We’re back again with more quick and easy stretches help you shake off that office chair pain and tightness. These stretches were carefully picked to follow up on my previous set of stretches. Don’t be afraid to whip these out whenever you’ve got a free minute…unless of course, you like pain and tightness…
4 MORE Simple Stretches for Happy Hips
By LaBri Krahn
1) Happy Baby
Let’s start off with something easy – begin by lying flat on your back, bend both knees and bring them up to your armpits. Hold on to the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands. Hold your arms outside of your legs. Gently pull your knees towards the floor while trying not to tense your chest or shoulders. Relax and take 5 deep breaths.
2) Double Pigeon or Half Lotus
Remember the pigeon? This is a similar concept but with both legs bent. Start with both legs straight out in front of you. Bend the left knee in towards your body, so that the knee, shin, and foot on the floor parallel from your pelvis. Then repeat that with the right leg but place it on top so your knees, shins, and ankles are stacked on top of each other. If you see a triangle between you and your legs, you’ve got it! If this is comfortable, you may want to try reaching out in front of your shins as far as you can for an intense stretch. Go as far as you can, hold for 5 deep breaths, slowly release and try it with the other leg on top! If you’re feeling very bold (and loosened up), you can try the Full Lotus, where both feet are placed upon opposite thighs.
3) THE hip flexor stretch
For lack of a better term, this one shall be called ‘the’ hip flexor stretch. Start in a lunge with the left foot forward and leg bent at 90 degrees and the right knee to the floor. Tilt your pelvis forward until you feel a slight pull in front of your right hip. Raise your right arm overhead, and reach to the left side. Reach and hold while making sure you feel the correct stretch in the appropriate area. Switch legs/arms and repeat!
We love this version of the hip flexor stretch as it addresses the fact that a part of the hip flexor muscle group called the psoas(major and minor) crosses the hip and attaches to (the side of) your spine. The side bend added to this stretch gives that extra layer of complexity to the move, making it a little more complete to the hip flexor group, versus the lunge position alone.
4) Front to back hip swing
Think of this as an active and gentle movement versus a stretch: the front to back hip swing targets tight hip flexors just the same. Lie down on your side with hips stacked, bend the bottom knee to a 90 degree angle while keeping the top leg straight with toes pointed. Place the bottom arm with the elbow on the ground and the hand holding up your head. The other arm is placed on the ground in front of your chest to stabilize the body and prevent the hips from rolling. Swing the extended leg backward then forwards, keep the movement slow and controlled. Squeeze your abs and go as far as you can forward and squeeze your bum while you reach that leg back. Relax, swing 10 times and repeat with the other leg!
As a professional cheerleader, trainer and coach (now in Vancouver!), even I had to start somewhere to gain my flexibility, so I know it takes time and patience. As a student, I spend many, many hours behind a desk which can leave me feeling stiff and achey too. Some days I barely have time to make myself a nutritious breakfast let alone spend an hour stretching, but I know that hip flexibility doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. So here are 4 MORE simple stretches you can also do every day for just a few minutes! Your hip flexors, knees and back will love you. To return your muscles to pre-exercise length, hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds and very importantly, remember to breathe! To increase flexibility, really relax into the position, wait for the muscle to “release” and aim for approximately 60 seconds or more. Don’t push too hard – make sure you feel a nice enjoyable stretch….for happy hips!