If you want to stretch your hip flexors, you’ve come to the right place!
Whether the front of your hips feel tight or you just want to increase your flexibility, these poses and routines will get you there.
Let’s dig in.
Table of Contents
What are the absolute best ways to stretch the hip flexors?
First, let’s get a solid hold on what exactly the hip flexors are and what they are not.
Then I’ll share some of the best poses and stretching strategies for opening them up!
What are the hip flexors?
The hip flexors are a group of muscles that cross the front portion of your hips.
They are comprised of the:
- rectus femoris (a quad)
Together, they act to flex the hip, meaning:
They close the front angle between your thigh and torso, like so:
To stretch the hip flexors:
You will extend the hip, meaning:
- open the front angle between your thigh and your torso
This is relatively easy to do with a simple lunge, but we’re going to tap into the best of stretching science — like PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular technique) — to really get in there.
The stretches in this list can be performed in a sequence.
1. Simple Lunge
Don’t underestimate this pose just because it’s simple! It may be the single most effective position there is to stretch the hip flexors.
- Place right foot at top of mat
- Place back knee down on mat, toes untucked
- Place hands on blocks or on your thigh
- Lift your heart
- Allow the hips to sink forward, heavy
Stay for 5-15 breaths.
The tendency can be to want to lean forward, but don’t do it if you want the best possible stretch for your hip flexors. The higher you lift your heart, the better you’re going to stretch the top fibers of your psoas, for instance.
2. PNF Lunge
PNF, a stretching technique first developed for stroke patients, combines active muscular engagement with passive stretching.
This technique teaches the brain how to fire the muscle at a deeper-than-usual range of motion. In so doing, the body learns that this particular position is safe — and it is more apt to reach that same range of motion again.
It’s is arguably the fastest and most effective way to gain flexibility in the hip flexors. If you could only do one pose on this entire list, do this one!
- In lunge position, actively squeeze the front heal toward the back knee (and vice versa) for 10 seconds. (You’ll need to squeeze HARD!)
- Then, release into a passive stretch for 6-10 seconds.
- Repeat 3 times
You’ll likely notice your increased depth right away.
Many people will not squeeze hard enough to fire the hip flexors. Really try to picture your muscles kicking on and releasing. Your ability to do this will get better with continued practice.
3. Lunge w/ a block under the back knee
Once you feel like you’ve plateaued with the simple lunge, it’s time to take it up a notch.
You’ll place a block underneath your back knee to open the angle of your front hip even more.
- In lunge, place a block underneath your back knee
- Optionally, use a block for balance and support
- Stay for 5 to 10 breaths
To keep in mind:
Figure out whether you are unconsciously resisting depth in this stretch. If you are, picture your pelvis as a hammock that hangs passively.
4. Lunge w/ quad stretch
By lunging with a quad stretch added, you are targeting your rectus femoris muscle, one of the hip flexors.
This stretch adds a layer of spice to your hip flexor opening.
- From lunge, bend your back knee.
- You may want to cushion it with a blanket
- Make sure you are on the quad part of your knee, not directly on the kneecap (cuz that won’t feel good)
- If you can grab your foot go ahead. If you can’t try looping a strap around the foot.
- Spend 10 breaths here, deepening subtly as time goes on
To keep in mind:
This will intensify your lunge stretch quite a lot. Please note that it is important to relax and release your muscles before you stretch them!
5. King Arthur Pose
“King Arthur” is another great way to target your quadricep hip flexor, the rectus femoris muscle.
- Set up a block by a wall
- Place your back knee on the block with your shin and top-of-foot running up the wall vertically
- Press your bum up against the wall to get the full stretch.
Tuck your tailbone in order to amplify the stretch across your anterior hip.
Bonus: Lunge the wall with backbend
For an even deeper stretch for the hip flexors, take your King Arthur pose to a wall and reach over head.
The act of lifting your heart upward will provide an extra deep opening for the front chain, including the hip flexors.
How did these feel?
If you try these, let me know how they feel!
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Leigha Butler is a long-time YouTuber, yogi, momma, vegan, handstand coach, and lover of wellness. She brings her former life as an Environmental Lit teacher to bear on her writings — with the goal of uplifting people and planet.
You can practice with her weekly from the comfort of your home. Sign up for free trial on her membership site, LBY.