Another favourite area for tightening up and causing us problems! The hip joint is a large, complex joint but it is actually often a tight joint, surrounded by the gluteals and smaller rotator muscles that can shorten and restrict the hip even more.
These surrounding muscles are used so much for pelvic stability, which becomes essential for all sports, not least in running. They support the impact from the ground and if well developed, they can reduce the load through the smaller joints like the knee and ankle. However, because they are working so hard they tighten so easily!
Try these 5 hip opening stretches to loosen the hips:
1. Deep lunge-Take a wide step forwards as far as you can, and then lower the chest down until you rest on your elbows. Keep pressing the hips forwards and aiming towards the mat. Ease out of this one gently!
2. Butterfly- Sitting upright, bring the soles of the feet together. Slowly let the knees fall down towards the mat. Lean your chest forwards and gently ease the legs further.
3. Cross leg fold- Sitting upright with your legs crossed. Reach the chest forwards over your legs towards the mat. Keep both buttocks firmly in contact with the mat and ease the knees down.
4. Wide frog- Start in high kneeling and gently widen the knees as much as you can. Then bring the chest forwards over towards the floor. Keep lowering the chest down further to widen the hips from each other. Be careful its a strong stretch!
5. Gluteal bind- Extend one leg out in front, and cross the other foot over the top. Feed the opposite arm underneath the knee and round your back to grasp your other hand! Keep pulling the knee back with your arm.
Hold them for a good 30 seconds if you can, and as you breathe outwards sink a little lower into the position. These muscles take time to let go of their tension and often resist initially so the longer the better!