9 Feel-Good Stretches That Will Loosen Your Tight Hips

Photographed by James Farrell.
Shakira once said, "Hips don't lie," and she kind of has a point. When you feel like your hips are tight, it's almost impossible to ignore the pain and soreness that comes along with it. That's because your hip joint is supported by several other muscles — like your glutes, quads, and hamstrings — that help to keep you upright and mobile. So, when there's an imbalance or tightness, everything else in your body can feel out of whack.
There are a few common reasons why your hips might feel tight, including exercise like running and biking or just sitting at a desk all day. Of course, stretching can help undo some of this tightness. But how exactly do you stretch your hips? Surprisingly, you don't have to be all that flexible.
Ahead are some easy, feel-good stretches to add into your arsenal, from Ava Fitzgerald, a certified strength and conditioning specialist at the Professional Athletic Performance Center in Garden City, New York; and Lindsay Davis, a group fitness manager and instructor at Equinox in NYC. Add these into your workout routine, or just do them at your desk, and get ready to feel a lot less pain whenever your hips speak the truth.
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Begin in a pushup position. Bend your right knee, bringing it between your hands so that your right shin rests on the floor. Your right knee should rest behind your right wrist, and your right ankle should rest behind your left wrist. Straighten your back leg behind you. Return to start and repeat on the left side. If you need a deeper stretch, lower your body down to the ground over your front leg.
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Start in pushup position. Bend your right knee and place your right foot flat on the floor, outside your right hand, keeping your left leg straight. Return to start and repeat on the left side. To make the stretch deeper, lower your inside arm to the floor.
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Start on your hands and knees in tabletop position, and slowly start to walk your knees wide as far as they can comfortably go. Keep your shins parallel to one another. Lean your upper body forward, anchoring yourself with your hands. This stretch can be a little bit intense for some people, but you can control the depth of the stretch by raising your upper body up or bringing your knees closer together.
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Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel on your right knee, with your left foot flat on the floor, so your left leg forms a 90-degree angle. Slowly shift your weight forward into your right hip, keeping your pelvis stable, chest upright, and both hips facing forward. Return to start and repeat on the other side. Depending on how tight your hip flexors are, you might be able to grab your right ankle, pulling it toward your glutes to create a deeper stretch in the hip and down the quad (but for many people, this stretch is plenty).
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Standing Figure-4

Begin standing, and place your left hand on a chair or object for support. Bend your right knee, placing the outside of your right ankle right above your left knee. Slowly bend your left knee while pushing your hips back, and keeping your chest lifted. Return to start and repeat on the other side.
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Seated Figure-4

Sit upright in a chair. Bring your right ankle to rest just above your left knee, keeping your right knee open. Rest your hands on your shin, and lean your torso forward to deepen the stretch. Return to start and repeat on the left leg.
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Supine Figure-4

Lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest. Bring your right ankle to your left thigh, and hold onto the back of your left thigh to pull it toward your chest. Use your right forearm to press your right knee wide and deepen the stretch. Return to start and repeat on the other side.
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Squat Stretch

Start standing tall and walk your feet out well past the width of your hips. Turn your toes out approximately 45 degrees. Slowly and gently lower your tailbone toward the floor as you bend your knees. Once you've arrived in a low squat, press your palms together and use your elbows to gently press knees out. If that's comfortable, you can shift your hips from left to right in this squat position. And if you're having trouble getting to this position, you can place a block under your seat and work on improving your range of motion over time.
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Lie on your back with your legs straight, approximately hip-width apart. Hug your right knee into your chest and imagine rooting your left hip down into the floor as you flex your left foot. Keeping your right leg bent, hold your leg behind your right thigh (you can also hold a yoga strap looped around your right foot). Start to open your right leg to the side toward the floor. Repeat on the other side.
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