Hip Openers

Learn how the hurdler hamstring stretch is a good hip opener.
Try these stretches to take care of your quads, hamstrings, and hips all at the same time.

We sit, we travel, we march, we move, so most of us have over-muscled quads, underdeveloped hamstrings, and neglected hips. I’ve heard of too many people, athletes included, getting hip replacements in their golden years. Here are some hip openers to keep your joints healthy and lubricated!

Hurdler Hamstring Stretch

Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Bring your right leg in, foot flexed, and press your foot into your left thigh. Inhale your arms up overhead and fold over your left leg. Hold your foot if you can. If you can’t, relax your hands down on the floor by your knee. You should feel this stretch in your left hamstring and up and around the outside of your left hip. Breathe here for at least 30 to 60 seconds or more. The longer you stay in the position, the more your muscles will be able to relax into it. Repeat on the other side.

Quad Stretch

Stand on your left leg, take your right foot behind you into your hands, and pull your right foot in toward your glute. If you need help balancing, hold onto the back of a chair. Your knees should be close together and in line. Your right knee should not be in front of your left leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and breathe. Repeat on the other side.

Pigeon Pose

Learn about the pigeon pose to open up your hips.Start on your hands and knees, then bring your right foot to your left hand. Keep your right foot flexed to protect your knee. Try to keep your right shin in a straight line in front of your body. If this position is too intense, allow your right foot to come back in toward your groin. Lengthen your left leg back behind you. Release the top of your left foot to the floor. Walk your hands out in front of you and make a pillow with your hands. Rotate both hips to be square with the floor. Breathe here for at least 90 seconds.

To release the pose, walk your hands back toward your hips, lengthen through your spine, and release your legs.

Take a quick reset in a butterfly position to open the hips and allow the blood to flow back into the legs. Repeat on the other side.

Twisting Lunge

Learn about the twisting lunge to open up your hips.Go back into a standing position by pushing up from your knees. Move your right foot out in front of you into a lunge, allowing your hips to melt down, and move your left leg back. Be sure to keep your right knee in line with your right ankle. Inhale and raise your left arm up. Then twist to the right, bringing your left hand outside your right thigh. Repeat on the other side.

llustrations courtesy of Andriy Yankovskyy.

About author

Haley Greenwald-Gonella

Haley Greenwald-Gonella is a certified registered yoga teacher (200 RYT) with Yoga Alliance. She began dancing at the age of 3 and played flute and bassoon while growing up. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in dance and English. She has her master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from the University of Southern California. In addition, Haley is a director focusing on technology and innovation in the beauty sector.

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