Hip Flexor Stretch Routine for Tight Hips

This hip flexor stretch video presents 4 stretches designed to improve your hip flexibility. 

These Physio guided hips stretches are pelvic floor friendly and include static (stationary) and dynamic (moving) stretching exercises.

Hip Flexor Stretches Routine Overview

Hip muscles

Hip Flexor Muscles Stretched

The hip stretches in this video are directed at lengthening some of the muscles crossing the front of the hip joint1 (shown right):

  • Iliopsoas
  • Psoas Major
  • Rectus Femoris
  • Tensor Fascia Lata
These muscles cross the front of the hip and attach on the front of the thigh. They act to flex the hip joint (i.e. raise the thigh towards your body) and they can also tilt the pelvis forward (causing sway back).

Benefits of Hips Flexor Stretches

Stretching the hip flexors can have a number of benefits including:

  • Greater hip flexibility2
  • Improved stride length
  • Reduced sway back (large inward curve in the lower back)
  • Decreased pain in lower back, hip, groin and/or knee
If you suffer from tight hips you may find that one or more of the stretches demonstrated in this video is appropriate to include in your stretching program. 

Hip Stretches Demonstrated

The following 4 hip stretches are demonstrated in this video. These hip stretches should never feel painful and should be avoided with pain.

1. Standing Hip Swing

This dynamic hip stretch involves swinging one leg forwards and backwards while standing on the other leg. The muscles at the front of the hip are stretched as the hip swings backwards.

2. Standing Lunge Stretch

Standing lunge is a static stretch for the muscles at the front of the hip. This stretch may provide a good alternative for individuals with knee pain who can’t kneel for the kneeling lunge stretch.

3. Kneeling Forward Lunge

Kneeling lunge is a supported static stretch. Kneeling may allow you to maintain the stretching position for a longer period of time when compared with the standing lunge stretch.

4. Heel Prop Stretch

This dynamic stretch involves propping the bent knee and heel upwards using the buttock muscle. Heel prop can improve hip flexibility and strengthen the buttock at the same time. 
 

How Many Hip Flexor Stretches

Perform that number of hip flexor stretches that feels comfortable for your body. Ideally aim to do these stretches 2-3 times holding for 15-30 seconds each time3.

Stretch your hips regularly if you’re someone who spends a lot of time sitting or with a sway back.

When to Stretch your Hips

The best time to stretch your hips is when your hip muscles are warm. Ideally you will have walked or performed some light activity for 5-10 mins immediately before stretching.

References

  1. Muscles of the Anterior Face of the Thigh  Jmarchn [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
  2. Winters M. et al (2004) Passive Versus Active Stretching of Hip Flexor Muscles in Subjects With Limited Hip Extension: A Randomized Clinical         Trial, Physical Therapy, Volume 84, Issue 9, 1 September 2004, Pages 800–807.
  3. Pollock M, et. al (1998) ACSM Position Stand: The Recommended Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory and Muscular Fitness, and Flexibility in Healthy Adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 30. 975-991.

We Welcome Your Comments

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Comments

  1. As someone who has experienced the pain (and disability) of seized hip flexors I can appreciate the importance of sharing this information! Thankfully, my trusted chiropractor showed me these exercises.

  2. Thank you Michelle – Perfect timing. I’m back to my dog walking and can feel how tight those front ligaments are that cause discomfort and pain in my left hip. I’ve been doing some stretches to help but these look bang on to help. Ageing and computer work have made it harder for me to stay flexible so love your videos.

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Freya
      Yes prolonged sitting will do it won’t it! I hope you enjoy and thank you for commenting, all the best

  3. Awesome Michelle! I’ve struggled with tight hips thru to the lower back which has been getting worse in the last week. Will incorporate these into my stretching routine. This newsletter could not have come at a better time. Thank you.
    PS. I do your pelvic Safe exercise routine video usually 3 times a week since purchasing over 2 years ago When I wanted a safe routine following pelvic floor surgery. Thank you.

  4. This one is new for me and will try out this afternoon. It looks like something
    that would get the spider webs out of my muscles and loosen up for me so I
    can walk easier.

    As my Mother use to tell me – “Growing old is NOT for sissies.”

    Thank you Michelle, you have helped me so much with various issues I have
    had to face in the last 2 years. Pelvic muscle spasms, etc.. Thank you for your help
    and your videos on YouTube.

    From the Sooner state, Oklahoma, USA. Hope you are not in the path of the fires. Terrible
    situation for all. My prayers go out to all and the animals that have been lost.