Exercises for Tight Hip Flexors

Exercises for Tight Hip Flexors

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A deep lunge provides relief to tight hip flexors.

Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

When hip flexors are tight, your leg range of motion is limited. The hip flexors, the iliopsoas and rectus femoris muscles, are located on the tops of your thighs and contract when you move your legs forward. The muscles tighten from overuse such as kicking for sports, jogging or simply from sitting too long. Static hip flexor stretching after exer increases flexibility and reduces your risk of overuse injuries such as a strain.

Take a Knee

When your hip flexors contract, the distance between your abdomen and upper thigh decreases, such as when you perform a situp. You can stretch the hip flexors by increasing the distance between your legs and abdomen. One way to do this is in a kneeling position. Kneel on your right leg and place your left foot flat on the floor with your foot slightly wider than your hip. Place a mat or cushion under your right knee if needed. Your torso should remain straight and upright. Tilt your hips up until you feel the stretch in the front of your right leg. Switch legs to keep the stretch even for both hip flexors.

Stand Tall

During exercise, such as walking, you may experience discomfort in your hip flexors. If this happens, a standing, static, lunge stretch is easy to perform before you return to the exercise. You can also perform this stretch after your warm-up, or at the end of your workout session. Stand with one foot approximately 3 feet in front of the other. Bend the front knee and straighten the back leg. Press down and forward with your hips until you feel the stretch in the hip flexor of the back leg. You can place the top of your back foot on a bench or chair for a deeper stretch.

Easy Does It

If you want a more gentle hip flexor stretch, perform it from the comfort of your bed or couch. Lie face up and position your right leg 6 to 8 inches from the side of the bed or couch. Pull your left leg toward your chest and slide your right leg off the side of the bed until you feel the stretch in your hip flexor. Repeat the stretch with the opposite leg.

Count to 10

Hip flexor tightness is reduced when you stretch consistently, and do so when the muscles are warm. Always warm up for five to 10 minutes before you stretch with full-body movements such as walking, stair climbing, dancing or marching in place. Maintain each stretch for at least 15 seconds and increase the duration to 30 when you feel comfortable. Repeat the hip flexor stretches two or three times on each leg and perform them on a daily basis until your tightness lessens.


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