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Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: 3-legged dog hip circles.

Many of us deal with tight hips – especially if we’ve been sitting down all day or doing intense workouts. Hip-openers like child’s pose and bound angle pose are great to release tension in the hips but if you’re also looking to build strength, our favourite is 3-legged dog hip circles.

This pose is often used during a yoga practice to stretch out the hips in a downward dog position, but it’s also a great pose to do outside of a yoga class.  

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What are 3-legged dog hip circles?

The 3-legged dog hip circle is a stretch that involves making circles with your hips from a downward dog position.

It’s great because:

It increases flexibility: many of us have tight hips and hip circles are a great hip-openers to ease any tightness and pain in the hips and also increase hip flexibility.

It strengthens the upper body: downward dog is a weight-bearing pose, so it’s great for building strength in your shoulders and arms.

It improves circulation in the body: downward dog is a gentle inversion that can stimulate blood flow in the body, which is great if you’ve been sitting down all day. 

What muscles do 3-legged dog hip circles work?

3-legged dog hip circles target so many muscles in the body, including:

  • Hip flexors
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Quad
  • Core 

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How to do 3-legged dog hip circles

  1. Start off in a tabletop position and come into a downward facing dog by lifting your knees and pushing the hips back and up. Make sure your palms are pressed firmly into the mat, with your fingers spread wide.
  2. Shift your weight to your right foot and lift your left leg up in the air, bending your left knee and opening up the hip.
  3. Make three, big circles with your left knee, rotating them in one direction.
  4. Release the left foot down on the mat. Bring your knees to the mat and come back to a tabletop position.
  5. Repeat on the right side.  

Images: Stylist

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