’t put stress on the knee. If squatting is a big part of your life, which it should be, this is a good one for you. You can also bias different parts of the glutes by shifting your torso angle slightly.
The Standing Hamstring Stretch:
The standing hamstring stretch has a couple different uses, it possibly could be better called the Posterior Chain Stretch. Depending on how tight you are in certain places this stretch could also be felt in the glutes or calves, as well as the hamstring. Make sure you stand up nice and tall and also think about pulling your toes up as well.
Remember, one of the nice things about stretching is that if you feel a stretch, you are in fact getting a stretch. Stretching should be nice a gentle which is why I have provided some variations. Settle into the stretch and don’t forget to breathe. The best times to stretch is after activity, to promote recovery, or throughout the day intermittently in order to promote healthy function. Thanks for reading.
Andrew Lefler RMT