Strengthening and stretching the hips properly is a critical component of any exercise regime. The hips are truly a powerhouse of the body, not only bearing the weight of most of our activity, but also giving us the range of motion we need to do so.
This article specifically targets the hip abductors and will show you seven yoga postures perfect for stretching this hip muscle group and keeping in its best condition. These stretches are perfect to follow up a good hip workout, but also make a great practice all on their own. Make sure you’re nice and warmed up and enjoy this hip-opening flow!
TRAINING TYPE: FLOW SEQUENCE
PLANNED TIME:15 MINUTES
15 Minute Hip Abductor Stretches
This flow is going to target the group of muscles in the hip known as the hip abductors. The hip abductors are three muscles on the outside of the hip that help stabilize and mobilize the outward movement of the leg. If these muscles are too tight, they can actually move the hip and spine out of alignment, which can lead to a whole list of painful problems. So congratulations on your efforts to take care of these hardworking muscles! They will certainly thank you. Grab a block to have on standby and let’s get started with our flow!
Hip Abductor Stretches For Pain Infographic
Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose - Prasarita Padottanasana
We’ll begin in a Wide-Legged Forward Bend with hands on the hips. From the hips we’ll fold forward, first bringing the palms to the mat, and then folding deeper, bringing the crown of the head to the mat. You can use a block here to bring the ground closer to you if you need to. Think about sending the hips straight up and lengthening the tailbone to the sky. Engage the muscles throughout the legs, press into the feet and really feel the stretch in the outer hips. Begin to heel-toe the feet together as you sink the hips down into chair pose. Press into the feet and lift the hips to standing. Inhale bringing the arms over head. Exhale the arms down.
Intense Side Stretch Pose - Parshvottanasana
Step the right foot straight back turning the toes slightly outward. Bring the hands to the hips, square the hip points forward and engage all the muscles of the legs, pulling up energy from the feet. Inhale, lengthen through the spine, and exhale, hinging from the hips, bringing the chest forward and then over the left leg. Bring the hands to blocks or the ground. Breathe deeply, continuing to rotate the right hips forward and pulling the left back, finding a balance between the two. Press evenly into both feet and feel the strength activating in each leg. Bring the hands back to the hips, inhale, lift from the chest and bring the torso all the way up. Step the right foot to meet the left. Inhale the arms over head. Exhale lower them down. Inhale step the left foot back. We repeat on the opposite side now. Same thing. Square the hip points, engage the legs, lengthen the spine. Inhale and exhale, hinge from the hips, fold over. Really activate the legs while pulling those hips in opposite directions.
This pose is called Intense Side Stretch and that’s exactly how it should feel in the abductors. Bring the hands to the hips, and inhale lifting the chest and bringing the torso all the way up. Step the feet together. Inhale the palms overhead. Exhale through heart center.
Tree Pose - Vrikshasana
Inhale, bring the hands to the waist or hips and shift your weight into the left foot. Keep the hips level, tilted slightly forward. Draw the sole of the right foot up to the ankle, calf or inner thigh. Press the foot into the supporting leg and draw up energy and strength from the supporting leg. Bring the palms together in front of the arm or extend the arms over head for Tree Pose.
Tree pose is great for activating the stability and mobility that the abductors offer us. Engage the core and hips and lengthen the spine to find balance in this pose.
Lower the hands and the foot. Shift the weight now into the right foot. Let’s repeat with our left foot coming to the support of the right leg. Draw the navel in, lengthen the spine. Tilt the hips slightly forward. Be sure the hips are level here. If you need to lower the left foot to even the hips, please do so. Raise the arms and find a balanced and focused stillness in this posture. Lower the arms, lower the leg. Shake out each leg a bit. Come to mountain. Inhale the arms over head. Exhale bring them to your sides.
Revolved Extended Hand-to-Foot-Pose Variation - Parivritta Utthita Pada Hastasana
Returning now to tree pose, this time we’ll add a twist that will help stretch the sides of the hips and upper leg. Shift the weight into the left leg. Draw the right knee toward the chest and wrap the hands around the knee to support it. Release the right arm open to a T and with the left hand, pull the right knee toward the left side of the body. Look over the right shoulder and twist from the lower abdomen. Focus on a focal point and breathe into the posture. Really try to feel that stretch by pressing the right knee away from the hand, extending from the hip. Return the right knee and right hand to center. Lower the leg down. Shake it out and let’s repeat on the left side.
Shift the weight into the right foot. Draw the left knee into the chest. Extend the left arm out wide and with the right hand, pull the left knee across the body, twisting from the lower abdomen. Tuck the navel, lengthen the spine, even the hips. Release back to center. Lower the legs. Shake it out.
Garland Pose - Malasana
Step the legs out wide and sink the hips down into Garland Pose, also known as Squat Pose. Bring the hands to prayer position at the sternum. Lift the chest and press elbows into knees, knees into elbows. Take three deep breaths here really breathing into the hip creases.
Supine Spinal Twist - Supta Matsyendrasana
Lower all the way down to the mat. Keep the knees bent and lower the torso down onto the mat. Inhale, tuck the knees into the chest, take a little rocking motion here to massage the lower back a bit. Release the knees, opening the arms wide into a T shape, allow the knees to fall to the left as your gaze turns to the right. Keep the shoulder blades flat against the ground. Adjust the knees to come deeper into the stretch. Hold this posture for five deep breaths. Allow the inhale to deepen the stretch and with each exhale find ease in the muscles. Relax.
Inhale the knees back to center, and exhale, allow them to fall to the right side as your gaze looks over the left arm. Take five deep breaths here. Adjust the knees as you need. Find a nice restorative stretch.
Camel Pose - Ustrasana
Corpse Pose - Savasana
Extend the legs fully in front of the body, bring the arms by the sides. Find your most comfortable Savasana Pose. Let go of breath. Let go of any tension. Allow the whole body to relax.
Featured Video: Seven Hip Abductor Stretches For Hip Pain
Stay in Savasana for a few minutes. Really let the body recover from this practice. I hope you’ve enjoyed this sequence of hip-openers, hopefully you’re feeling nice and stretched in those abductor muscles. Make sure you’re always complimenting any intense physical activity with proper stretching. Especially give attention to those hips. They do so much for us; the better we treat them, the better they’ll serve us.
Hillary is a natural-born wanderer and wonderer. A digital nomad and pilgrim of the heart, she often feels herself a poster child of the Spiritual Millennial. As a writer, health coach and yoga instructor Read More..