5 Stretches for Tight Hips
by Samantha Coogan, MS, RDN, LD
We all hate stretching. It increases our workout time, and honestly, sometimes it just hurts. However, stretching is crucial to help prevent injury and to increase your flexibility/mobility, which is linked to longevity. So if today is your heavy squat day (don’t skip leg day!), try out these stretches to help give you the depth you should be striving for in your squat sessions.
1. The Lizard
With one knee bent at a 90-degree angle, foot firmly planted on the floor, extend your other leg back behind as straight as possible, and as deep as possible (think of pushing your hips into the floor). Hold for about 30 seconds each side, and don’t be afraid to move your hips around to really dig into this stretch.
2. The Playful Baby
Starting on your back, bring both legs back and hold each foot in your hand, just as a flexible baby does. You control how deep this stretch goes by how firmly you pull your feet towards you. You can even rock a little bit on your back as well to loosen your hips up. Hold for about 30 seconds.
3. The Russian Baby Maker (or Wide Squat)
This one does require a bit of flexibility. Crouch down into a nice, deep squat position. Now take your hands, and turn the tops of your hands inward and place on the center of each foot. Your elbows should be on the insides of your knees. Now in this position, push against your knees with your elbows for a nice, deep lateral stretch of the hips. Hold for about 10 second spurts (these are tough in one hold).
4. The Butterfly or Frog
Sitting on your bottom, bring your feet together in a butterfly or frog position. If you are more flexible, pull your feet closer to your body. Bend at the hip forwards and side to side to get the most out of this stretch. You should feel it especially in the groin area. Hold for about 30-45 seconds.
5. The Spider-Man
Also known as a Cossack Lunge, start standing in a sumo stance, bend at the knee on one side laterally (to the left or right) with the other leg straight. Pull yourself all the way down until you are in the classic Spider-Man position (you should be on the heel of the foot of you straight leg). Hold for 20-30 seconds then switch to the other side.