Simple at-home hip stretches to start your new exercise routine

Illustration by Amelia Madarang

In the critically acclaimed 2001 movie “Legally Blonde,” Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) famously

said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”

Woods provides a good reason to work out that is not just for the sake of patriarchal beauty standards. You can also workout to destress, sleep better at night, have more energy for sex, distract yourself from the nihilism of academic life during the time of COVID-19 or any other reason you can think of.

A great way to start working out is with these hip stretches, which you can do while watching “Legally Blonde!”

1. Low lunge for one minute each side

Get down on one knee like you are proposing to the love of your life. Move the foot that is in front of you forward until you feel a stretch in your hip. Be mindful to keep your knee directly above your ankle so as to not hurt yourself. If you feel comfortable you can reach your arms up and back while keeping your hips squared off. Alternatively you can rest your hand on your knee. Then hold the pose. Do this stretch for both sides of your body.

2. Half split for one minute

Start in a low lunge position with your right foot forward and your hands on the outside of the foot to provide support. Bring your left knee down to the ground. If it hurts to put your knee directly on the ground, place a mat, a pillow or a folded shirt underneath your knee. While walking your hands back to your left foot, rotate your hips back toward your left heel and lengthen the right leg. Then hold the pose for one minute. Do this stretch for both sides.

3. Half pigeon pose for one minute each side

Start in a downward-facing dog or plank position. From here, step your right foot toward your right wrist and bring your knee on the ground near your left wrist. Straighten your left leg back. Check that your right knee is in line with your right hip. If you feel comfortable, walk your hands forward. Lower your forehead to the ground while squaring your hips toward the ground. Then hold the pose. Repeat on the other side.

4. Pike for one minute

Start by sitting on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Point your toes to the sky. Fold forward with your back straight and reach for your toes. If you can not reach your toes, an easy modification is to take a band or a t-shirt and loop over the base of your feet and hold on to this with your hands. Then hold the pose.

5. Forward fold for one minute

This is very similar to the pike pose but you let gravity do some of the work. Stand up straight with your feet together and arms by your sides. Reach your arms up over your head while looking up. With arms reaching high, engage your core and, then, bend at the waist with a  flat back. If you feel comfortable, try to place your hands on the  oor slightly in front of you or beside your feet. Make sure all parts of your feet are touching the ground. Then hold the pose for one minute.

These stretches are a great way to loosen up your hip flexor, which can be really helpful if your end goal is to do the front splits or improve your WAP dance skills. It is also good for your general  exibility. As always, go slow and modify the stretch when you need to.

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