Three Band Stretches for Hip Flexibility
Most athletes, martial artists and fitness aficionados use a wide variety of different stretches, both static and dynamic, to help develop the flexibility they need to reach their potential. Incorporating rubber band stretches into your routine as well can help you further improve your flexibility gains. This is particularly true for loosening up your hips, a crucial aspect of flexibility and injury prevention for virtually every type of physical activity.
When first using an elastic band to loosen your hips, you should begin by lying flat on a padded surface with one foot against a wall or similar solid surface. This will help prevent that leg from moving while you stretch the other leg. For each stretch, make sure you spend equal time targeting each leg to ensure that your flexibility develops evenly.
Stretch # 1
Begin by wrapping the band around your foot, then gripping it by either side so you can pull your elbows towards the floor. Pull down on the band, putting pressure on your leg and bending your knee until your hip is as close to your chest as possible. Keeping your arms stationary and maintaining constant pressure on both sides of the bend, press your heel straight up as if you were doing a leg press. The more tension on the band, the greater the stretch you should feel in your hip and hamstring. Return to the starting position to complete the rep.
Stretch # 2
For the second stretch, begin with the band wrapped around your foot again. This time, instead of pulling it straight down, pass it behind your head on the same side as the leg you are stretching (if you are stretching your left leg, pass it behind the left side of your head until you can grip it with your right hand). Press your heel straight to the side against the tension from the band, trying to keep your leg no more than a few inches from the floor, then return to the starting position.
Stretch # 3
Finally, begin with the same band position around your foot. This time, pass it behind your head on the opposite side from the leg you are stretching; therefore, if you are stretching your left leg, pass it behind the right side of your head until you can grip it with your left hand). Press your heel straight to the side, in the opposite direction from the last stretch. Your left leg, then, would cross over the top of the right leg while being stretched, and the right leg would cross over the top of the left leg while being stretched.
What means of stretching do you prefer?
Try to perform three sets of ten reps of each stretch on each leg at least three times per week. Together, these three stretches will help you make dramatic gains in your hip flexibility, improving your mobility both standing and on the ground; the speed, power and accuracy of your kicks; the smoothness of your footwork and so on.