Hey there dancers and welcome back to another From The Top blog post! Out of all the places in our body that can put up a fight when it comes to gaining adequate flexibility, our hip flexors can easily fall in the top 5 section of this category. Hip flexors, though often overlooked compared to other lower body muscles like our hamstrings, still hold a lot of relevance when it comes to opening up a broader range of flexibility. They help us achieve all three splits, better leaps, higher kicks, tilk kicks and more! And while we have covered building up the strength of your hips, strength and flexibility definitely go hand in hand. So today we will be listing some of the most effective stretches to help you gain flexibility in your hips rather quickly. These stretches range from every skill level from beginner to advance, so there will be something on this list for everyone! So without further ado, let’s grab our mats and get stretchin’!
Let’s start with the old faithful, shall we? The Butterfly is a classic stretch that has been around for what seems like ever and that’s because after all this time, it is still a great hip opener stretch! Use this as one of the first few stretches in the beginning of your routine to help ease yourself into everything. Feel free to hold this stretch for anywhere between 10-12 seconds. If you would like to add a bit more resistance to this stretch, try lowering your upper body down to your feet as far as you can, focusing on folding from your hips instead of your back. This variation definitely turns this commonly used stretch into an unexpected game changer!
- Garland Pose
Used in yoga predominantly, the Garland Pose is one of the most beneficial hip stretches to date! Probably the deepest squat you’ll ever be in,one of the many ways this stretch benefits your hip flexors is the way you use your elbows to further widen your knees a tad while you’re in this pose. This really helps you get a deep stretch in your hips in a subtle, yet effective way. Be sure to make sure your knees aren’t over your ankles to ensure the safety of your shins. Also make sure, you lengthen your upper body to prevent from sinking into your hips too much and you’re good to go!
- Wide Legged Child’s Pose
One of the most relaxing stretches (in my humble opinion), the wide legged child’s pose is the perfect, low key stretch to really dig into your hip flexors. Executed just like the classic child’s pose, to help add a more hip flexor targeted variation to this pose, simply widen your knees to hip width apart and commence to reach your hands forward. Hold this stretch for about 10 seconds. This is a perfect ending pose to add to your stretch routine because not only is this stretch effective, goodness gracious, it’s so comfortable!
- Sumo Squat
While not as intense as the Garland Pose, the Sumo Squat is perfect for beginner and intermediate level stretch routines to help open your hips. Hold this stretch for about 10-12 seconds with your feet turned out. Be sure to tuck your tushy so that way you’re really working the target area of your hips.
- Happy Baby Pose
This title always makes me chuckle a bit! The Happy Baby pose is another yoga pose that is both comfortable and effective. This is a stretch that can be used by all levels due to its various variations. For example, while the classic way to do this stretch is by laying down on your back, extending your legs up and taking hold of your big toes to bring your knees down to the side of your body, you can also try holding onto the outside of your feet instead until you become a little more comfortable with the stretch. In terms of timing, holding this stretch for 10 seconds is more than enough, and you can even add a gentle rock side to side to help open your hips that much more. Be sure to keep your shoulder blades on the ground and of course, don’t forget to breathe! 😉
- Knee-To-Chest w/ Side Extension
What I love about this stretch is that it can be done with either your leg extended or bent and still be incredibly effective. Whichever variation you choose, simply lay on your back and bring your knee to your chest as close as you can, and then bring your leg over to the side. Hold this stretch for 10 sec and then switch to the other side. This stretch is fantastic for reaching your hip flexibility goals in general, but it is one of the MVPs for achieving your front splits!
- Side Lunge
Winding down on the list, we have the side lunge! Another well known classic, the side lunge is a great and simple way to target your hip flexors. Simply stand turned out with your legs shoulder length apart and simply lower your body down to one side, bending one knee while the other leg stays extended out to the other side. Afterwards, repeat this sequence to the other side.
- Cow Face Pose
What a way to end this list, huh? The Cow Face Pose is one that is rather advanced, so be sure to work your way up to this one. In order to get into this stretch, sit with one leg bent in front of you and stack your other leg on top of it. From there, extend your arms and work yourself forward, folding from your hips and not your back. Hold this pose for 10 seconds and then feel free to reverse this stretch to the other side. While this stretch is probably the hardest on the list, it is also one of the deepest. The way this pose gets to your hips is next level and it will definitely become your favorite once you get the hang of it!
And that will do it for this week’s blog post! We hope you were able to find a few stretches to add to your routine to help open up your hips that much more and help you along as you continue to reach your flexibility goals! As always, we wish you a wonderful weekend, filled with love and light. And until our next blog post, remember…