This hips and hamstring stretch is all about the details

i amIf you’ve found yourself bending over or lying on the floor to give your aching hips and hamstrings some relief, you’re in good company. Thanks to a work culture that encourages long periods of sitting, these parts of the body in particular can become tense and inflamed, which can lead to feelings of pain just from being immobile. “Any type of repetitive stress can lead to inflammation, and that includes inactivity,” Jeff Brannigan, Stretch*D’s program director, previously told Well+Good. “Sitting all day, every day, is one of the worst things you can do to your body.” Brannigan explains that inactivity causes muscle fatigue, which causes your muscles to shorten. Enter: tight hips and hamstrings from sitting all day.

By now, you may be familiar with some tried-and-true hip and hamstring openers, such as the forward fold, runner’s lunge, pigeon, and figure four. In this latest episode well stretched, Clara Bainy of Good Day Pilates takes you through those stretches and more. You’ll start in a forward fold and then move into a downward dog. Next, you’ll go through a hip flexor lunge and alternate it with a hamstring stretch by straightening your front leg. A few pigeons and figure four stretches will get your entire lower body deep and finally a hip opening twist will loosen you up for the rest of your day.

What really takes this stretch to the next level, though, is the detail in the way Beanie instructs you to move your body. For example, in downward dog, he cues you to pedal your feet to get deeper into those hamstrings. While in the lunge, Benny shows you how to tuck your pelvis so you can extend your hips where you want, without straining your lower back.

He also points you to moments where to pause so you get the most out of a position, and he shows you how flexing your legs and extending your toes can have a ripple effect throughout your body. For example: “Maybe squeeze your right butt a little to increase the sensation through the front of the right hip,” says Benny during that hip stretch lunge. Who would have thought that?! There are delicious details.

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