Loosen those hips

Back pain can often be the result of very tight gluteal muscles. So we all need to stretch our hips. This is true for athletic people and for those who are sedentary. Here are two variations of stretches that will help you develop more flexibility in your outer hip muscles.

-- Karen Voight

1 Stand arms’ length away from a sturdy chair. Facing the back of the chair, balance on your left leg as you bend your right knee and place your right ankle across your left thigh (just above the knee). Reach forward and rest your hands on the top of the chair. Maintaining a straight back, hinge forward at the hips and bend your left knee. Sit your hips back until you feel a deep stretch in your right outer hip. Hold for 3 breaths. Continue on to the next variation to intensify the stretch, or release your leg and repeat on the other side.

2 Move your hands down to the seat of the chair and bend your left knee a little deeper. Keep pressing your right knee away from your chest as you bring your chest closer to the right shin bone. Be sure your neck is in a neutral position and in line with your spine. Hold for three breaths, slowly raise your upper body, move your hands to the top of the chair again and release the right leg down. Repeat on the other side.



Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including “Sleek Essentials.”