Your pelvic floor muscles provides support for your visceral organs, which include the urinary bladder and the lower intestines, according to Anthony Carey, owner and co-founder of San Diego physical-therapy practice Function First. They also control your continence and, in women, assist in birth. The pelvic floor muscles are located beneath your pelvis, working with other hip muscles to keep the pelvis from moving excessively during movement, such as kicking or running. Stretching these muscles alleviates stiffness and improves hip mobility, which can help prevent back and hip pain.
Lie on your back and place the soles of your feet together. Place a folded bath towel beneath your head. Bring your heels as close to your groin as possible. Place your arms at your sides with your palms facing up.
Relax your knees as you feel the stretch in your inner thighs and in your groin. Breath deeply eight to 10 times.
Bring your knees up together, and straighten your legs with your knees and feet together. Repeat the exercise one more time.
Hip Rotator Stretch
Lie on your back and place your feet on a wall. Place your knees and feet about hip-distance apart and your arms out to your sides. Bend your knees and hips about 90 degrees.
Cross your right ankle over your left knee. Keep your pelvis still as you cross. Press your right knee toward the wall by using your hip muscles, not your hand.
Hold the stretch in the hips for eight to 10 deep breaths. Return to starting position and repeat the stretch on the opposite hip.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, and place your head and back against the wall. Spread your legs out to the sides as wide as you can until you feel a stretch in your groin and inner thighs.
Flex your feet and toes toward your body. Place your hands on the floor in front of you while keep your back and head against the wall.
Slowly walk your hands forward and bend forward at your hips. Keep your spine straight; do not round it. Hold the stretch for four to five deep breaths, and slowly go back to the starting position. Repeat the exercise three to four times.
Add pelvic strength exercises to your stretching routine, such as floor bridges, squats, and step-ups. This will make your pelvic floor muscles strong and flexible.
Never over-stretch your muscles and joints, as you could cause a stretch reflex that makes them tighter and painful. This is a protective mechanism to avoid muscle tears and injury.