I don’t know what it is, but when I’m pregnant my hips are always tight & achy (maybe the extra thousand pounds that keep piling on). I pulled up a past post about some of my “saving stretches” are those that center around the HIP COMPLEX. When I run, the hips are what I have to stretch the most…and again, when I don’t run & am pregnant, I still have to stretch them the most. [obviously I made these names up!]:
the “hug your leg” stretch -for this one you sit, lay one leg out straight and pull the other leg up to your chest. You can even cross your leg so your heel is touching the outside of the straight leg, then hug it up to you. Basically, with the leg you are hugging, move it around until you feel the stretch where you need it. [alterations: raise lower part of “hugged” leg up to for a 90 degree angle at the knee]
the “almost criss-cross style” stretch
-start by sitting ALMOST in criss-cross style. Instead of crossing your legs, put one in close and the other touching it, but not crossing. Then lean forward. It stretches my hips GOOD. You may have to move your feet closer or further from you to get the stretch you want. Push down on your knees to get an even better stretch.
-stand with legs crossed at the feet. Bend toward the leg in front (away from the leg behind!!). You shouldn't have to lean very far to feel it stretch your hip and down your leg (it will be stretching the behind leg). For some reason when I first tried this stretch it was hard for me to get to stretch anything. It’s just a matter of adjusting until you feel it stretch.
-I think this is also a yoga pose, but they gave it to us prego ladies in my birthing class (last pregnancy). LOVE IT! Stick one leg in front and one leg behind. Stretch out the leg behind you and straighten it as much as you can (don’t kill yourself!). Bend the one in front like in the picture (90 degree in front of you). In this stretch you are trying to keep your body in line. It’s almost like an easy version of the splits...but again, don’t hurt yourself!!
While pregnant, I like to do this one on the side of the bed…I stand on the leg that is stretched out behind in this picture, and put the bent leg on the bed & lean forward. A-mazing.
And there you have it! Those are my FAVORITE hip complex stretches, they work the butt, hips, IT band, etc. I do them mostly AFTER I run (and all during pregnancy), but also anytime I feel sore or tight. They really are miracle working stretches!
*ONE TIP: hold the stretches for at least 10 seconds. You can even hold it until the stretch doesn’t feel as strong as it did in the beginning. That will work your muscle receptors and make the stretch actually begin to relax the tight muscle.