Hip Stretches

Hip stretches are important for preventing and recovering from a number of hip, groin and back injuries. Here we outline some common hip stretches and explain static and dynamic hip stretching exercises.

Outer hip stretches

These exercises stretch the muscles predominantly on the outside of the hip and includes the gluteal muscles and the tensor fascia latae. Abduction is movement of the thigh out sideways. Therefore, they are known as the hip abductor muscles.

Gluteus maximus stretch

  • Stretching the buttocks can be great for reducing symptoms from sciatica.
  • Lay on the floor on your back.
  • Pull your bent knee up towards the opposite shoulder.
  • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds.

Tensor fascia latae muscle

This is a great stretch for reducing tightness in the Iliotibial band – a long thick strip of fascia running down the outside of the thigh. The outer hip stretch also targets the sartorius muscle.

  • Stand with the leg to be stretched behind the other. Lean over to the non-stretching side. Push the hip you wish to stretch out to the other side.
  • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds, rest and repeat 2-3 times.
  • Variations: Perform leaning forwards, using the wall or a table for support. Take the leg being stretched as far across your body as possible.
  • To stretch the Tensor Fascia Latae muscle in a seated position, the athlete pulls the knee across and in towards the body.

Laying outer hip stretch

Stretching the muscles of the outer hip such as tensor fascia latae and also the Iliotibial band can be effective in treating runners knee. This stretch also targets the gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.

  • Lay on the floor on your back. Cross the right foot over the left knee, keeping the right knee bent.
  • Use your left hand to pull the right knee across your body. Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds.

Piriformis stretch

The piriformis muscle can be very troublesome and cause symptoms of sciatica including pain radiating down the leg. Stretching this muscle will keep it supple and prevent it from impinging on the sciatic nerve.

  • Lay on the floor on your back and cross the right ankle over the left knee Grip the thigh of your left leg and pull the knee towards you, lifting the foot off the floor
  • Pull the knee further towards you to increase the stretch.
  • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds

Groin muscle (adductor stretches)

Long Adductor Stretch

Stretching the adductor muscles will help to keep your hips flexible which is important in injury prevention.

  • Sit on the floor with your legs as far apart as possible and knee straight.
  • Keep the back straight and lean forward from the hips.
  • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds.

Standing groin stretch

Adductor muscle stretches. This easy stretch can help prevent and treat groin strain injuries. This stretch targets the gracilis, adductor magnus, adductor brevis, and adductor longus.

  • Stand with your feet wide apart and knees straight.
  • Bend the right knee out to the side and lean to the right.
  • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds.

Hip flexor stretches

This is an effective stretch which is commonly used for the muscles at the front of the hip including Rectus Femoris. This stretch also targets the iliopsoas.

  • Kneel with one knee on the floor and the other foot in front with the knee bent.
  • Push your hips forward and keep the back upright.
  • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds.

Dynamic hip stretches

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Dynamic stretches will stretch your muscle whilst it is moving. This type of stretching should be part of any warm-up before training. Forwards and backwards stretches the hip flexors, sideways stretches the groin and abductor muscles.

  • Gently swing the leg in a relaxed manner. It should not be forced. Forcing the muscle is ballistic stretching and can cause damage to the muscles.
  • Aim for 10 swings on each leg, repeat 3 times a day.
  • A good, relaxed swing is what is required, gradually increasing the height of swing.
This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.

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