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  • Hip Stretches

    Hip stretches included on this page can be used to stretch hip flexors, hip extensors, adductors and abductors.

    Stretching Your Hip Flexors and Hip Extensors

    Low Lunge

    A simple stretch for the hip extensors is low lunge. In this case the hip extensors of the front leg are stretched. This pose could also be also be used as a gentle stretch for the hip flexors of the rear leg.

    You could also use low lunge to strengthen your shoulders and arms, for example by bending your arms push-up style to sink your chest.

    Glute Stretch

    A fun variation of low lunge is with the front foot turned out as in this glute stretch. It stretches the side of the hip quite strongly. Other glute stretches can be done while sitting or lying on the back.

    In most cases, glute stretches work on the back of the hip with the leg externally rotated. This can also target the piriformis.

    Happy Baby Hip Stretch

    Other options for stretching your hip extensors include a variation of happy baby hip stretch and some marichyasana variations.

    Hip Flexor Stretches

    To work on your Hip Flexors, either move your pelvis forwards relative to your leg (or legs) or move the leg rearwards relative to your pelvis. Hip flexor stretches include:

    Stretching your Inner Hip Muscles

    The adductors are the muscles along the inner thigh. They generally work to pull the leg inwards and so to stretch them you can move the leg outwards.

    Note that even though these muscles extend down the length of the inner thigh, they mainly work on the hip hip joint. Exceptions to this are muscles like the gracilis and sartorius, which though colocated with the adductors, cross the knee joint and so aren't, strictly speaking, hip muscles.
    (If you do want to stretch these muscles at the same time as you stretch the inner thigh hip muscles, then make your knee strong as well as straight.

    A basic pose for working on inner thigh flexibility is the half side split. There are other adductor stretches including the prone inner thigh stretch shown below and variations of hurdlers stretch.

    Stretching the Outer Hip

    The abductors (which move the legs outwards and generally include gluteus medius and gluteus minimus) are situated between the top of the pelvis and the top of the thigh bone at the side of the pelvis.

    Fibers of the gluteus maximus that attach to the Iliotibial tract as well as the tensor fascia latae muscle which also attach to this band of connective tissue are both positioned close to the gluteus minimus and medius.

    To stretch these muscles along with the pure hip adductors, again it can help to make the knee(s) both straight and actively stable.

    In both Pigeon yoga pose and standing side bend you can stretch the outer hip muscles one leg at a time.

    intense pigeon yoga pose, reaching shoulder towards front foot, neil keleher sensational yoga poses.

    Another way to stretch the lateral glutes is to stand with the legs crossed, both knees straight and then bend over. Push the hips to one side of the other to increase the stretch.

    Standing cross leg out hip and lateral glute stretch Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Weight Even
    Standing cross leg out hip and lateral glute stretch Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Weight towards front leg foot

    You can also do this outer hip stretch with one leg (the front one) bent.

    For extra fun and excitement, and to exercise the adductors of the straight leg, try lifting the straight leg foot (not shown).

    You can do this with hands on the floor (which can be helpful when getting into the pose) or with hands lifted.

    Cross leg lunge to stretch outer hip and lateral glute of straight leg, Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Cross leg lunge
    Cross leg lunge to stretch outer hip and lateral glute of straight leg, Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Cross leg lunge with hands lifted

    Active Hip Stretching

    There are various methods for stretching the hips actively. The techniques in the Active Stretching and Muscle Control For Better Flexibility ebooks involve techniques for activating hip flexors or extensors to move the thighs relative to the pelvis.

    In the Simple Hip Control Exercises video the focus is on using the hip flexors and extensors to move the pelvis relative to the thighs.