Hip mobility is important for a variety of reasons, both in the pool and in your daily life. Tight hips impede proper muscular function, leading to imbalances and improper form in both swimming and dryland exercises. A lack of hip flexibility can also contribute to poor posture and lower back pain.
Proper hip mobility helps you develop a strong, efficient kick, especially in long-axis strokes like freestyle and backstroke. Check out one of our favorite stretches for the hips and quadriceps (front of the thigh)!
How To: Hip Flexor Stretch
- Kneel on the ground: Try to maintain a 90º angle with both legs.
- Tuck your pelvis under: Don’t arch your back. If you were to look in a mirror, your back should be nice and flat from your shoulders down to your tailbone. Doing this could give you a pretty good stretch by itself!
- Reach up: If your right knee is on the ground, reach up to the ceiling with your right hand. As you inhale, reach a little higher. Exhale and hold. Don’t let your shoulder shrug up to your ear!
- Lean forward slightly: If your pelvis is tucked, you shouldn’t need to lean forward too much to feel a nice stretch. If you’d like, lean forward a tiny bit during each exhale, leading with your chest.
We recommend stretching after all of your workouts for at least a few minutes. Try holding this stretch for 30-40 seconds on each side. If you’d like to open up your hips before your workout, try 15-20 seconds per side.
Related: 34 Stretches to Stay Young & Healthy
- Add some padding: If it’s uncomfortable to place your knee on the ground, try putting it on a pillow or a rolled up towel.
- Try stretching standing up: If it’s not possible for you to get down on one knee, you can still benefit from this stretch! Simply stand with one foot in front of the other, about 2 feet apart. Tuck your pelvis, shift forward and you should feel a nice stretch in the front of your back leg!
Related: How to Do Cobra Pose
For more stretching tips and guidance, download the MySwimPro app! Our library of more than 170 technique videos includes stretches to help you improve mobility and encourage proper form while you’re in the pool.