Wrap up a workout with hip openers

Karen Voight / Chicago Tribune

The more active and fit you are, the more you need to put time and attention into stretching your hips.

Here are two simple ways to target the hardworking muscles in your buttocks. Not only are these stretches effective, but they feel great after a tough workout.

1. Lie face up on a padded surface or yoga mat with both knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Bring your right leg toward you and wrap your right elbow (or wrist) under your right upper calf and your left elbow (or wrist) under your right ankle.

Keeping your hips and shoulders on the floor, externally rotate your right thigh away from you as you gently move your right ankle toward you. Slide your left leg straight out in front of you. Pause and breathe in the pose for three breaths.

2. Bend your left leg and rest your right ankle just above your left knee. Move your right arm through the space between your legs and clasp your hands around your shin (or behind the thigh if your hips are tight).

Flex both feet and gently pull your left knee closer to your chest as your right knee pushes away from you. Hold for 1 to 2 minutes. Release your arms, return to the start position and repeat on the other side.

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