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5 stretches that will loosen the hips and prevent back pain

Sit all day? These hip flexor stretches are a must.
Bridge pose helps with overall stability in the hip joint by strengthening and stretching the quads and hip flexors.
Bridge pose helps with overall stability in the hip joint by strengthening and stretching the quads and hip flexors.Getty Images/iStockphoto

Sitting all day — a habit many have fallen victim to over the course of the pandemic — can lead to tight hip flexors. When our hips become tight, we can start to feel pain in other areas of our body, including the low back. So by taking the time to stretch the hip flexors, we can combat tightness and prevent pain in other areas of the body as well. 

Research shows that range of motion in individuals experiencing tightness in the hip flexors improved over time from consistent stretching. Taking just a few minutes out of your day to step away from your desk can be enough to combat pain and even prevent hip problems in the future.

As a personal trainer and yoga instructor, I’m always trying to curate routines that target specific areas of the body, whether it be to tone a certain muscle group or stretch a certain body part. I’ve created this five-move stretch routine that you can perform at home to stretch the hip flexors. Make sure to take each move slow so that you get the most out of each stretch.

 

low lunge exercise

Low lunge

Start on your hands and knees. Step your right foot forward in between your hands. Slide your left foot back so that your shin is flat on the ground and your thigh forms a 45-degree angle with the floor. Bend your right knee and keep your right foot pressing into the floor. Tuck the left toes under and come up onto them as you straighten your left leg. You should feel the stretch in your left hip and thigh. Take a few deep breaths while engaging your left quad to keep your left leg straight. Switch sides and perform with the left leg forward and right leg back.

 

lizard stretch

Lizard

Begin on all fours with your palms and knees on the ground. Step your right foot forward in between your hands, and then bring both hands to the inside of the right foot. Wiggle your right foot out to the right, and open the right hip, letting the right knee fall to the side so that you rest on the outer edge of your right foot. Keep the left knee on the mat, and rest the left foot on the mat. Push forward gently into your hips and hold. Switch so that your left food is forward.


butterfly stretch

Seated butterfly

Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and your back straight. Bend your knees, bringing your feet in toward your body until the soles of your feet are together. Grab both feet with your hands for extra support. Slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in the hips. Hold for 30 seconds.

 

bridge pose

Basic bridge

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat. Keep your arms at your sides as you tuck your pelvis and raise your hips into the air. Keep your shoulders on the mat as you form a straight line from your chest to your knees. Reach the knees toward the front of the room as you pull the naval in toward the spine. Hold for 30 seconds, wiggling slightly side to side in this position if you feel like it. This helps with overall stability in the hip joint, strengthening the quads and hip flexors while slightly stretching them.


Figure four stretch

Figure four

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your left foot off the mat, keeping a bent knee, and bring the leg toward your chest. Rotate your left leg outward, placing your left ankle on top of your right thigh. Gently pull your right thigh closer to your chest for a deeper stretch and hold for 30 seconds before switching to the other side.

Try these other routines: