Tight hips and hamstrings can lead to hip and back pain, limited mobility, and poor posture.
Regularly stretching your hips and hamstrings can not only help relieve the tightness but also ease the aches and pain.
It’ll also improve your daily movements, expand your range of motion, and promote better posture.
Many things lead to tight hip flexors, but one leading cause is excessive sitting without stretching.
As you sit for hours, it modifies the posture and develops a forward-tilting pelvic, known as anterior pelvic tilt.
According to some research, roughly 75% of women and 85% of men have this forward tilt pelvic without having any symptoms.
If you have an interior pelvic tilt, you may notice muscle tightness in your hamstrings, quads, and front pelvis as well as back, glutes, and abs.
All these may be the lead cause of your back pain, hip and knee pain, and inflexibility in your hips and knees.
Luckily, there are exercises and stretches you can easily do at home without equipment to loosen your hips and hamstrings. They also help restore your pelvis to a pain-free position.
8 Best Stretches to Loosen Tight Hips and Hamstrings
As with all stretching sequences, remember to breathe during each exercise and never push to the point of feeling sharp pain.
Take your time in each stretch and remember that you need to start somewhere to get to the full range of motion.
1. Deep Squat
The deep squat is a full-body stretch that helps loosens hips, glutes, and hamstrings among other lower-body muscles.
- Bring your palms together in front of you. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and hinge your hips back.
- Keep your back neutral and lower yourself down toward the ground.
- Press your elbows against your knees to open the hips.
- Hold the position and take a few deep breaths. Slowly return to the starting position. Perform this 2 more times.
This floor stretch works to open your inner thighs and hip flexors.
- Sit on a yoga mat and bring the soles of your feet together. Let your knees open and fall toward the floor.
- Maintain the neutral back, and slowly fold forward. It’s fine to not be able to fold all the way to the ground. Hold where you feel the stretch and breathe.
- When you are ready, slowly come back up to the starting position. Repeat 2 more times.
3. Piriformis Stretch
The piriformis stretch helps loosens the muscles in the hips, piriformis, and glutes. If you are experiencing sciatica nerve pain along with back and hip pain, this is also a great stretch for that too.
- Laying flat on your back with your knees bent. Cross the left leg over the other with the left ankle resting on the right knee. This creates a figure four position.
- Clasp your hands behind the right leg’s hamstring.
- Gently pull your right leg towards your torso. You should be feeling a stretch to the left leg.
- Hold and take a few deep breaths. Release and repeat on the other side.
4. Knee-to-Chest Stretch
The knee-to-chest stretch is effective in easing lower back pain. Tight lower back muscles are often the major culprits of back pain. This floor stretch increases blood flow to the back and promotes healing. Not only that, this stretch helps you.
- Lay on your back on a yoga mat with both knees bent and feet flat on the mat.
- Bring your left knee up toward your chest and clasp your hands either behind your thigh or around your shin.
- Gently pull your knee up toward your head. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat on the right leg.
- Alternating, do 2 sets of 5 repetitions, 1-minute rest in between
5. Pigeon Pose
The pigeon pose is a hip flexor stretch that loosens the muscles in your hip rotators, encouraging flexibility in the lower body.
- Start in a seated position with your right knee bent in front of you and your left leg behind you.
- Gently slide your left knee as far back as you can, as you inch your right ankle forward.
- At this point, your right knee should be pointing directly to your right side, and your right ankle should be pointing directly to your left side.
- Take a few deep breaths and walk your hands out in front of you to allow your chest to sink further into the stretch.
- Hold this position and take 5-10 slow breaths.
- Release and repeat on the other side.
6. Pelvic Tilt
This exercise helps stretch your pelvis and inner hip flexor muscles.
- Lay flat on a yoga mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat.
- Engage your core and gently roll your pelvis up to flatten the natural curve on your back.
- Hold the position for 5 seconds and release. Repeat 2-3 times.
7. Hip Bridge
The hip bridge exercise engages your pelvis, hip flexors, and hamstrings. It also helps build strength in your glutes, back, and core.
- Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Rest your arms at your sides with your palms facing down.
- Engage your core muscles by gently pulling your belly button down toward your spine.
- Lift your hips off the floor until your hips are in line with your shoulders and hips.
- Make sure your back is straight and your glutes are engaged. Hold for 5 seconds and return. Repeat 5 times.
8. Bird Dog
This full-body exercise engages the erector spine and helps promotes better posture. It also activates your glutes, hamstrings, hips, and core.
- Start with your hands and knees on the floor with your hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart.
- Keeping your back neutral and abs engaged, lift your right arm and your left leg a few inches off the ground at first.
- Do your best to balance on one leg and knee using your core while bringing your right arm and left leg to your shoulder height.
- Hold this position for a few seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.