The massage therapist hip stretch routine is designed to help open your fascial networks and maintain your mobility between FST sessions, pre- and post-workout, and to enhance recovery. These stretches focus primarily on the hips and core.
Stretch 1 has two parts: This move is called the Core 4 and is an effective way to open up the entire mass of glute tissue.
Sit in side-sitting posture with a tall spine and hands on either side of your knee. Exhale and fold over your knee fanning to the left and to the right to clear restricted myofascia. Try slowly tucking in your chin at the bottom of the movement to floss your sciatic nerve.
Place your forearm down in-line with your hip to allow for hip extension. Inhale your top arm up next to your ear as you slowly rotate and pull through next to your down arm like a swim stroke with an exhale. Create space from your thigh to your ribs.
Stretch 2 has two parts: Here we use a lunge to provide hip extension, spine and rib movement, and knee flexion to open the front line of myofascia.
Begin in a lunge and inhale your arm up next to your ear using your core to move your hips deeper into hip extension. Try side-bending and rotational patterns with your torso to free more fascial restrictions. Remember to stay tall and breathe into the area you are stretching.
Next, only if attainable without overusing the hamstring muscle, grab your back foot by bending your knee. Maintain a strong core without hyperextending your lower back. Use the same arm movements as above as you release further into the lunge. A wall is also a great tool here for the back foot to rest upon, also known as the couch stretch.
Stretch 3 has 3 parts: Use a strap to anchor your foot and create space in your hip capsule, IT Band, hamstring, and back line of myofascia.
On your back, place the strap on the ball of your foot and straighten your leg. Make sure both hips are on the ground and your other leg is straight on the ground. It’s very important that you are square in the hips and not changing the tilt of your pelvis into a posterior tilt as this will place the emphasis on your lower back and not the hip-hamstring-calf line of tissue. Notice how my arm is straight using only my hand grip and the weight of my arms with no bicep pull. My chin is gently tucked in to elongate my spine.
Move from a straight position over your hip to abduction to open the inside of your thigh. I recommend using the same side hand to then reach out with your opposite arm to counterbalance your weight. Be aware of too much stretching at the inside of your knee at the pes anserine tendon.
Finally cross your leg over your body to open the outside of your thigh, IT Band, lateral hip, and spine. Use the opposite hand here for leverage.
The massage therapist hip stretch routine can be used as an addition to your cool-down routine to provide space and range of motion in the hips within a short amount of time. Remember to breathe throughout each stretch/movement and to NOT push into pain zones. The phrase “no pain, no gain” does NOT apply to stretching as it will increase your nervous system response and your chance of injury. With stretching, it’s always better to slowly add flexibility daily over time versus one intense bout expecting quick and sudden results.