Hip stretches included on this page can be used to stretch hip flexors, hip extensors, adductors and abductors.
A simple stretch for the hip extensors is low lunge. In this case the hip extensors of the front leg are stretched. This pose could also be also be used as a gentle stretch for the hip flexors of the rear leg.
You could also use low lunge to strengthen your shoulders and arms, for example by bending your arms push-up style to sink your chest.
A fun variation of low lunge is with the front foot turned out as in this glute stretch. It stretches the side of the hip quite strongly. Other glute stretches can be done while sitting or lying on the back.
In most cases, glute stretches work on the back of the hip with the leg externally rotated. This can also target the piriformis.
The adductors are the muscles along the inner thigh. They generally work to pull the leg inwards and so to stretch them you can move the leg outwards.
Note that even though these muscles extend down the length of the inner thigh, they mainly work on the hip hip joint. Exceptions to this are muscles like the gracilis and sartorius, which though colocated with the adductors, cross the knee joint and so aren't, strictly speaking, hip muscles.
(If you do want to stretch these muscles at the same time as you stretch the inner thigh hip muscles, then make your knee strong as well as straight.
The abductors (which move the legs outwards and generally include gluteus medius and gluteus minimus) are situated between the top of the pelvis and the top of the thigh bone at the side of the pelvis.
Fibers of the gluteus maximus that attach to the Iliotibial tract as well as the tensor fascia latae muscle which also attach to this band of connective tissue are both positioned close to the gluteus minimus and medius.
To stretch these muscles along with the pure hip adductors, again it can help to make the knee(s) both straight and actively stable.
Another way to stretch the lateral glutes is to stand with the legs crossed, both knees straight and then bend over. Push the hips to one side of the other to increase the stretch.
You can also do this outer hip stretch with one leg (the front one) bent.
For extra fun and excitement, and to exercise the adductors of the straight leg, try lifting the straight leg foot (not shown).
You can do this with hands on the floor (which can be helpful when getting into the pose) or with hands lifted.
There are various methods for stretching the hips actively. The techniques in the Active Stretching and Muscle Control For Better Flexibility ebooks involve techniques for activating hip flexors or extensors to move the thighs relative to the pelvis.
In the Simple Hip Control Exercises video the focus is on using the hip flexors and extensors to move the pelvis relative to the thighs.
Why improve muscle control?
Muscle control not only helps you to control your body, it also helps you to feel it.
Muscle activation creates the tension that not only moves your body, but helps you to "sense" it.
With better muscle control you can use your body with less effort and make it easier to balance, improve flexibility and deal with pain and poor posture.