This is a fun, easy stretch for people with pain or tightness in their back, hips, glutes, IT-band, or knee. It’s also great for anyone who does a lot of sitting, standing, running, or cycling.
Stretching is an easy, simple way to maintain flexibility in soft tissue. Stretching won’t necessarily make pain in these areas go away, but it can help prevent pain from getting worse, and it is also useful to do in conjunction with massage or other bodywork to prolong the change created in the tissue.
This stretch targets the hip and low back muscles, of which there are quite a lot, but particularly the QL, IT band, or gluteus muscles will be involved. Different people may feel the stretch in different areas depending on which structures are tight in their body.
To stretch the right hip: Stand by something you can hold onto for support if needed. Then cross your right foot behind the left foot. Now simply stick out your right hip and gently let your torso hang over to the left until you feel some resistance in your right side.
If you feel like you can’t get enough stretch from that, try this variation:
Stand by a doorway, pole, or fence that you can grab on to and can support your body weight. Holding onto the edge of the doorway, cross your legs like before, but this time when you stick out your hip, allow the weight of your body to pull against the doorway. Lean away from the doorway until you feel the stretch in your hip.
Play with this. Try twisting or tilting your pelvis while in the stretch and see what different angles feel like.
Hold this stretch for as long as you feel is appropriate, going into and out of the stretch slowly. It’s always a good idea to warm up your body before doing a stretch, such as after exercising, a massage, or a hot shower.