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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stretches for Tight Hips

In our Flexibility & Floorplay class, we focus on full body flexibility but today we're talking about hips. The ball and socket joint of the hip is arguably the single most important part of a healthy body's musculature. Strong and limber hips are a key to remaining active into your later years. Without it, even the simplest movements, such as walking, may become difficult.

Here are a few ideas on how to keep those hip flexors and the surrounding muscles healthy. As with all stretches, remember to breathe and don't over do it.  Flexibility doesn't happen overnight! Also, check with your physician first if you have existing hip problems.


The lunge is famous for toning your butt but it's also an excellent stretch for your hip flexors.  As you lunge, it's important to remember to keep the knee over the ankle to protect your knee cap. You know you're not going too far forward when you can still see your big toe. The hands can be on the knee as seen above or you can take it up a notch and place both elbows on the floor, on each side of your legs.

Complete a circuit by first walking your hands out in front of you, and then reach as far as possible. Slowly walk your hands over to your right side and align your chest with your knee. Return to sitting upright, position for a few deep breaths. Then extend your arms down to your left leg as far as is comfortable and align your chest with your knee again. Slowly, return back to a folded forward position. You'll find that you can extend closer to the floor with every full circuit.


This exercise proves that there's no excuse to not have healthy hips. You can literally stretch in bed. Keep your top foot on the bed or pull your knee into the chest as shown in the picture and dangle the other foot down to the floor. For a deeper stretch bend your knee of the bottom foot until it comes to rest on the toes. This is often a therapeutic stretch if you've suffered and are recovering from a hip injury.

pigeon pose
Pigeon pose is an exceptional stretch for the hips in general. The leg in front is bent and the further your foot is away from your hip, the deeper the stretch, but DO NOT over do it. Ideally, the outside glute of that front leg should be on the floor while the inside hip of the back, straight leg is also on the floor. For a deeper stretch, bend the back leg at the knee and reach back to grab the foot, but, again, listen to your body and don't over-extend your muscles.

- written by JLK

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