If you’ve increased your dryland training recently, you might notice that your hips have become pretty tight. Tight hips can have numerous negative effects on your body:

  • Can affect your posture
  • Can cause improper form in dryland exercises
  • Can cause ongoing pain if not addressed

It’s important to be diligent about mobility work to ensure your body functions properly both on land and in the water! Check out one of our favorite hip stretches.

Technique Check: Figure 4 Stretch

  • Head relaxed: It’s common for people to crunch their heads up during this stretch, but that’s not necessary and can cause extra strain on your neck. Keep your neck long and head on the ground to help lengthen your spine.
  • Cross your ankle over your knee: Cross your right ankle over your left knee. Flex your right foot to protect your knee joint. If you feel any pain in your knees during this stretch, back off.
  • Pull your legs toward your chest: Grip behind your left thigh and pull your legs in until you feel a stretch. Keep your entire spine planted on the ground — don’t let your butt lift up!
  • Press your knee forward: When your legs are pulled in, press your right knee away from your body to intensify the stretch. 

Try 30-60 seconds on each leg after your workout, at least 2-3 times per week.

Modifications

If you’re feeling a really intense stretch, back off a bit! You should be able to hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds with a bit of discomfort, but no sharp pain. Try one of these modifications:

  • Don’t pull your knee to your chest. After crossing your right ankle over your left knee, try keeping your left foot planted on the ground. This might be just enough of a stretch for you.
  • Walk your planted foot away from your body. In the Figure 4 Stretch, the closer your legs are to your chest, the more intense the stretch. To reduce the intensity, place your ankle on your knee and slide your planted foot away from your butt until you find a comfortable stretch. 
  • Hug your knee to your chest. If the above modifications don’t work for you or if they bother your knees, try simply hugging your knee into your chest. Think about squeezing your knee to your armpit.

For more dryland training 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.

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