8 Hip Flexor Stretches and Exercises for Healthy Hips

By , with Jen Mueller, Certified Personal Trainer
The hip flexors are the group of muscles that allow you to lift your knees toward your chest and bend forward from the hips.  What is collectively referred to as the hip flexors is actually a group of muscles that includes the iliopsoas, the thigh muscles (rectus femoris, Sartorius and tensor fasciae latae), and the inner thigh muscles (adductor longus and brevis, pectineus and gracilis).
 
Tight hip flexors are a common problem among those of us who spend a lot of the day sitting at a desk.  When you spend a lot of time in a seated position, the hip flexors remain in a shortened position. Over time, the shortened muscles become “tight," which leads to its own set of problems.
 
Tight hip flexors can result in lower back pain, hip pain and injury.  A lot of strain is put on those muscles during activities that involve sprinting and kicking.  For example, runners are more prone to hip flexor injuries because of the small, repetitive movement during running.   But even if you’re not an athlete, hip flexor injuries can occur during everyday activities (for instance, slipping and falling or running to catch a bus).  When those tight muscles are suddenly stretched beyond what they are accustomed to, you might also experience pain in the upper groin region, typically where the hip meets the pelvis.   
 
Simple hip-strengthening and stretching exercises can help keep these muscles from becoming tight, therefore decreasing your risk of injury and discomfort.  Try these stretches daily and incorporate a few of the strength exercises into your routine 2-3 times per week.

Hip Flexor Stretches
Seated Butterfly Stretch:  A simple stretch for your inner thighs, hips and lower back. 

Pigeon Pose: This yoga posture lengthens the hip flexors on the back leg.

Weighted Hip Extension: This exercise lengthens the hip flexors while simultaneously strengthening the glutes, which are often weak in people with tight hip flexors.

Bridges: A great way to give the hip flexors a chance to lengthen while also strengthening the posterior chain of the body.

Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises
Note: Exercises that strengthen the hip flexors also involve contracting (shortening) these muscles. So if tight hip flexors are a problem for you, it might be wise to limit how many direct hip-strengthening exercises you perform. These exercises are more geared toward people who have been told they have weak hip flexors that need strengthening or are looking for targeted exercises to build more power and stamina in the hip flexors.

Balancing Hip Flexion:  Use your core to help with balance during this exercise that strengthens the hips and glutes.

Runner’s Lunges:  A great addition to any workout routine, this lower body strength move targets multiple muscles at once. 

Skater Squats:  A strength exercise for the hip flexors that can be done anytime, anywhere.  Use a chair for balance and eliminate the squat for simplicity, if needed. 

Pendulum:  A more advanced exercise to strengthen the core and hips.  Start with smaller movement and increase your range of motion as you become stronger. 
 

In addition to these exercises, there are simple things you can do every day to help reduce your risk of hip flexor pain.  If you sit at a desk for long periods of time, try to get up and move around every hour or so.  Warm up properly before any physical activity, and stretch regularly at the end of each workout.  Your hips will thank you for it! 

Sources:
http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy-living-article/60/1478/why-do-muscles-tighten-up/


Have you suffered from tight hip flexors? If so, what is your favorite exercise or stretch? Would you consider adding any of these moves into your fitness routine?

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Comments

DJ4HEALTH 5/12/2018
good info Report
RAVINDRASG 5/2/2018
Tight hip flexors are the root cause of problems such as:

Nagging joint pains in your legs, lower back or hips
Walking with discomfort
Hips locking up
Bad posture
Trouble sleeping
Sluggishness in day to day life
High Anxiety
Digestive problems
Compromised Immune System
Circulatory issues
Loss of sexual performance
Lack of Explosiveness in the gym or sports

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RJFITNESS1 5/1/2018
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SANDRA_MARSDEN 4/13/2018
I think you should mention that for some people, stretching is not the solution and that it will deteriorate their posture. Some people need stretching, but most people I know need to strengthen their "overstretched" hip flexors. Many people can't do a single hanging leg raise. Check this site if you want to know more about the importance of hip flexors bit.ly/Unlock_Your_Hip_Flexor Report
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642154 4/12/2018
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BONNIE1552 3/17/2018
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BONNIE1552 3/17/2018
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EO4WELLNESS 2/9/2018
thank you Report
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DBAXTER68 1/20/2018

I could not bend back from hip without pain. I could not work or have leisure time without pain, and when I woke up in the mornings I was stiff and in pain. I tried to relieve the pain with over the counter pain relievers, heat, and ice. This program: www.certifiedtreatment.com/hipflexo
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DRSHIV 1/19/2018
Really a great content. Let me tell you first about hip flexor it is the engine through which our body moves. They control balance, our ability to sit, stand, twist, reach, bend, walk and step. One of my patient also suffering from same problem but due to lack of money he was unable to afford a treatment. So i recommend him a program to unlock hip flexor. If anyone wants they can check it out here ;- https://tinyurl.com/y8yaqs2s Report
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DEE107 1/11/2018
thanks for sharing these Report
TIMOTHY_SPENCER 1/7/2018
Great stretching exercises for strengthening and loosening tight hip flexors. But sometimes, simple stretching exercises won't do the trick. If you want a more structured and effective regimen for relieving tight hip flexors, you should try out this program "unlock your hip flexors". Here's a link: https://tinyurl.com/ya754efg Report
JAKERBOMB 1/4/2018
Great exercises and stretches that can be easily done throughout the day to strengthen and loosen my hip flexors. i have very tight hip flexors so it's very helpful for me knowing these exercises and stretches. For those that want more info about exercises and stretches for hip flexors, i recommend the "unlock your hip flexors". It is a program that will show you many more exercises and stretches you can do. So check it out here
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356154 12/1/2017
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AIYANASMAMA 11/13/2017
Thanks Report
BENJIII 11/7/2017
I think you should mention that for some people, stretching is not the solution and that it will deteriorate their posture. Some people need stretching, but most people I know need to strengthen their "overstretched" hip flexors. Many people can't do a single hanging leg raise. Check this site if you want to know more about the importance of hip flexors ********** www.smarterpage.wixsite.com/unlock-
hip-flexors
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EVILCECIL 7/31/2017
Good info. Report
SCHECK5 7/20/2017
Great information Report
CTYONIT 7/19/2017
Thanx for the info! Report
EVILCECIL 6/15/2017
Good info! Report
AHADSALL2 5/30/2017
I could not bend back from hip without pain. I could not work or have leisure time without pain, and when I woke up in the mornings I was stiff and in pain. I tried to relieve the pain with over the counter pain relievers, heat, and ice. This program www.certifiedtreatment.com/hipflexo
rs
helped me to become pain free! I sleep better and wake up every morning with out pain. This program cured the damage I had done to my back. Highly recommended! Report
SKUMAR293
What worked for me was this amazing program.
bit.ly/2pMDPz4
Reveals 10 Key Moves you need to loosen your hip flexors and unlock the hidden power Report
AZMOMXTWO
great Ideas Report
I had compromised range of motion in my hips. I am a runner and I couldn’t increase my speed. Using this program - www.certifiedtreatment.com/hipflexo
rs
I adjusted my back and relieved the pain the tightness in my hips and lower back which allowed me to run harder and longer. Not only do I have less pain on a daily basis, but I also have more energy and stamina when I run. I find myself with better movement and sleep, and I have maximized my performance. Report
MARTINLEE33
What a great informative blog on hip flexer. I really agree with exercise in between your office jobs and before exercise. Here is more info on how you can get rid of your hip flexor pain. tighthipflexorpain.com Report
Some of these I already know from yoga but putting it all together like this is a great reminder to counteract all that sitting at a computer. Thanks! Report
MARK_BIG
Being an athlete all my life and having endured multiple knee surgeries due to blowing out ACL's in both knees, I later started to develop a hip issue in my right hip due to the years of wear and tear.
These days I'm stronger and faster than ever and still competing in sports.
This site fb.me/7iW9sE50u/#/_EXERCISES_FOR_HI
P_FLEXORS/ gave me the ability to perform at my highest level as a coach and regain the athletic ability I had lost over the years from wear and tear Report
JMETZ4

If you have a stiff, tight or painful hip then www.HipFlexors.info will unlock your hip flexors and restore movement the way it should be. Unlocking your hip flexors instantly breathes new life, energy, and strength into your body! I experienced immediate results. I've been able to loosen up my hips, decrease back tightness, and even workout harder. With so many people suffering with hip pain out there, this program is a great tool for anybody that wants to reduce pain while improving strength, performance, and overall health. Hip flexibility, mobility and strength is one of the most important things you can do to keep your overall body healthy. The video presentation and visuals in the exercise program give me confidence that I am doing the exercises correctly which for me is key with no personal trainer. The website is very complete in listing the possible causes of tight hip flexors and other factors that can lead to the issue. It has detailed, descriptive information regarding the anatomy of the hip, causes of such injuries, and a very progressive and well explained exercise and stretching schedule that will assist to re-balance the hip and pelvic region, safely stretch and strengthen the muscle group. Best of luck to you! :) Report
The best exercise I have used to relieve hip pain caused by hip flexors is the clam shell. It's like magic to relieve pain for me. I lay on my side, back against wall, knees bent, and open my top knee, then close it 30 times, slowly, while maintaining a tight core. I lift my top leg up few inches and repeat. Then switch sides and repeat. Report
I agree that the need to see helps more than the written word. Too easy to get hurt by not seeing it done properly. Report
LINDAOLSON3
Putting the exercise in writing do not help me, I need to watch them doing them so, I can figer out how to do them, or if I should even try to do them. I use the flex extendors, lifting my legs one at a time from the flor to strengthen my thys, hip and buttox. And I try to remember to do the bridge excerise. I have had 2 total hip replacements , 7 months a part, in 2013. Trying to get stronger with cold weather will be 70 in Feb. Linda
Need to see people doing these excercises, to maybe do them. Report
JANETEMILY
I am 59, have no trouble with my hips, and am very flexible for someone my age. For the past couple of years, I have been working out several days a week to "Total Body Sculpt with Gilad". His hip, thigh, and glute routines are very effective! Report
Thank you, these were a great reminder for me! Report
CJOHNSTON2001
I do some of these now in Yoga,but want to do more,so good for the back too.THANK YOU!!! Report
These are some good flexor stretches! Report
I definitely need to stretch more. Report
Great information! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. :) Report
MABLEMONSTER
very good info Report
MABLEMONSTER
very good info Report
Pigeon pose is awesome! It's helping me get rid of the chronic click in my left hip from my IT band. Report
thanks for this article and suggestions/links Report
Many of them seem to be helpful, the trouble with this is that you have to bounce around from one spot to another, constantly interrupting the flow of the routine, although some times that can be a good thing. Other times moving around like a bobbing robin is another... IF you have hip problems no doubt these will definitely help out.. the first 3 or 4 wouldn't even open to the exercises the others were pretty darn good.. I hope to do them soon ... Report
Not sure what the problem is here, but all I get when I click on the links to the exercises are adverts for mags. Shape, Fitness and Prevention etc. Report
 
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