15-Minute Pilates Hip and Hamstring Stretching Routine

When I watch fitness teachers work out on Instagram, especially those in the yoga, Pilates, or barre realm, they look to be a completely different species of human. Their bodies are flexible, but mine is a tightly coiled bundle of tensed muscles that spends nearly all of its time crouched over a laptop. And, despite the fact that I make an effort to move every day, stretching is often the last thing on my mind (it doesn’t, after all, help me get my booty up and tight, so pass). But it’s crucial to stretch your body on a regular basis, and Chloe de Winter of Go Chlo Pilates shares a really juicy Pilates stretch exercise meant to enhance flexibility on the latest edition of Good Moves.

“Today I’m going to take you through a really wonderful session—we’re going to perform a hip and hamstring stretch and mobility session,” she explains. “If you want to be more flexible and open, this is an excellent one to repeat every day.”

She says that hip flexors become stiff for a variety of reasons. “The most common cause is a lot of sitting,” she adds, “because when we sit, the muscles that cross the front of the thigh and the front of the hip joint are shortened.” They stiffen up while they’re in this position for an extended amount of time. “Also, a lot of Pilates, a lot of tabletop work, will tighten your hip flexors, so it’s crucial to include regular hip flexor stretching as part of your weekly movement practise,” she says.

When it comes to hamstrings, she says that some people are born with tight hammies. This can be a frustrating disadvantage, but according to de Winter, you can adjust your hamstring length and flexibility with time. “It’s just a lot of labour,” she explains. “If you watch this video every day, you’ll see a difference.”

I recommend pressing play even if you’re not sold on spending your (likely limited) workout time on a series of stretches. De Winter’s series of exercises appear to be so relaxing that you might find it impossible to resist the routine. Just in case, I recommend rolling out your mat before previewing.

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