Flexibility in the hip extensors is important to a healthy lifestyle and can help prevent injury to your legs and lower body. Exercises such as walking, running or jogging require you to use your hip extensor muscles. Stretching these muscles--the gluteus maximus, hamstrings and adductor magnus--can help prevent lower back pain and improve your overall quality of life.
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Kneeling Hamstring Stretch
The Stretching Handbook notes that this is a safe stretch that can be performed by people who are not used to stretching the muscles of the hamstring. Kneel on one knee and straighten the knee of the other leg out in front of you. Keep the heel of the outstretched leg on the ground. Point the toes of the outstretched leg toward the ceiling. Reach out with one hand toward the toes of the outstretched foot. You should feel this stretch in the back of the outstretched leg and buttocks. The Stretching Handbook recommends holding this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
Seated Hip Extensor Stretch
Sit on the floor with one leg outstretched in front of you. Bend the knee of the other leg and place the foot of the leg on the inner thigh of the outstretched leg. Place the sole of the foot as close to your pelvis as possible. Keep your lower back as straight as possible and lower your chest over the outstretched leg while reaching out with the hands to touch the foot of the outstretched leg. You should feel this stretch in the buttocks and hamstrings of the outstretched leg. Repeat this stretch with both legs. The physical therapy website PTClinic.com recommends holding this stretch for 30 seconds on each leg and repeating four times a day.
Standing Hip Extensor Stretch with Stool
This stretch requires a low stool to complete. Stand with one leg on the floor and one leg outstretched with the heel of the outstretched leg on a low stool approximately 1 foot off the ground. Keep the knee of the outstretched leg as straight as possible while leaning down, as if trying to touch your chest to the knee of the outstretched leg. PTClinic recommends keeping the knee of the outstretched leg as straight as possible while performing this stretch.
Lying Figure-4 Stretch
To stretch your glutes, lie back on an exercise mat, bend your knees 45 degrees and place your feet flat on the mat. Lift your right leg and cross the lower part of this leg over your left thigh to form the number "4" with your legs. Wrap both hands around the back of your left thigh, near the back of your knee, and pull your left leg toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your glutes. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, relax and repeat two more times. Switch your legs and repeat.