3 Amazing Stretches for Tight Hips, Legs & Lower Back Tension

Do you have pain in your low back? Did you know that your hip health, or lack of it, might be playing a role? It’s true that sometimes tight hips and legs can be related to low back pain. And while tight hips may not be the root cause of the pain (and back issues can cause hip pain and tightness), flexibility and mobility in your hips can provide some low back relief.

Listen, friends, we may be debating the chicken and the egg here, but either way, we want you to feel great, so SSoD Trainer Ang is here to talk about her top stretches for hip health that will probably help your low back too. 

Before you start stretching, we want to be sure your hips are nice and warm. 

Ang’s top dynamic stretches:
  1. Toy Soldier – standing up, kick one leg straight out to about hip height (if you can). Meet it with your opposite straight arm. Switch, and repeat for 5 each leg.

  2. Gate Opener – from a solid stance, lift your knee up to about hip height. Rotate it out to the side, like you’re opening a gate, returning your foot back to the ground. Switch to the opposite leg, and repeat for 5 per side. Ang likes to add a little stutter step in between to keep a good rhythm.

  3. Reverse Gate Opener (Close the Gate) – from the same stance, lift your knee up and rotate from out to in, like you’re losing a gate. Return your foot to the ground and switch to the opposite leg, repeating 5 per side. Add that stutter step if you’d like.
Ang’s top hip stretches: 

Hold each for about 30 seconds per side.

  1. Pigeon Stretch – Begin on the ground in tabletop position. Lift your right leg toward the back wall, and then bring it forward. Tuck your leg through, under your body, bringing your foot across to the opposite side. Flatten your back leg toward the ground, keeping your front leg straight across your body, not tucking your foot in (as much as possible). Keeping your hips evenly squared to the ground, gently press forward into the stretch.
    If you have the strength and flexibility, you can try taking your arms down to the mat, giving you a nicer pull through the hips.
    After holding that stretch, unfold back to tabletop and repeat on the other side. Don’t be surprised if one side is more flexible. Just make sure to keep even pressure on both hips for both sides’ stretches.

    pigeon stretch

  2. Figure 4 Stretch – This is a great alternative to the pigeon stretch if you have any tension in your knees.
    Flip over to your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Cross one leg over the other, making sure your ankle is across the quad of your planted leg. Reach your hands around your planted thigh and pull that plant leg up toward your body. Release by simply reversing the motion and then switch sides.

    figure 4 stretch

  3. Runners Lunge – Start in tabletop position, and lift your upper body. Bring your right leg to the front of your mat with your knee directly over your ankle. Tuck your back toes under, and press forward through your hips. You can bring more challenge to this stretch by lifting your arms up to the sky. Release and switch sides.
    runners lunge stretch

Hey, this whole series, including the dynamic warm-up, will take you less than 5 minutes, so why not incorporate it into your daily routine? And for a variety of workouts and stretching videos to keep your body moving and your hips loose, check out the Free Trial over on Studio SWEAT onDemand! Download the app, or if you happen to live in southern California, visit us in our San Diego studio.