Tight Hip Flexors can cause many types of pain and can leave you vulnerable to pesky injuries. One of the best ways to combat this is to stretch your Hip Flexors regularly. This can help restore any length lost from constant sitting, which is a big problem in modern society.
Hip Flexor Stretches
If you’ve had a look at Hip Flexor anatomy before, you’ll know that there are many different muscles that make up this muscle group. Your specific tight muscles may be different than someone elses based on the specific muscle(s) that are tight.
We’ll start with stretches for the main muscles, and then move onto some stretches for the supplementary muscles that could be affecting you.
You are free to hold these stretches as long as you’d like as long as you don’t feel any pain. We recommend that you hold them for at least 10 to 30 seconds to see a benefit. Stretching is often a large part of an injury treatment plan.
With this stretch we want to target the large muscles right on top of your Hip joint, which are the Psoas major/minor and the Iliacus that together make up the Iliopsoas.
1. Start in a lunge position. Your feet should not be directly in line, give yourself some space in-between for balance.
2. Flex the gluteus maximus of the back leg. This keeps the top of the femur firmly in place in the Hip joint.
3. Lean forward at the hip of the back leg slowly until you feel a stretch.
Modified Iliopsoas Stretch
If you’re looking for a stretch that also targets the Tensor Fascia Latae, perform the above stretch but additionally reach the arm on the side of the Iliopsoas being stretched up and across your head.
If you feel like your main Hip muscles are loosened up but still feel some tightness, try these stretches to hit the smaller secondary muscles of the Hip Flexors.
One of the most important muscles that is often ignored is the Piriformis. It wraps around your femur (thigh bone) at the top and allows you to spread a pull your leg to the side when contracted. For a more advanced stretch you can try the common Yoga position, the pigeon pose.
1. Lie down flat on your back with your feet on the ground and your knees bent comfortably.
2. Lift up one foot and cross it over your other knee.
3. Gently press forward on the thigh of the foot that is up.
4. Sit up for an increased stretch if necessary.
Your Pectineus aids in Hip flexion and is mainly considered part of your groin. There are a few different stretches you could do, but we’re going to suggest the simplest one that is usually the most effective, often called the ‘butterfly’ stretch.
1. Sit down in a comfortable position.
2. Put the bottom of your feets together and your hands around your ankles.
3. Use your elbows to push down on your thighs/knees to increase the stretch as needed.
Alternate Version: You can do the same stretch in a squat position with your knees facing outwards. Again you use your elbows or forearms to push out your thighs.
The final muscle we must address is the long Sartorius muscle that runs along the front of your Hip. You can do this sitting on the ground but the easiest position is standing.
1. Balance on one foot.
2. Bring your other foot up behind you and grab that ankle with the hand on the same side
3. Try to remain as upright as possible (don’t lean to the side) and pull closer to your gluteus to increase the stretch.
How Often Should You Stretch?
It’s really up to you how often you will stretch your Hip Flexors, but ideally you should do a quick session at least twice a day. Upon waking up and before going to sleep is fine, or you can do it at lunch if you find you get tight during the day. You should also make sure to stretch after doing Hip Flexor exercises.