Our Four Favorite Stretches For Over Worked and Under Stretched Hips

Your deep 6 external hip rotators are a group of six muscles that lie deep to the gluteus maximus They attach form the hip to the femur and work to externally rotate the hip…obviously!

The deep 6 are a highly utilized set of muscles in the dance population. Because of this, they are prone to becoming tight and rigid. And If not properly stretched they can become a serious pain in the butt.

One particular muscle in the group, that you have likely heard of, is the Piriformis. It tends to get a lot of attention because when it becomes tight and aggravated it can create pain in your glutes, low back and even down the leg. And no one wants that…

Below are four of our favorite stretches for dancers with tight external hip rotators (so all dancers over the age of 10)! We recommend you do these stretches 2 – 3x per week to give your hips the love and release they need.

These stretches will target the piriformis along with the remaining 5 deep external hip external rotators. The outer hips (abductors), lateral thigh and lower back.

Performing these stretches regularly will get your hips moving through a healthy range of motion and restore balance. They will work to decrease pain and discomfort in your hips and lower back and even improve turnout…your welcome!

SO what are you waiting for? Roll out your yoga mat, put on some good music and give your hips the love and attention they need!

P.s. Make sure to warm up prior to stretching as well as breathe deep, stay calm and avoid force when doing your stretches. Click here, for more information on how to approach stretching,

Stretch 1 : Fire Log Pose

Steps

  1. Begin in Easy Seat.
  2. Cross your right shin directly over your left.
  3. Flex both ankles.
  4. Inhale – Lengthen your spine.
  5. Exhale – Walk your hands forward. Option to lower to your elbows.
  6. Breathe here for 4 – 5 rounds of breath = 30 seconds

Placement and Alignment

Do

  1. Engage your low belly and reach your tailbone back.
  2. Maintain a neutral spine to isolate the stretch to your outer hips.
  3. Gaze slightly forward of your fingers to maintain length in your cervical spine.
  4. Angle your elbows in towards one another to encourage length in your mid and upper back.
  5. Breathe deep.

Avoid

  1. Tension and force. Engage what you need. Relax what you don’t.
  2. Spinal flexion to isolate the stretch to your outer hips rather than your low back.
  3. Elevated shoulders. Slide your shoulder blades back and down. Close your front ribs.

Stretch 2 : Cow Face Pose Side Bend

Steps

  1. Begin in Easy Seat.
  2. Cross your right knee over your left.
  3. Flex both ankles.
  4. Plant your right palm on the mat in line with your right hip.
  5. Inhale – Externally rotate your left shoulder and reach your left arm towards the ceiling.
  6. Exhale – Side Bend to the right. Option to bring your right forearm to the mat.
  7. Breathe here for 4 – 5 rounds of breath = 30 seconds.

Placement and Alignment

Do

  1. Engage your pelvic floor muscles and low belly.
  2. Press your right leg against your left to anchor your left hip down.
  3. Maintain a neutral spine.
  4. Breathe deep.

Avoid

  1. Tension and force. Engage what you need. Relax what you don’t.
  2. Spinal flexion to isolate the stretch to your outer hips rather than your low back.
  3. Leaning forward or back.
  4. Elevated shoulders. Slide your shoulder blades back and down. Close your front ribs.

Stretch 3 : Seated Figure Four

Steps

  1. Begin in Easy Seat
  2. Extend your left leg out in front of you.
  3. Place your right ankle above your left knee.
  4. Inhale – Place your hands behind you and lengthen your spine.
  5. Exhale – Bend your left knee. Place the sole of your left foot on your mat.
  6. Externally rotate your right hip. Draw your right shin towards your chest.
  7. Flex your right ankle.
  8. Breathe here for 4 – 5 rounds of breath = 30 seconds.

Placement and Alignment

Do

  1. Engage your low belly.
  2. Maintain a neutral spine to isolate the stretch to your outer hip.
  3. Gaze forward and lengthen through the crown of your head.
  4. Breathe deep.

Avoid

  1. Tension and force. Engage what you need. Relax what you don’t.
  2. Spinal flexion to isolate the stretch to your outer hip rather than your low back.
  3. Elevated shoulders. Slide your shoulder blades back and down. Close your front ribs.

Stretch 4 : Half Pigeon Prep

Steps

  1. Begin in Table Pose.
  2. Exhale – Low Lunge. Step your right foot forward. Tuck your left toes. Lift your knee.
  3. Inhale – Heel toe your right foot over to the left.
  4. Lower your right shin to your mat. Flex your right ankle. Keep your back toes tucked.
  5. Plant your right palm forward of your right knee. Left palm forward of your right ankle.
  6. Draw your right hip back and your left hip forward.
  7. Exhale – Straighten your right knee. Lift your hips. Fold forward.
  8. Come to the pinky edge side of your right foot. Maintain length in your spine.
  9. Inhale – Bend your right knee and lower your shin back to your mat.
  10. Lift your chest forward and up. Relax your glutes.
  11. Repeat 3 – 5x.

Placement and Alignment

Do

  1. Flex your right ankle to protect your front knee.
  2. Engage your low belly.
  3. Draw your right hip back and your left hip forward to deepen the stretch in your outer hip and hip flexors.
  4. Breathe deep.

Avoid

  1. Tension and force. Engage what you need. Relax what you don’t.
  2. External rotation and abduction of your back hip.
  3. Elevated shoulders. Slide your shoulder blades back and down.

For the love of dance education!

xo