13 Hip-Opening Stretches to Loosen Tightness

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If you have tight glutes and legs from sitting all day, these gentle hip-opening stretches can help reduce pain and stiffness.

It’s easy for the hips to become tight and painful, regardless of your level of activity. Sitting can quickly lead to tight hip flexors and hamstrings, weak outer hips and gluteal muscles, and lower back pain. Similarly, activities like running and cycling can lead to tight hips as well.

The muscles of the hips are divided into four groups: the gluteal complex, the lateral rotators, the adductors, and the iliopsoas group. Within these four groups, there are at least 17 main muscles, meaning that there is a lot of opportunity for tightness!

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The entire body is connected, so tightness in the hips doesn’t stop there. Stiffness in this area of your body will most likely cause issues in other parts of the body, including weak glutes, sciatica, lower back pain, knee pain and poor posture, to name a few. (123)

Regardless of the type of lifestyle you lead, frequent stretching is essential to feeling good and preventing pain in the body.

Use these 13 hip-opening stretches to relieve tightness and find balance in all muscle groups of the hips. Practice this routine four to seven times per week for maximum results. All you need is an exercise mat or comfortable rug, a yoga block and/or a pillow.


13 Hip-Opening Stretches

Supine Figure 4 | 30 seconds per side

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This gentle stretch relieves piriformis syndrome, which causes tightness in the glutes, outer hips, and groin.

  1. Lie down on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground.
  2. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh and flex both feet. Then, pick your left foot up off the ground and thread your right arm through your legs. Interlace your hands behind your left thigh.
  3. Hug your left leg into your chest and feel a stretch through the outer right hip and the inner right thigh.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Supine Internal Rotation | 30 seconds per side

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This stretch opens up the hip flexors and surrounding muscles.

  1. Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the ground. Cactus your arms so that your elbows are bent in line with your shoulders and your palms are face up.
  2. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh and flex both feet. Then, heel-toe your left foot over to the left a few inches.
  3. Next, slowly lower both knees to the right. Check to make sure that your left knee is in line with your left hip. Your right ankle should rest on your outer left thigh right above the knee. You should feel a stretch through the front of your left hip.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Tip: If you feel any discomfort in this pose, place a pillow underneath your right knee for support, or take the right ankle off of the left thigh.

Butterfly Stretch | 30 seconds

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This gentle stretch releases tension from the thighs.

  1. Begin sitting on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ground.
  2. Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to fall out to the sides. The closer your hips are to your heels, the deeper the stretch will feel.
  3. Place your hands on your feet and gently press down on your thighs with your forearms to deepen the stretch.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.

Broken Bridge | 30 seconds

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This simple stretch releases the hip flexors by bringing them into a neutral position.

  1. Lie down on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground.
  2. Bring your knees to touch, then heel-toe your feet out as wide as you can go while your knees stay touching. Your legs should look like a teepee.
  3. Rest your arms down alongside your body with your palms facing up.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.

Low Lunge | 30 seconds per side

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This common stretch teaches you how to bring your hips into proper alignment while strengthening the core and relieving tightness in the hip flexors.

  1. Start in a push-up position.
  2. Lift your right foot up and step your right foot between your hands. Line up your ankle underneath your knee. Then, engage your abs and lift your chest to interlace your hands on top of your right thigh.
  3. Draw your navel up and in towards your spine and point your tailbone down towards the floor to bring your pelvis into a neutral position.
  4. Keep that position of the pelvis and slowly press your hips forward an inch. You should feel a stretch down the front of the left hip and thigh.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Runners Lunge | 30 seconds per side

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This stretch opens up tight hips flexors.

  1. Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees.
  2. Step your right foot up outside of your right hand. Then, heel-toe the right foot forward and slightly outward so that your right ankle is slightly in front of your knee and your toes point out at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Lift your chest up and draw your navel in towards your spine to engage your abs. Keep the back of your neck free of wrinkles. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Side Lunge | 30 seconds per side

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This move stretches the inner thighs and relieves tightness in the glutes.

  1. Begin in a wide-legged forward fold with your feet parallel to one another. Keep a small bend in your knees and let your head and arms hang heavy.
  2. Lift your chest so it’s parallel to the ground and engage your abs. Keeping both feet firmly on the ground and walk your hands inside of your right foot. Bend your right knee and sit your hips back until you are in a side lunge position.
  3. The left foot should still be firmly on the ground and you should feel a stretch through the groin and inner left thigh.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then walk your hands inside of the left foot to switch sides.

Figure 4 | 30 seconds per side

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This stretch opens up tight glutes, hips, and thighs while strengthening the core and stabilizing muscles around the knee and ankle.

  1. Begin standing with your left shoulder facing a wall, feet at hip-width distance apart.
  2. Place your left hand on the wall and engage your abs. Then, sit your hips back like you are going to sit into a chair and cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Flex both feet.
  3. Place your right hand on your right thigh and gently press on the thigh to deepen the stretch. Continue bending your left knee towards 90 degrees.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Yogi Squat | 30 seconds

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This traditional yoga pose opens up and stretches the inner thighs, outer hips, glutes and ankles.

  1. Start in a forward fold with your feet slightly wider than hip-width distance. Turn your toes out at 45-degree angles.
  2. Slowly lower your hips towards the ground, keeping your heels down the entire time.
  3. Draw your navel in towards your spine and bring your palms together in front of your chest. Keep your neck long.
  4. Use your elbows to gently press open your thighs, while also squeezing the thighs inward to keep your muscles engaged.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds.

Tip: If this feels too intense on the knees or ankles, place a yoga block or a pillow underneath your hips.

Frog | 30 seconds

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This stretch relieves tightness in the adductors.

  1. Begin in a wide-legged forward fold with your hands on the ground.
  2. Bend your knees and slowly lower them the ground.
  3. Parallel your shins and flex your feet so that your lower body looks like a frog. You can stay up on your hands or lower down to your forearms.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Gently release by pressing into your palms, shimmying your knees closer together, and then tucking your toes under to lift your hips back up into your wide-legged forward fold.

Pigeon | 30 seconds

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This yoga pose relieves tightness in the glutes and external hip rotators, and the thighs.

  1. Start in a push-up position.
  2. Pick up your right foot and bend the knee to bring your shin towards the top of the mat. Let your right knee rest behind your right wrist, and flex the foot to protect your knee joint.
  3. Lower your left knee to the ground and straighten the leg back behind you, pointing your toes back. Engage your abs and lift your chest.
  4. Stay on your palms or, to deepen the stretch, lower down to your forearms.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Supine Cow Face Pose | 30 seconds per side

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This stretch opens up the outer hips and the gluteus medius.

  1. Lie down on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground.
  2. Cross your right leg all the way over your left leg, and hug the crossed legs into your chest.
  3. Place your right hand on the pinky toe edge of your left foot and place your left hand on the pinky toe edge of your right foot. Then, use your hands to gently draw the feet out to the sides and towards your body so that you feel a stretch through the outer hips.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

Happy Baby | 30 seconds

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This yoga pose stretches the glutes and inner thighs.

  1. Begin lying down on your back.
  2. Lift your feet off of the ground and bend your knees. Reach your arms through the inside of your thighs and grab onto the outer edges of your feet, ankles, or calves. Keep your lower back, head, and shoulders on the ground.
  3. Draw your knees outside of your shoulders to feel a stretch through the inner thighs and outer hips. You can rock side-to-side to massage your lower back.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.

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