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5 BEST Hip Flexor Stretches

Loosen tight hips in just 10 minutes with this dynamic hip flexor stretching routine at home. These are 5 of the best hip flexor stretches to relieve hip pain and reduce lower back pain!

Struggle with tight, painful hip flexors? Or just want better range of motion in your squats and lunges?

Whether you have a sedentary or active lifestyle, these five hip flexor exercises will benefit both beginners and advanced athletes.

Why Are My Hip Flexors Tight?

Your hip flexor muscles are the group of muscles near the top of your thighs, including: rectus femoris, iliacus, psoas, iliocapsularis, and sartorius muscles.

These muscles let you do everyday activities like walk, run, kick and bend to pick things up.

There are many reasons you might experience tight hip flexors, including: 

  • Sitting at a computer all day. Long periods of sitting can lead to shortening of the hip flexor muscles, causing tightness and pain.
  • Participating in sports/physical activities that largely rely on the hip flexors. Tight hip flexors are most common in runners and dancers.
  • Weak core muscles. Your hip flexors tend to jump in and try to ‘take over’ the work of stabilizing your pelvis and core if your core muscles aren’t strong enough. Hence why people often feel their hip flexors taking over during ab workouts.

Tight hip flexors can be uncomfortable on their own, but also can cause secondary issues like lower back pain, hip pain, and injury. Physical therapist suggest the best way to prevent injury is to stretch your hip flexors regularly.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch | 5 how to stretch your hip flexors

What Are the Benefits of Hip Flexor Stretches?

  • Increase active range of motion (ROM) and flexibility
  • Avoid hip flexor strains and injuries
  • Improve posture
  • Prevent and heal back pain
  • Decrease sore muscles
  • Improve strength training and athletic performance (hello deeper squats + lunges)

There are so many benefits to improved hip mobility which is why we recommend adding these 5 hip flexor stretches to your weekly routine one to three times a week.

Why Can Hip Stretches and Stretching Feel Uncomfortable?

Strength training workouts and HIIT workouts contract major muscle groups (shortening the muscles). Whereas, yoga and stretching workouts lengthen the muscles.

So if you have tight muscles from strength training, it’s important to ACTIVELY keep your body from tensing up as you hold each stretch. Focus on taking deep breaths, and breathing into each stretching exercise. Think about “releasing” the tension and stiffness in each muscle group.

Note: Stretching may feel uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t feel painful. If you feel a stretch causing pain, pull back from the stretch and lessen the range of motion to modify each pose until you gain more flexibility and mobility.

Hip Opening Stretches | The World's Greatest Stretch for tight hip flexors

How to Stretch Hip Flexors: 10-Minute Hip Flexor Stretch Routine

This stretching routine is for anyone looking to:

  • Loosen Tight Hip Flexors
  • Gain Flexibility
  • Increase Range of Motion
  • Prevent Injury

Strengthening and protecting your joints takes time and consistency (just like building muscle).

Add these five hip flexor stretches to your training routine one to three times a week.

Stretch Routine Equipment:

No equipment, just your bodyweight and yoga mat (affiliate).

Stretch Routine Instructions:

Click here to follow along with the 10-Minute Hip Flexor Stretch Routine video on YouTube, led by personal trainer Lindsey Bomgren. 

I’ll coach you through the 5 best hip flexor stretches, providing form cues and modifications.

The Hip Flexor Stretch Routine Looks Like This:

  • 5 Hip Flexor Stretches
  • Hold or move through each stretch for 45 seconds, follow by a 15 second transition between stretches
  • Repeat all 5 hip flexor stretches x 2 sets (switching sides as needed)
How to loosen tight hip flexors | 10 Minute Stretch Routine

5 Best Hip Flexor Stretches to Decrease Pain

  1. Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch, R/L
  2. Spiderman Hip Stretch, R/L
  3. 90/90 Hip Stretch + Switch
  4. Side Pretzel Hip and Quad Stretch, R/L
  5. Lying Knee to Chest Pulls, R/L

1. Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Targets: Hips, hip flexors, groin, quads, glutes, low back and core.

Note, this hip flexor stretch is about the anterior pelvic tilt, not how far you can push your hips forward. Do not hyperextend your back or dump the hips.

half kneeling hip flexor stretch | best stretches for tight hip flexors

How to do a Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch:

  1. Start in a low lunge position with your right leg forward, right foot planted on the ground and left leg back. Left knee on the ground behind you, back left toes tucked under.
  2. Square your hips to the front by tucking your tailbone. Your right knee and left knee should be at a 90-degree angle (you don’t need to lean forward).
  3. Option to raise both arms directly overhead.
  4. To further intensify the stretch, you have the option to raise your left knee off the mat and find a low lunge position (squeezing your glutes).
  5. Hold the stretch for about 45 seconds, release and repeat on the left leg during the next set.

2. Spiderman Hip Stretch

Targets: Hips (abductors), hip flexors, groin, quads, glutes, hamstrings and low back.

The Spiderman stretch is also known as ‘the world’s greatest stretch’!

spiderman hip stretch | the world's greatest stretch

How to do the Spiderman Hip Stretch:

  1. Start in a low lunge position with your right leg forward, right foot planted on the ground and left leg back. Left knee on the ground behind you, back left toes tucked under.
  2. Square your hips to the front by tucking your tailbone.
  3. Place both hands flat on the mat. Right hand inside your right foot.
  4. Gently rock your hips forward, thinking about dropping your left hip flexor to the mat in front of you while your right knee drives out to open your right hip flexor. Option to raise your back left knee off the mat. Left hand stays planted on the mat.
  5. Then, gently rock your hips back, straightening your front right leg while finding a 90-degree angle in your back leg (half splits stretch).
  6. Continue to rock the hips forward and back for 45 seconds, release and repeat on the other leg during the next set.

3. 90/90 Hip Stretch + Switch

Targets: The muscles around the hip joint — glutes, piriformis, psoas, hip flexors, hip abductors and hip adductors.

A great stretch for both internal hip rotation AND external hip rotation. 

90/90 hip stretch to release tight hips

How to do a 90/90 Hip Stretch + Switch:

  1. Start in a seated position, right leg in front of you, left leg behind you and both legs bent at 90 degrees. Create some distance between your front right heel and your back left knee.
  2. Right shin is parallel to left shin (flat on the floor). Slowly lean forward, directly over your right shin (avoid leaning toward your right knee, lean directly into the middle of your shin).
  3. Think about driving your right knee and left knee into the mat at the same time as you hold this stretch. Hold this position for a few seconds.
  4. With each exhale, bring your chest closer to the floor.
  5. Then, shift to the other side so that your left leg is parallel in front of you, right leg behind you. Slowly lean forward, directly over your left shin, stretching the left outer glute and opening the right inner hip.

4. Side Pretzel Hip and Quad Stretch

Targets: Quadricep muscles, outer glutes, hip flexors, low back and lumbar spine.

lying pretzel stretch

How to do a Side Pretzel Hip and Quad Stretch:

  1. Start lying on your back, legs lifted with knees stacked over hips; knees bent at 90 degrees.
  2. Slowly roll towards your left side, while keeping your upper body (both shoulders) on the mat. Dropping the right leg across your body, right leg remains bent at 90 degrees.
  3. Then, pull your left foot towards your left glute to find a quad stretch on the left leg. Tuck your hips underneath your ribcage.
  4. Think about dropping both shoulders towards the mat as you hold this stretch for 45 seconds, release and switch legs during the next set.

5. Lying Hip Flexor Stretch (Knee to Chest)

Targets: Glutes, hips, hip flexors and low back.

This exercise focuses on hip flexion. 

Lying Hip Flexor Stretch

How to do a Lying Hip Flexor Stretch (Knee to Chest):

  1. Lie flat on your back, both legs long and flat on the mat.
  2. Pull your left knee in towards your chest. Keep your right leg long, right toes pointed. Both hips are connected to the mat.
  3. Then, pull your left knee out towards your left armpit for a lying hip flexor stretch.
  4. Drive your right heel into the ground to actively stretch your right hip flexor as well.
  5. Hold this stretch for 45 seconds, release and switch legs during the next set.
90/90 Hip Stretch to relieve hip pain

Why is stretching important?

  1. Injury Prevention
  2. Range of Motion

We all know that exercise is GOOD for our bodies. But by its nature, exercises and intense workouts put our muscles, connective tissues, joints and ligaments under stress and strain.

Injury Prevention

Stretching keeps the muscles flexible and healthy, which helps prevent injury!

Without stretching, the muscles can shorten and become tight (due to compression happening during workouts or everyday activities like sitting in an office chair for extended periods of time).

Tight muscles make it difficult to get a full range of motion in your joints, which is necessary to safely and effectively perform many exercises. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage. (Harvard Health)

Range of Motion

Plus, a full range of motion can translate to more effective workouts. Take a squat, for example. If you have a greater range of motion in your hips and knees, you can sink deeper into a squat and better engage the glutes as you power up.

Pin these 5 Hip Flexor Stretches Your Body Needs

How do I loosen my hip flexors? 5 Best Hip Flexor Stretches | pin for pinterest

More 10-Minute Stretching Routines At Home:

 

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