If most of your day involves sitting at a desk or in a car, you may know too well the discomfort and pain that can come with tight hips. Having tight hips can limit your range of motion leaving you debilitated and making mundane tasks unusually difficult.
However, there’s a simple stretch that can help alleviate hip tightness and improve your overall mobility: the butterfly stretch.
The butterfly stretch is a simple yet effective stretch that targets the hip flexors and adductors (inside of thighs).
How to do a butterfly stretch
To perform a butterfly stretch:
- Sit on the floor or a mat with the bottom of your feet pressing into each other.
- To intensify your current position, bring your feet closer to your hips.
- Elongate and straighten your spine, while also engaging your core.
- With each inhale, lengthen your spine and use your core to push energy through the top of your head.
- With each exhale, press both your knees down to the floor/mat relax or sink a bit more deeply into the stretch.
- Hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
Benefits of a butterfly stretch
Butterfly stretches are such a simple exercise and the intensity of this movement can gradually be increased. They are great to do before or after your workout, or even throughout the day. It’s an effective exercise to do to open up stiff hips, lengthen the adductor muscles, and even improve your posture.
Check out even more benefits:
- They lessen tight hips: Your hip muscles may be extremely prone to tightness due to constant sitting and this can cause your hip muscles to shorten. Butterfly stretches counteract this shorting and stiffness by forcing them to lengthen and open up. When you press your knees wide, you’re expanding your body laterally, contrary to the plane of motion we’ve been accustomed to of sitting, walking, and running.
- Helps you function: Lengthening tight hips via the butterfly stretch can make everyday activities a bit easier. Our hips help us walk, run, jump, and sit. Basically, almost every motion of movement involves our hips. So the better your hips are operating, the better your entire body will function.
- Stretches multiple muscles: The butterfly stretch not only stretches the hips but inner thigh adductor muscles, the groin, and lower back muscles.
- Increased flexibility: Stretching trains your muscles to stay lengthened and durable, which develops your overall flexibility. Also, research shows that stretching can help extend the range of motion in your joints and increase their pliability.
- Improved posture: Having muscle imbalances like tight hips can lead to poor posture and lower back pain. The butterfly stretch, among other valuable stretches, can help restore those imbalances normalizing your body’s ability to hold itself upright.
Tips for enhancing the butterfly stretch
Here are a few suggestions you can implement to upgrade the quality of your butterfly stretch:
- It’s crucial to progressively open up your hips, especially if you’re not used to stretching.
- Be gentle and use slow movements. Avoid pushing yourself beyond your natural limits, especially if you feel a sudden extremely sharp sensation.
- If you notice that you’re sinking more to one side, or putting too much pressure on one side particularly; pause and adjust yourself and start again. We all have natural imbalances and one side of your hips may be tighter than the other. It’s important to apply pressure evenly to negate a further imbalance.
- If you have a groin, hip, or knee injury, support your thighs and knees with a cushion or yoga block.
- Concentrate on taking slow and deep breaths. This will help you move more deeply into the stretch.
The butterfly stretch is a simple yet effective movement that can help unlock tight hips and improve your overall mobility.
Add this stretch into your daily routine and combine it with other exercises and techniques, that can reduce hip tightness, alleviate pain, and increase your quality of life.
For additional mobility exercises that alleviate tension from your hips, check this page out.
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No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other licensed clinicians.
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