My Favorite Hip Opening Stretches

One of the areas I’m focusing on stretching this training cycle is my hips, which probably isn’t a place you’d think would be super important for a runner to stretch. But as I’m learning more about mobility and injury prevention, it’s becoming so clear that I need to focus on hip mobility and extension.

Hip extension is where most of the forward force comes from running, while power comes from glute contraction. So if the area around your pelvis is tight or weak, you could be losing both forward force and power (plus causing injuries due to compensation from other muscles).

I already a lot of focus on stretching/foam rolling out my glutes/quads/hamstrings and incorporate moves that help strengthen pelvic stabilizing muscles. But I’m not focusing on tightness around my hips flexors as much. I haven’t been feeling as much tightness there but now I know i should be focusing on it to prevent future injuries.

Here’s some of my current favorite moves to work on opening the hip flexors that I love adding into my stretching and yoga!

Piriformis Stretch

Piriformis Stretch.jpg
  • Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you.

  • Cross your right leg over your left, and place your right foot flat on the floor.

  • Place your right hand on the floor behind your body.

  • Place your left hand on your right quad or your left elbow on your right knee and twist your torso to the right.

  • Repeat for the other side

Lunge With Spinal Twist

  • Start standing with your feet together.

  • Take a big step forward with your left foot, so that you are in a staggered stance.

  • Bend your left knee and drop into a lunge, keeping your right leg straight behind you with your toes on the ground, so you feel a stretch at the front of your right thigh.

  • Place your right hand on the floor and twist your upper body to the left as you extend your left arm toward the ceiling.

  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

  • Repeat for the other side.

Butterfly Stretch

  • Sit tall on the floor with the soles of your feet together, knees bent out to sides.

  • Hold onto your ankles or feet, engage your abs, and slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can while pressing your knees toward the floor.

  • If you're too tight to bend over, simply press your knees down.

  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Figure Four Stretch

Figure Four Stretch.jpg
  • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor.

  • Cross your left foot over your right quad.

  • Lift your right leg off the floor. Grab onto the back of your right leg and gently pull it toward your chest.

  • When you feel a comfortable stretch, hold there.

  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

  • Repeat for the other side