So many of us are tight in the hips!
Tight inner thighs can also impede our ability to become more mobile and flexible in this area. Stretch both areas with this variation of a runner’s lunge and whichever one is tightest, that’s where you’ll feel it!
The setup for this hip and inner thigh stretch is pretty straightforward as long as it is comfortable for you to kneel. To improve comfortability under your standing knee, a mat or towel will provide cushion. If you are kneeling on a thin mat over hardwood or tile, fold your mat up a few times for a thicker padding under your knee. Your front leg will be at 90 degrees at both the hip and the knee. The back leg will be at 90 degrees at the knee as well and you can have either the ball of your foot on the floor (as shown) or place the top of your foot/shoe down on the mat (laces down). Hold a wall or chair if you feel off balance.
Walk the foot of your front leg over to the outside portion of your mat, about 6-12 inches depending on your comfortability and flexibility. As the leg moves out to the side, it will also laterally rotate so that now your knee and toes are pointing off the front corner or top outside edge of the mat rather than pointing toward the top of the mat. Keep the knee from falling back in toward the center of the mat and maintain a vertical stack of the knee over the ankle.
To ensure we stretch the hip flexor and inner thigh while staying out of the low back:
- Open/elongate/relax the low back and tailbone down toward the floor – back of body relaxes down.
- Lift/pull the pubic bone up toward the ceiling – front of body pulls up.
- Abs below and above the belly button pull inward toward your spine.
Once the low back is relaxed and the front of the body is pulling up and inward, we know we can bring both hips forward to increase this stretch without compromising the low back. Your hips may only move slightly forward (as shown). Because of the lateral rotation of the leg, you might be able to bring your hips far enough forward that it works best to place your hands on the floor to support your upper body as it becomes more diagonal than vertical.
Just don’t let your abs relax, regardless of how far you stretch!
Addie Kelzer is a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. She believes that by making fitness and good food practical, her clients will hold the power to positively change their health and the health of those closest to them.