20 of The Best Hip Flexor Stretches
If you are looking for ways to keep your hip flexors in good shape, this guide can help.
Here are 20 of the best hip flexor stretches.
When was the last time you did a wall hip flexor stretch, a lunging hip flexor stretch, or even just a hip flexor stretch in bed?
If it's been a little while now or, worse, if you have yet to do something like a hip flexor lunge, it's time to change that.
Your hip flexors consist of five crucial muscles that allow you to flex your hips. These muscles are called the iliacus, psoas, pectineus, rectus femoris, and sartorius.
If you don't know how to stretch your hip flexors or simply don't take the time to do hip flexor stretches, it can lead to you suffering from specific hip flexor injuries. Hip flexor strains, hip flexor tendinitis, iliopsoas bursitis, hip flexor impingement, and rectus femoris tendonitis are a few of them.
Everyone from athletes who lift their legs a lot to office workers who spend all day sitting down can sustain these injuries if they don't learn about different stretches and exercises for hip flexors. Discover more about them below.
Benefits of Stretching Hip Flexors
Far too often, people will wait until after they've sustained a hip flexor injury to start stretching their hip flexors. They only sometimes see the value in all the different hip flexor stretch benefits once it's too late.
You should, of course, get into the habit of doing stretches like a wall hip flexor stretch, a band hip flexor stretch, a standing hip stretch, and other stretches for hip flexor pain as part of a treatment plan. But it would also be worth taking advantage of the benefits of stretching hip flexors before injuries set in.
“Consistency is key for effective stretching. Aim to stretch regularly, ideally at least two to three times a week. This helps maintain flexibility and prevent muscles from tightening.”
Josh Petrawski CEO, Sports & Fitness Exchange
Here are the most significant benefits of stretching your hip flexors:
- It helps improve your hip joint range and flexibility
- Decreases the chances of you falling as you age
- Improves your posture
- Increases blood circulation
- Reduces lower back pain
If you ever sustain a hip flexor injury like a hip flexor strain, you'll also be able to use standing and floor hip flexor stretches to make a full recovery. Performing the proper hip flexor stretches can reduce your recovery time dramatically.
How to Stretch Your Hip Flexors Safely
There will be things you'll need to keep in mind to stretch your hip flexors safely. They'll apply to just about all the types of stretches we will provide.
Here are essential tips on how to stretch your hip flexors properly:
- Hold hip flexor stretches for between 15 and 30 seconds and repeat them two to four times
- Always warm up before stretching your hip flexors by walking, jogging, or doing another light activity
- Perform hip flexor stretches slowly without bouncing
- Keep breathing throughout each hip flexor stretch
- Do hip flexor stretches until you feel a slight pull in your hip area
- Be patient when stretching hip flexors, and take note of your progress
- Consider massaging your hips or using a TENS machine on them to relieve pain
- Work on improving your flexibility by trying activities like yoga
“The best way to initiate stretching is to go slowly and incorporate breathing into it. Sometimes rest is needed before stretching to avoid a strain or tear.”
Dr. Sha’Rose Erion, PT, DPT
You don't necessarily need to do hip flexor stretches every single day. In fact, it would be a good idea to limit how often you do these stretches. But you should stretch your hip flexors at least twice or thrice weekly.
Stretches for Hip Flexor Pain and Stiffness
If you have yet to learn how to stretch your hip flexors, you might be under the impression that there isn't any way there could be that many hip flexor stretches. But there are way more of them than you might think.
See below 20 of the best stretches for hip flexor pain and stiffness.
1. Standing Lunge Stretch - A Simple Stretch
The standing lunge stretch is one of the simplest hip flexor stretches. It's also a stretch that will target many hip flexor muscles. This is how it's done:
- Stand with your right foot forward and your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle with your left foot back
- Put your hands on your right knee and move your hips forward until you feel your hip start to stretch on the left side
- Hold this stretch for between 15 and 30 seconds
2. Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch - A Great Way to Ease into Stretching
If your hips are tight, jumping right into a standing lunge stretch might not work out well. The half-kneeling hip flexor stretch will allow you to ease your way into it. Here is how it's done:
- Kneel on your left knee and line it up with your hip
- Put your right leg out and bend your right knee at a 90-degree angle
- Rock your hips slowly until you feel your hip stretch
- Hold this position for up to 30 seconds
3. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
The kneeling hip flexor stretch is another good stretch to try as you work your way up to a standing lunge stretch. This is how to do it:
- Place your left leg forward with your left knee bent at a 90-degree angle
- Kneel on your right knee with your right leg behind you
- Lean your torso forward while keeping it upright until you feel your hip start to stretch
- Either hold this position for about 30 seconds or move your torso back and forth up to ten times
4. 90/90 Stretch - Will Make it Easier to Maintain Complete Motion
Achieving full motion with your hip flexors as you get older can be difficult. The 90/90 stretch will make it easier to maintain complete motion. Here is how you can accomplish this goal:
- Sit down on the floor with your right leg in front of you and your outer thigh resting against the floor
- Bend your right knee so that it's at a 90-degree angle and your right calf is parallel to your torso
- Relax your right foot and make sure your toes are pointing away from you
- Extend your left leg to the left side and let your inner thigh rest against the floor
- Bend your left knee so that it's at a 90-degree angle and your left leg is pointing behind you with your left knee and calf resting on the floor
- Relax your left foot and let your toes point to your left
- Keep your torso straight and feel your hips stretch for 30 to 60 seconds
5. Supine Hip Flexor Stretch
You might think lying on your back on the floor will provide you with little opportunity to stretch your hips. But that's exactly what the supine hip flexor stretch will do. These are the steps:
- Lie on your back with your legs in front of you and your toes pointing up
- Bend your left knee and put your left foot flat on the floor before holding your knee and pulling it up toward your chest
- Hold this position for 30 seconds
6. Side-Lying Hip Flexor Stretch - Great for Glutes too
Many of the hip flexor stretches we've touched on thus far will focus solely on stretching your hips. But the side-lying hip flexor stretch will also give your glutes a good stretch. Here's how you can do it:
- Lie down on your left side with your legs lined up with your hips
- Slowly move your right foot back and grab it with your right hand
- Pull your right foot and leg back without arching your back
- Turn over and repeat with your left leg
7. Seated Butterfly Stretch
Whether you have tight hips or tight groin muscles, the seated butterfly stretch will work wonders for you. This is how it works:
- Sit down, bend both your legs, and push the soles of your feet together
- Pull your feet in so they're as close to your hips as you can get them
- Use your elbows to push your knees down toward the floor
- Let your hips stretch and hold this position for up to 30 seconds
8. Basic Bridges - Will Improve Core Strength
Basic bridges will improve the strength of your entire core. They'll also hone in on your hip flexors and improve their flexibility. Here's the approach you should take to doing them:
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent in front of you
- Tighten your abdominal muscles and raise your hips off the floor until they fall in line with both your knees and your shoulders
- Take three deep breaths before returning your hips to the ground
9. Lying Hip Flexor Stretch on Table
If you can access a table, this hip flexor stretch will be easy. This is how to do a lying hip flexor stretch:
- Lie down on a table with one leg hanging off the side
- Grab the leg that is still on the table at the knee and pull it up toward your chest
- Stop when you feel your hip stretch and hold this position for up to 30 seconds
10. Reclined Hip Stretch - For a Deeper Stretch
Sometimes, you'll want to give your hips more of a stretch than some other hip flexor stretches will allow. The reclined hip stretch will come in handy. It goes like this:
- Lie down with your back flat against the ground
- Pull your right leg toward your chest and allow your right foot to remain suspended in the air
- Pull your left leg up and rotate your left leg so that it rests on your right knee
- Pull your right leg up to stretch your left hip and hold this position for 30 seconds
11. Low Lunge Twist Stretch - A More Advanced Stretch
The low lunge twist stretch is more advanced than other hip flexor stretches, but it'll get the job done. Here is how this stretch works:
- Place your left knee on the ground and your right knee out in front of you at a 90-degree angle
- Put your right elbow on the inside of your right knee and rest it there
- Twist your torso to the left while pushing your right elbow into your right knee
- Put your left arm behind you and keep pushing it back there until you feel your hips stretch
12. Knee-to-Chest Stretch - A Less Advanced Stretch
If you feel you need to be more advanced to do a low lunge twist stretch, the knee-to-chest stretch might do the trick. You'll perform this stretch by taking these steps:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent in front of you and your feet positioned flat on the floor
- Take one of your knees and pull it toward your chest
- Keep this knee as close to your chest as you can get it while keeping your back flat on the floor for 30 seconds
13. TFL Standing Stretch
As your hip flexors get more flexible, you can try standing stretches like the TFL standing stretch. It'll help stretch your tensor fasciae latae muscle. Here's what it'll require you to do:
- Stand up straight with your right foot slightly behind you
- Rotate your right hip about 45 degrees without turning your pelvis
- Move your right back slightly further while pushing your hips forward
- Wait until you feel your TFL stretch and hold your position for 30 seconds
14. TFL Stretch With a Wall
Another excellent way to stretch your TFL is by working a wall into the mix. It'll stretch your TFL even more than usual. This is what you'll need to do:
- Lean against a wall with your right arm extended and your right hand pushed up against it
- Bend your left leg slightly and rest your bent right leg on top of your left knee
- Lean slightly to your left until you feel your TFL stretch, and hold this position for up to 30 seconds
15. Quadriceps Standing Stretch - Targets Quads and Hips
A quadriceps standing stretch is primarily going to target your quads. But it'll also give your hip flexors a stretch in the process. Here's how to perform it:
- Stand on your left leg with your left and right knees touching
- Use your right hand to pull your right foot up toward your backside
- Hold your right foot in place for about 30 seconds
16. Quadriceps Lying on One Side Stretch - Great for Beginners
If you don't stretch much, performing a quadriceps standing stretch might be difficult for you. The quadriceps lying on one side stretch could be a better option. Here's how to do it:
- Lie down on the ground on your right side
- Put your right hand on your head to support it, and use your left hand to grab your left foot
- Pull your left foot toward your backside and hold it for 30 seconds
17. Adductor Stretch on the Ground
Your adductor muscles are located on the inside of your thighs. Keeping them loose will be one of the keys to keeping your hip flexors loose. The adductor stretch on the ground can loosen them up, and this is how you can do it:
- Sit on the floor with your back pressed up against a wall
- Bend your right leg and let your right foot rest against the side of your left leg
- Push your right knee down toward the ground and hold it for 30 seconds
18. Adductor Lean to One Side Stretch - For Very Tight Adductors
If your adductors are tighter than you might like, you should do more than just adductor stretches on the ground. You should also try the adductor lean to one side stretch. It'll go like this:
- Stand with your feet far apart and facing forward
- Put both your hands on your hips and lean to the right side while bending your right leg slightly and keeping your left leg straight
- Stop when you feel your adductor begin to stretch, and hold your position for 30 seconds
19. Frog Stretch - For Advanced Stretching
The frog stretch might be the most difficult of all the stretches on this list. But it also will be the one that'll open up your hips the most. This is how to perform it:
- Get on the floor with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips
- Move your legs out away from your body while keeping your knees bent and pointing your feet outwards
- Continue to move your legs while taking deep breaths, and stop when you feel your hips start to stretch
- Hold this position for about 30 seconds
20. Standing Pelvic Tilt - Great for Pregnant Women
The standing pelvic tilt is a stretch doctors often recommend to pregnant women. It's a wonderful way to stretch the lower back and hip muscles. Here is how you can do it:
- Stand against a wall and put your feet shoulder-width apart
- Push your lower back up against the wall and hold it there for up to 30 seconds
- Repeat this process several times
Try a Wall Hip Flexor Stretch or Another Stretch Now
Incorporating hip flexor stretches into your wellness routine can significantly improve the condition of your hip flexors. To get started, master stretches like the wall hip flexor stretch and the lunging hip flexor stretch, among others. By regularly practicing these stretches, you'll notice a significant improvement in how your hip flexors feel.
To enhance your stretching experience and find relief from any hip flexor pain you may be experiencing, it's worth exploring the range of hip injury and hip pain relief products available through Carex. These products are designed to provide the support you need and work wonders in relieving pain to make stretching easier.
Visit our website to discover the latest hip pain products and take advantage of our selection. If you have any questions about these products, don't hesitate to contact us for assistance. Improve your stretching routine and find relief for your hip flexors today!
Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of stretches over time can help promote healing while minimizing the risk of re-injury. Remember to listen to your body and adjust the stretching routine as needed.”
Isaac Robertson Co-Founder & Chief Editor of Total Shape
About the Author
Brandon Landgraf is the Digital Marketing Manager for Carex Health Brands. He finds passion and fulfillment in creating content that enhances, improves, and enlivens others' quality of life. All of his written work is formulated to not only offer essential advice and tips but back it with proven studies and experts. His mission is to connect with readers and provide steps to make their lives better.
You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.
About Carex Health Brands
Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.