Hip stretches can greatly improve mobility, function, and comfort. With regular practice, they can also increase your range of motion and flexibility.
Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or a couch potato (and proud!), it’s natural for your hips to feel tight from time to time. On top of being a big ouchie, cranky hips can also reduce mobility and function.
Here are 10 terrific hip mobility stretches to get your movement back on track.
Here’s a quick overview of the 10 best hip stretches:
- Knee-to-chest stretch
- Figure four stretch
- Three-Legged Dog Pose
- Piriformis stretch
- Lunging hip flexor stretch
- Psoas hold
- Butterly hip stretch
- Reclining angle bound pose
- Happy Baby Pose
- Child’s Pose
Ready to dive into the deets? Here’s a detailed overview of each stretch.
Here’s how to do a knee-to-chest stretch:
- Get flat on your back, legs lying out in front of you.
- Bring one knee to your chest by gently pulling it in nice and close as your other leg stays put. Your lower back should not arch; keep it flat on the floor.
- Keep your knee pulled in as long as it feels comfortable. This could be 30 seconds or up to a couple of minutes.
- Gently release your leg back to starting position and begin again on the other leg.
Here’s how to do a figure four stretch:
- Lie down on the floor on your back.
- Pull one leg in toward you but before it gets too close to your chest, cross your foot over its opposite thigh (quad), getting a nice bend going in that opposite knee too.
- With your foot crossed over its opposite thigh in a spot that feels comfortable but still a little challenging, pause there to stretch to your comfort level.
- Gently release, bringing your crossed foot back to start before starting again on the opposite side.
Here’s how to do a three-legged dog:
- Get into a Downward Dog Pose.
- Now, carefully lift one leg up as your hands stay firmly planted on the ground. Try to extend your knee as straight as possible, but don’t push it if it doesn’t come too naturally at first (you’ll get more flexible with time).
- While your foot is in the air, you can give it a nice ballerina point or flex it. Or, if you like, switch back and forth between a point and a flexed foot.
- Keep your leg up there, stretching as long as you feel comfortable, up to 30 seconds or so.
- Gently bring your foot back to the ground, and when you’re ready, repeat on the other leg.
Here’s how to do a piriformis stretch:
- Sit your booty on the ground with your legs stretched out ahead of you.
- Bring your left leg over the right by crossing it over the right thigh; the right leg stays straight.
- Your crossed left foot should be firmly in place, flat on the ground, just a little higher than the right knee it’s crossed over (depending on your flexibility).
- Plant your left hand on the ground behind you, pushing your right elbow into your left knee as you give a little twist.
- After your gentle spinal twist, uncross and start again on the opposite side.
Here’s how to do a lunging hip flexor stretch:
- Get down on one knee like you’re about to pop the question.
- The leg that’s behind you should be extended out a little further than it would be in a real proposal, BTW.
- Gently lean forward a little, getting a nice stretch going in that side of your hip flexor.
- If you’d like a boosted version, squeeze your butt cheeks a bit as you’re leaning into this stretch.
- Keep the stretch for up to 2 minutes, as long as you’re comfortable.
- Repeat again on the other side.
Here’s how to do a Psoas hold:
- Start by standing and lift your right knee up into a bent position.
- Now you’re balancing on the left foot, making sure that your right knee is at the height of your hip, keeping it there for roughly 30 seconds.
- Bring your knee back down to the ground gently, and then repeat this simple stretch on the other side.
Pro tip: Keep your torso nice and straight as a soldier the whole time. If you notice your head is coming to the front or that there is any rounding in your torse, don’t try to extend your leg as much.
Here’s how to do a butterfly hip stretch:
- Sit on the ground, almost Indian style, but instead of your legs crossing over each other, make your feet touch, sole-to-sole.
- When your feet are sole-to-sole, you gently lean back, hands on the ground behind you. You’re sort of leaning back, checking out your cool foot action going on in front of you. Your feet are as flat as they can be, smushed against each other.
- Next, as you sit forward a little, coming out of your lean, your knees will naturally pop up a little on each side.
- Using your hand, gently push one knee down toward the ground, doing this makes your groin sort of meet your heels a little.
- Repeat on the other side once you’re done with this gentle pushing.
Here’s how to do a Reclining Angle Bound Pose:
- Lie down on your back like you’re ready for nap time.
- Pull your feet together so they touch, sole-to-sole.
- Your knees are now facing out, your feet are flat against each other, and your hips are open.
- Keep this stretch for up to a couple of minutes if it feels comfortable to you.
Here’s how to do a Happy Baby Pose:
- Like an actual happy baby (also a fun yoga pose), lie on your back, and pull both of your knees in towards you.
- Grab an edge of a foot in each hand.
- You’re somewhat spread eagle at this point, holes exposed to the sky (those who get waxed regularly know this position all too well).
- Slowly pull your feet toward you, and your knees will meet each side of you, giving you a nice stretch.
- Make sure you don’t have any arch in your back — nice and flat, please.
- Keep your feet pulled in, hips open, and breathing nice and slowly.
- Hold and breathe intentionally for as long as it feels comfortable to you.
Here’s how to do a Child’s Pose:
- On both knees, get into a kneeling position on a yoga mat. Knees should be hip-width apart.
- Fully kneel onto the ground, coming down so your face the floor, and your knees are tucked under you, arms stretched high over your head, hands firmly on the ground.
- Hold this calming pose for as long as you feel comfortable (which should be a long while, this one is soothing and not as tough as other stretches).
If you’ve tried any of the stretches on our list, you know one major benefit is that they feel so damn good, but there are other lovely benefits, in case you were wondering.
Improving your hip mobility can make you feel on top of the world. When performed carefully, the stretches on our list can help open your hips, more mobile and ready to party.
Be sure to chat with your doctor or physical therapist if you have any conditions that may interfere with hip mobility stretches. This is especially crucial when it comes to any hip pain you may have going on. It’s super important to ensure that any stretches you perform will help your situation and not further aggravate it.