Your hip joints and the muscles around them are probably the most widely ignored part of your body. So many of us sit for most of our lives and may not understand how weak and tight this can make our hip flexors.
As it turns out, even many gym-goers neglect these muscles and the critical role they play in posture and preventing pain in the lower body. So, we’re here to help you undo all the bad habits and present the best stretches and exercises for hip flexors.
What Do Your Hip Flexors Do?
The hip flexors are a group of muscles that work to provide flexion of your legs at the hip. This means that they allow you to move your legs side-to-side, and upward and outward- essential movements in pretty much any sport or activity, and in life. You need your hip flexors to walk, ride a bike, or even just sit cross-legged.
Why Should You Stretch Hip Flexors?
You might not notice your hips flexors when they are working properly but if they are tight or weak, you will definitely notice them.
Regularly stretch your hips and keeping them in good shape can:
- Prevent anterior pelvic tilt. This is where your butt sticks out more than it should and it leads to bad posture and back pain.
- Prevent muscle cramping in the pelvic area
- Prevent back/neck pain and tightness
- Improve overall strength in your lower body
- Allow you to build a strong core and glutes
- Prevent injury from strain
- Keep you flexible as you age
Whether you’re a professional athlete or an office worker, anyone can experience tight hips. Everyone needs a solid combo of static and dynamic stretching to keep these muscles strong and loose.
Stretches for Hip Flexors
If your hip flexors feel tight (like you can’t extend your legs very far forward, back, or out to the side) starting off with something simple and easy is going to be the best way to see results. If you sit a lot or are stuck in an office chair, try these stretches (you can probably even do some of them during work!).
Side bend “goddess” pose
This static stretch is actually a yoga pose that is usually done standing but can work great for releasing hip tension while sitting down as well.
- While sitting on the edge of your chair, spread your legs out as far as comfortably possible
- Place one hand on one thigh, while the other arm reaches upwards towards the ceiling.
- On an exhale, gently bend at the waist toward towards the side of your resting arm.
You can also try a standing version of this stretch.
Ankle over the thigh
This one is pretty self-explanatory;
- While sitting, pull one ankle to rest on the thigh of the opposite leg.
- This might be enough, or you can start to bend forward, stopping if you feel pain in the knee
- Alternate after about 30 seconds.
This definitely counts as one of the best and most subtle sitting stretches for hip flexors.
Sit on the ground with the bottoms of your feet touching and your knees moving toward the ground.
Hip Flexor Stretches For Runners
Although we say runner, we really mean just about anyone who regularly does any sport. Besides, hip flexion is needed in every single sport! So here’s a list of more advanced techniques that you can save for the gym or at-home workouts.
Kneeling Stretch or Low Lunge
While kneeling on one knee at a 90-degree angle, thrust your hips forward and hold for 30 seconds. Remember to keep a straight back, lean a bit forward if you need to, and alternate.
This one can be a bit advanced for some people so be sure to follow directions carefully.
Extended Child’s Pose
This is a great pose to end on!
Use A Foam Roller.
They can be so affordable, versatile and, of course, help out with tight muscles. If you need a guide on the basics, we have it here! Besides that, this should be enough to get you to target all those hip-related problem areas.
Staying in alignment can also help prevent pain in your hips so make sure your shoes support you as you move through your day. Insoles can help make sure pressure is distributed evenly to keep your entire body supported and in alignment.