Straight-Legged Stretches of the Hip Flexors

Straight-Legged Stretches of the Hip Flexors

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High lunge is an effective straight-legged stretch for the hip flexors.

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As you step forward with your left leg, the angle of your left hip closes. This is called hip flexion. Leg raises require a great degree of hip flexion. Increasing the muscular endurance and strength of your hip flexors is important, but so is stretching them if you want to maintain flexibility in your hips. Stretching has been shown to improve range of motion, improve athletic performance and reduce the risk of chronic injury.


Although there are several muscles that join forces to flex the hip, the primary movers are the rectus femoris, sartorius and iliopsoas. The rectus femoris is one of the quadriceps muscles. It commences at the hip bone, extends down the thigh and inserts into the patellar tendon. The sartorius wraps around the thigh. It starts at the hip bone and inserts into the upper shin bone. The iliopsoas is composed of two muscles. The iliacus spans the wing of the hip bone, and the psoas major protrudes from the lower vertebrae. Both insert into the inner thigh bone.

High Lunge

Since the hip flexors flex the hip, to stretch them you need to extend the hip. High lunge is a good first straight-legged stretch because it stretches the hip flexors but not intensely. Come onto all fours: hands and knees. Step your right foot forward between your hands. Curl your back toes under and straighten your back leg. Make a straight line from the crown of your head to the heel of your back foot. Hold the pose for six long and deep breaths. Feel the stretch in the front of your left hip. Repeat on the other side.

High Lunge Variation

When stretching, pain is not OK. If you feel pain, back off until you feel a warming sensation. First, setup high lunge with the right foot in front. Inhale, and lift your arms into the air. Keep your arms by your ears. Reach your fingers toward the ceiling. Bend your front knee to 90 degrees so that your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Straighten out your left leg completely. Feel the stretch in the front of your left hip. Hold for six long and deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.


Hanumanasana is an intense stretch for the hip flexor of the back leg and hamstring of the front leg. Therefore, pay close attention to the sensations in your body during this pose and adjust accordingly. Place two blocks on the floor. Position your hands on the blocks and step forward with your right foot. Lower your back knee to the floor and curl your back toes under to square your left hip forward. Slide your front leg forward as much as you can. Hold for six breaths, inching your legs away from each other with each exhale. Repeat on the other side.