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The Standing Figure-Four Stretch for Your Hips

Sydney Articles 6 Comments

I’m never sure how to start these posts, as I don’t want to sound trite, especially right now. But I do hope you’re doing well and finding creative ways to move your body, even if it’s merely changing the position in which you spend the most time watching TV!

And while I am kinda joking about the TV watching, it really is true that when it comes to body wellness, variety is the key.

No exaggeration—changing how you use your body the most, e.g., lying on your left side vs. your right, crossing the left leg instead of the right when seated, stretching your arms overhead throughout the day, or even changing the angle you look at your phone, all make a big difference.

Your body adapts to the way you use it most, and changing your most frequently used positions helps prevent adapting to the form of a chair, or the lying-on-the-couch-on-your-right-side shape!

It’s also another great way to make positive change without adding more designated exercise time to your day. Just sayin’.

I won’t go too far down this particular rabbit hole, but I do want to show you a way to change up a super common stretch that will bring fresh and bright benefits to your hips!

The last two videos I shared focused on strengthening your hips. In my opinion, those exercises are some of the most functional and beneficial you can practice, but the last thing I want to do is encourage you to ONLY build strength, especially if your hips are tight.

In today’s video, you’ll learn a simple variation of a common stretch to add to your hip strengthening repertoire.

When muscles and soft tissue get congested and bound up, it inhibits your ability to move with ease. This leads to compensation patterns, which result in discomfort and even pain.

Your pelvis is your locomotion center, and a lot is happening behind the scenes here to keep you upright and walking. The exercise in this video encourages movement in and increases blood flow to your pelvis.

And while it is a variation of the common Figure-Four Stretch, this version is standing up (or seated in a chair), so it reaches slightly different muscle fibers/fascia which the lying down version might miss.

This stretch doesn’t mean you need to give up the original version of the Figure-Four; it just amps up the benefits you’ll receive by adding variety with a standing version.

I hope you enjoy the video and if you have any questions or comments, please post them below.

Sending lots of love your way!

Sydney

P.S. We’re still offering 30-day complimentary access to all of the Pilates Tonic Online classes over at https://www.pilatestoniconline.com/membership where we are adding new videos regularly—see you online!

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Comments 6

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      Hi Orlando, Thirty seconds is a good amount of time to aim for, but hold longer if it feels like you could benefit by doing so. On the other end, if you can’t maintain the alignment points, or it’s too intense, hold for less time. Thanks for your question!

  1. Hi Sydney, nice to meet you! Thank you so much for this timely stretch. Working at home and sitting for many hours, this was perfect timing. Your detailed description and the many variations was second to none. I have a few limitations (arthritis) so each variation was so helpful. I’ve watched many videos on stretching and this was by far the best demo for this hip opener. take care, stay safe and at home…

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  2. Wow, in all my years of stretching, no one has ever pointed out that my knee should remain over my ankle. And what a difference that makes!

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