Tight hips can cause a surprising amount of pain and sitting all day is often to blame. “Chronic sitting is the reason we have tight hips—we start molding our body to that bent L position,” notes certified trainer Jonathan Ross, an American Council on Exercise spokesperson and author of “Abs Revealed.”
The result? Tight, achy hips and lower back pain. Remedy the situation by getting up from your desk and couch more frequently, and loosen up your hip flexors with these five expert-approved moves.
13-D Hip Flexor Stretch: Part 1
Get into proposal position with your right knee on the floor and the left leg bent at a 90-degree angle with your hands on your hips. Place a firm cushion—such as a Bosu ball, a blue foam pad that’s found at most gyms, or a stack of towels—underneath the right knee. Engage your butt and abs muscles, tuck your pelvis slightly and press forward through your hips. “You’ll immediately feel a stretch in the front of your right hip,” says Ross. Gently glide forward and back 5 times, alternating deepening and easing off the stretch. Do 5 reps. Switch legs and repeat.
23-D Hip Flexor Stretch: Part 2
Remain in the same proposal position with your right knee on the floor, your left leg bent at a 90-degree angle and your pelvis pressed forward to stretch the front of the hip. Reach your right arm up to ceiling. Bend your spine slightly to the left. Straighten to return to center. Do 5 reps. Then switch legs and arms.
33-D Hip Flexor Stretch: Part 3
Go back to proposal position with your right knee on the floor and your left leg bent at a 90-degree angle with your hands at your hips. Draw a circle with your hips, counterclockwise 5 times and then clockwise 5 times.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your feet close to your butt. Engage your abs, which will flatten your low back to the floor and tilt your pelvis slightly. Pressing your heels into the floor, lift your butt, followed by your lower back and then your mid-back up as if you were peeling them off the floor, suggests Ross. Lift until your thighs are parallel with the floor, keeping your shoulders, hips and knees in line. Keep your abs engaged throughout the lift. Slowly lower back down the floor in reverse order (your mid-back, then lower back and finally, your rear). Do 10 reps.
Start in Downward Facing Dog pose. Extend your right leg high in the air behind you, and then bring your right knee forward to rest near the right edge of your yoga mat. Take your left leg straight back behind you and level your hips. Hold for 15 breaths.