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When your hip flexors need some stretching, your body is going to let you know. The muscles in your hip are responsible for helping you move your legs. Squatting, running, lunging, jumping, all of them are actions helped by strong hips.
If your hip flexors are tightened, torn, or stretched, you’re going to be in a world of hurt. You’re also going to notice that you’re not as flexible as you once were. On top of that, it can make various hip-related exercises difficult.
To help with that, we’ve compiled the best hip flexor stretches you can do at home.
Also, if you’re looking at strengthening your hip flexors, check out the Unlock Your Hip Flexor program.
When your hip flexors are tightened, you’re going to get less work out of your glutes. The two are opposing muscle groups. So, we’re going to try some stretches to loosen up those hips and get those glutes activated.
This first stretch is super simple and super effective. To start, position yourself on your mat straight up with your spine and back extended. Take a step forward with one foot so that you are in a staggered position. Bend the knee that you just stepped forward with and lower yourself down into a lunge. Make sure that you keep your other leg straight.
At this point, you should feel a stretch in the thigh that you are keeping straight. Place the hand of the left leg on the floor and twist your body to the other side. While doing this, you can extend your other arm out towards the ceiling. Hold this position for as long as you can and repeat on the other side.
Figure Four Stretch
Anybody familiar with the legendary Nature Boy Rick Flair is going to recognize this one.
To start, lie down on your back on your mat, or whatever surface you’re using – just try to avoid hard surfaces like tiling or wood. From here, bring your left foot over the top of your right quad. Then bend your right knee. Grab ahold of the back of your right leg and pull towards your chest. Once you start that stretching, hold the position. Once done, repeat it on the other side.
Congratulations! Not only have you learned about a great exercise to loosen up those hip flexors. You’ve also learned one of the most decorated submission moves in pro wrestling history.
If you’ve injured your hip flexor, try our review of the best compression shorts.
Reclining Angle Bound Pose
Taking a page from the yoga book, the reclining angle bound pose is a great hip stretching alternative. You’re going to be getting the same results on the muscles, but you’re not going to be sweating as much.
Get on your yoga mat and lie flat down on your back. From this position, bring the soles of your feet together. Then open and lower your knees down towards the mat. Hold this position for between one and two minutes.
This particular yoga pose stretches out the groin and inner thigh, as well as the hip. So, you should feel much looser after practicing it for a few sessions.
Keeping in the realm of yoga, we have the three-legged dog. Even if you don’t do yoga, it’s a safe bet to assume that you’ve heard of the downward dog. The three-legged dog is a variant of that. In particular, this version helps to activate the hips more, which is exactly what we’re looking for.
You first need to get yourself into the downward dog position. Keep your feet at hip-width and your hands shoulder-width. With your fingers and toes facing forwards, plant all four on the ground. Then raise your hips up into the air. Your head should end up between your arms, looking back at your body. Think of it like making a human triangle.
Once in this position, raise one of your legs up towards the ceiling. Extend it out and keep it as straight as you can. Once extended, you can flex your foot to intensify the stretch. Hold this for about 45 seconds, and swap legs.
You’re going to find this yoga pose much more intense than the reclining angle bound pose. Due to this, consider starting with that pose before trying out this one. This goes especially for those that have never done yoga before.
Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch
This take on the classic lunge is designed to specifically target your hip muscles. Rather than starting in the typical standing position for a lunge, you’re going to kneel. With the leg that you’re kneeling on, stretch yourself forward a little bit so that more of the leg is touching the mat.
From this position, lean forward while stretching the side of the hip that you’re kneeling on towards the floor. Hold this position for as long as you can, and swap.
You can also add some rotation to this exercise to get even more out of it. Rotating your torso while you’re in the lunge position is going to allow you to stretch those hips deeper. Although keep in mind that this variation is significantly more difficult.
In truth, this is closer to a yoga pose than a lunge. Regardless, this exercise is incredibly simple to do at home, and when done right can yield some fantastic results.
Coming out of the more difficult stretches to pull off, the knee-to-chest is easy, non-intensive, and effective. You’re going to be working your lower back and your hamstrings with this exercise, as well.
Lie on your back, with your body fully extended. From this starting position, pull one knee up towards your chest. While doing this, keep your left leg straightened out, and your lower back pressed down on the mat. Hold yourself in this position for around a minute and a half, then release—alternate legs for as long as you see fit.
As you can see, the knee-to-chest is beyond simple to do. On top of that, it doesn’t involve any extra movement. This means it isn’t going to make you burn a sweat. This combined makes this stretch on of the best for beginners looking to loosen their hips.
Check out the Unlock Your Hip Flexor program.