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10 Best Stretches For Tight Hip Flexors

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ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
10 Best Stretches For Tight Hip Flexors February 14, 2018

Do you go “ahhhhh” while lifting something off the floor? Do you find it difficult to stand straight after sitting for too long? Then, you should stretch your hip flexors. The hip flexors play a major role in all body movements like sitting, running, walking, exercising, and doing daily chores. These muscles contract to help flex the hip joint. And since they remain contracted for most of the day (sitting), it leads to tightening of the hip flexors, lower body pain, and even injury. So, stretching them is the ONLY way to relax these muscles and relieve the pain. Read on to find out about 10 hip flexor stretches.  But first, let me answer your whats, whys, and hows. Here you go!

What Are Hip Flexors?

In simple language, the hip flexors are a group of muscles that work together to help bend or flex the hip joint. These muscles are present in the inner part of your hips, lower back, and the front part of your thighs. Here are the names of major hip flexor muscle groups and their functions to help you understand better.

  • Iliopsoas – Consists of two muscles, Iliacus and Psoas major.
  • The Iliacus originates at the pelvic crest and is attached to the femur or thigh bone.
  • The Psoas major originates at the lumbar vertebrae and is attached to the femur.
  • Sartorius – This is the muscle that originates at the anterior superior iliac crest or the bump of the pelvic bone and is attached to the shin bone.
  • Rectus Femoris – One of the four quadriceps that originate below the pelvic bone bump and is attached to the front of the shin bone.

These muscles work to help you sit, stand, straighten your legs, pull your knees up, bend down, run, move your legs side to the side, front and back, and stabilize the lower body. For a few reasons that we all are guilty of, these muscles get tightened, thereby limiting body movements. Here are the main reasons your hip flexors are tight.

Why Are My Hip Flexors Tight?

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When you sit too much, which we all do, your hip flexors are contracted. This lack of mobility, in turn, causes tightening of your hip flexor muscles. If you work out and are active and still have a problem bending down, it is because you are overtraining your glutes, lower back, and hip flexors.

For example, squatting too much with or without weights can also cause hip flexor contraction and may prevent you from performing your best without even realizing it. So, get up and do these hip flexor stretching exercises. But not before you do a solid 10-minute warm-up.

[ Read: Simple Stretch Exercises For Beginners ]

Warm-Up

  • Waist Circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Side Lunges – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Leg Swings (front and back) – 1 set of 15 reps
  • Leg Swings (side to side) – 1 set of 15 reps
  • High Knees – 1 set of 15 reps
  • Front Lunge (with pulse) – 1 set of 5 reps
  • Standing Alternating Foot Taps – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Scissor Kicks – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Horizontal Kicks – 1 set of 10 reps

Rest – 10 seconds

Now, you are ready for the exercises.

1. The Standing Hip Hinge

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Steps To Do Standing Hip Hinge

  1. Stand on a mat with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your palms on your hips, fingers holding the sides of your waist, and roll back your shoulders.
  2. Slowly bend the upper body back. Release all tension from your neck and stretch it back.
  3. Hold this pose for 5 seconds.
  4. Return to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 7 reps

Tip – To add more intensity, kneel down and do the same exercise. Kneeling down will stretch the hip flexors and the quads as well.

2. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

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Steps To Do Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

  1. Stand straight on a mat and put your right leg forward. Lunge down till your left knee fully touches the mat. Keep your hands on your waist.
  2. Push your hips forward and stretch your left leg behind. Make sure to keep your spine straight.
  3. Keep shifting your weight to the front until you feel a stretch in your hips and thighs.
  4. Hold it for 10 seconds before releasing and doing the same with the other leg.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 7 reps

Tip – You can also raise your hands and interlock the fingers to intensify the stretch.

3. The Camel Yoga Pose

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Steps To Do Camel Yoga Pose

  1. Kneel down on a yoga mat with your knees hip-width apart. Press your shin bones to the mat.
  2. Place your hands on the back of your pelvis, with the fingers pointing down, and slowly lean back.
  3. Move your hands from your hips and touch your heels with your hands. Your fingers must be pointing towards your toes, and thumbs holding the outside of your feet.
  4. Make sure to keep your thighs perpendicular to the floor and hips directly above your knees. Hold this pose for 5 seconds.
  5. Place your hands on your hips, straighten your spine and sit straight on the mat.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 5 reps

Tip – Beginners can stay with their hands placed on the hips and stretch.

4. Pigeon Stretch

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Steps To Do Pigeon Stretch

  1. Start with the Cat Pose with your knees directly below your hips, hands below your shoulders, toes pointing out, and palms flat on the floor.
  2. Bend your right knee and slide it forward between your hands. Your right heel should be just under your left hip and left leg fully extended at the back with the toes tucked under.
  3. Inhale, expand your chest and look at the ceiling.
  4. Exhale, lower your chest slowly and touch the floor with your head.
  5. Hold the pose for as long as you are comfortable. Breathe in and breathe out.
  6. Inhale and release the pose by getting back up.
  7. Switch your legs and repeat the steps.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 3 reps

Tip – You can use a yoga block or a folded blanket if your hips tend to rise.

5. Butterfly Stretch

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Steps To Do Butterfly Stretch

  1. Sit on the floor with both your legs extended in front of you. Sit straight with your shoulders rolled back.
  2. Flex your knees, touch the soles together, hold the feet together with your palms and draw them towards your groin.
  3. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
  4. Lean forward, keep your back straight, and use your elbows to push your knees to the floor.
  5. Release the pose slowly and get back to step one.

Sets And Reps – 1 set of 10 reps

Tip – Make sure to breathe in and out when you hold the pose and look at the floor when you lean forward.

6. Bridge

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Steps To Do Bridge

  1. Lie down on a mat with your knees flexed, feet planted on the mat, hands close to your body, and palms facing down.
  2. Without raising your heels, push your hips up till they are in line with your shoulders and knees.
  3. Hold this pose for 3 seconds and then return to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 7 reps

Tip – Keep your shoulders relaxed when you do this exercise.

7. Stacked Knee Glute Stretch

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Steps To Do Stacked Knee Glute Stretch

  1. Sit on the mat in a pose similar to the butterfly stretch, but this time, put your right leg on top of your left.
  2. Hold both the ankles with your hands and pull them back till your right knee is directly above the left knee.
  3. Hold this pose for a few seconds and feel the stretch.
  4. Release the stretch, switch the legs, and do it again.

Sets And Reps – 1 set of 5 reps

Tip – Keep your back straight as you do this exercise.

[ Read: Knee Strengthening Exercises ]

8. Happy Baby Pose

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Steps To Do Happy Baby Pose

  1. Lie down on a mat.
  2. Flex your knees and draw your feet up. Grab your ankles with your hands and pull the legs towards your chest.
  3. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and feel the stretch.
  4. Slowly release the stretch and get back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 7 reps

This exercise also helps strengthen your lower back.

9. Garland Pose

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Steps To Do Garland Pose

  1. Stand with your feet almost as wide as your mat. Keep your spine neutral, shoulders rolled back, and chest out.
  2. Flex your knees and lower your body into a deep squat pose. Join your palms together and push your knees back with the help of your elbows.
  3. Keep your spine straight and do not lift your heels.
  4. Hold this pose for 3 seconds. Lift your body back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 10 reps

Tip – Use a folded blanket to get extra support.

10. Couch Stretch

Steps To Do Couch Stretch

  1. Stand in front of a couch, i.e., the couch should be behind you.
  2. Put your right foot on the couch, flex your left knee, and lower your body into a lunge. Go down till your right knee touches the floor. Keep your spine straight, look ahead, and keep your chest in line with your hips.
  3. Hold this pose for 5 seconds before standing back up.
  4. Switch legs and do this again.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 10 reps

Tip – Keep your shoulders rolled back and relaxed while doing this exercise.

These were 10 best stretches for releasing the tension and relaxing your hip flexors. Add these exercises to your daily workout routine to perform exercises better and do your day-to-day tasks easily. Good luck!

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