How to Stretch the Hip and Lower Back

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Hip and Lower Back Stretch
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Also Known As: Low lunge twist stretch

Targets: Hip flexors, psoas, lower back

Level: Beginner

This stretch for the lower back and hips combines a lunge position with a static twist. It is a simple way to open the hips. Many people have tight hamstrings and hip flexors because of a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for long periods leads to tight muscles, even if you still make time for workouts and sports. It is a good stretch for cyclists and golfers. You can use this stretch as part of a stretching and flexibility routine to help you maintain your range of motion. This stretch is similar to the yoga pose Crescent Low Lunge Twist.

Benefits

There are many exercises used to stretch the hip flexors and the psoas muscles (pronounced "so-as") that connect directly to the lumbar vertebrae where lower back pain occurs. When the psoas muscle is tight, it compresses the vertebrae and the discs of the spine, which can aggravate lower back issues and cause pain.

Those who sit at a desk for long periods are prone to hip and lower back pain. The sitting position causes one muscle group to shorten, while the opposing group lengthens to compensate. Extended periods in that position cause these muscles to become underactive, while the opposing muscles become overactive, leading to muscle imbalance. Tight hip flexors and hamstrings have been shown to contribute significantly to lower back pain, and stretching helps counteract this.

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Watch Now: The Best Hip And Lower Back Stretch

Step-by-Step Instructions

You can perform this stretch anywhere you have a surface where you can kneel comfortably and have room to extend your arms.

  • Begin in a forward lunge position with your right leg forward. Drop your left knee to the ground.
  • Place your right elbow on the inside of your right knee.
  • Press your right elbow gently into your right knee and twist your torso to the left.
  • Reach your left arm behind you until you feel a gentle stretch in your lower back and right groin.
  • Hold the stretch for about 20-30 seconds, release and repeat on the other leg.

Common Mistakes

Don't Stretch Cold Muscles

This stretch should be done after you have warmed up your muscles by doing some brisk walking and other physical activity.

Knee Position

Be sure to keep your forward knee over or behind your ankle. Don't let your knee extend in front of your ankle as this stresses the knee.

Do Not Bounce

Stretches should always be performed without jerky motions or bouncing as that can lead to small muscle tears and further muscle imbalances. Aim always to use smooth movements when you stretch.

Don't Force It

Pay attention to your body and don't force a stretch. Go only through your range of motion and apply mild pressure to extend it.

Don't Hold Your Breath

Inhale and exhale normally through your stretch.

Modifications and Variations

Need a Modification?

This exercise combines a lunge with a twist, which might be difficult for some people to perform correctly at the same time. You can modify this by doing the two moves separately. A standing lunge stretch will target the psoas and hip flexors. For the back, you can do a spinal twist lying down.

Up for a Challenge?

To deepen this stretch, do not kneel with the rear leg but keep the back knee off the ground in a typical lunge position.

Safety and Precautions

If you feel any pain, come out of this stretch gently. This pose is not recommended if you have a knee or back injury.

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

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