Home » Health » Muscle Building

Stretch Away Stiffness

Sandra Prior
Aug 31, 2008
Muscles Worked

1. Gluteus Maximus
2. Gluteus medius hip flexors
3. Psoas Major
4. Illacus

How to do it

Kneel on all fours on a yoga mat, with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Slide your right knee forward until it's close to your right wrist (your shin will be at a 45 degree angle to the front of your mat), and flex your foot. Extend your left leg behind you, with your toes pointed. Lower hips towards the floor, keeping them level.

Walk your hands forward, and lower your torso until you feel tension in the right side of your bum. Rest on your hands or forearms, or put your forehead on the floor. Hold for five breaths, then walk hands back to right leg. Switch sides.

Tip: If one hip won't reach the floor, place a folded blanket underneath it so your hips are supported and stay level.

The Pay Off

You use your glutes and hip flexors (the muscles along the front of your hips) for nearly every daily activity. When you're overworked, they can tighten up, making your lower body feel stiff and even leading to back pain. End every day - or workout - with this pigeon pose to help release tension in those muscles and lose that stiff feeling for good.

For Best Results

Repeat this stretch once or twice.
If your hips are really tight, stay on your hands when you lean forward. Progress to resting on your forearms and then to resting with your forehead on the floor. To make it more challenging, hold the pose for up to five minutes on each side.

Mistakes to Avoid

Don't tighten up your shoulders. This creates tension in your upper body, making it more difficult to get into the pose.
Don't rest your back foot on its side, which can strain your knee's ligaments.
Don't force yourself into position, doing so could strain your hips or knees. Instead, with each exhalation, sink a little deeper into the stretch.
About the Author
Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at http://bodybuild.rr.nu.
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