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8 Hip Flexor Stretches and Exercises for Healthy Hips

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/15/2013 6:00 AM   :  74 comments   :  1,315,117 Views

If you are like me, you spend a large portion of your day sitting. And because of this, it isn't too uncommon for many of us to have tight hip flexors—the muscles responsible for flexing the hip or drawing the knees to your chest, as well as moving your legs front to back and side to side.

Your hip flexors are not a single muscle, but are actually a group of muscles which are comprised of the iliopsoas, the thigh muscles including the rectus femoris and sartorius, as well as the tensor fasciae latae, the inner thigh muscles including the adductor longus and brevis and finally the pectineus and gracilis.

Tight hip flexors are a common complaint amongst runners, too, due to the small, repetitive movement when running which can bring on injury if the muscles remain tight. If you suffer from tight hip flexors this may lead not only to hip pain, but lower back pain as well. Therefore, by doing stretches and exercises to help release the tension of the muscles, you may be able to prevent an injury from developing.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Front to Back Hip Swing

Hip Flexor Stretch

Standing Hip Flexor

Supine Hip Flexor Stretch

Low Mount Hip Flexor with Band

Butterfly Stretch

Pigeon Pose

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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  • 24
    Thanks - I have pain with my hips and they will often go out of joint. I will use these exercises. - 5/25/2011   11:57:24 AM
  • 23
    Oh my gosh, it's like you were reading my mind. LOL I have been wondering what exercises to do for this. I had a doc tel me to sleep on my stomach. I have a really bad back and they want to replace both hips so not easy to sleep that way. I am going to start doing these and hopefully I can get some relief before a I make the decision to have surgery. - 5/25/2011   11:27:42 AM
  • ROSEBUD1954
    We use a bolster pillow...bigger than the foam roller and place it for about 5 min in sections on our back...ahhh - 5/25/2011   10:28:27 AM
  • 21
    i totally need this!! ;) - 5/25/2011   9:46:32 AM
  • 20
    Wow, that Pidgeon Pose looks tough!! - 5/25/2011   8:26:37 AM
  • 19
    Good To Be Limber...! - 5/25/2011   8:21:02 AM
  • 18
    I've been going to yoga classes and running since January and I've found that running after yoga is amazing. My hips are so loose that I can really go for a long time and with a little additional stretch after I have very little discomfort after. - 5/25/2011   7:25:05 AM
    Thanks for the timely reminder. - 5/25/2011   3:39:57 AM
    I really love hip stretches - thanks for ideas how to update my stretch routine! - 5/25/2011   3:18:09 AM
    my hips are my weak point so I really needed to read this. Thanks for that! Will definitely be making these a necessary part of my exercise routine. - 5/25/2011   2:48:01 AM
  • 14
    I do the second and the last two on a regular basis. I lov-love-love doing pigeon as part of my regular post-run yoga routine. - 5/25/2011   2:31:49 AM
  • 13
    The foam roller is helpful in exercise for the hips. - 5/25/2011   2:25:13 AM
  • 12
    I love pigeon pose for loosening up my hip flexors! Mine get especially tight from hours of running and cycling each week, but I find that yoga helps a lot to keep me loose. If only I could seem to make yoga more of a priority in my workout routine... - 5/25/2011   1:12:43 AM
  • 11
    I'm not running now but I can use these. I just got a foam roller from my chiropractor to try to work on this area (I didn't know foam could feel like bricks!) these will help me alot - thanks. - 5/25/2011   1:11:34 AM
  • 10
    I tried running for a few months last year--had to give it up because my hips hurt so badly. I'm now doing a bunch of these stretches, and wondering if they may have solved my problem. I'd love to be able to run again, but only if it doesn't hurt! - 5/25/2011   12:11:50 AM
  • 9
    I am grateful to have this information. I was feeling pain in my right hip flexor today and didn't know what to do to help sort it out. Than you. - 5/24/2011   11:57:42 PM
  • 8
    Oh, this blog is well-timed for me! That "Hip Flexor Stretch" (third in the list) really feels like it's hitting me where my tight muscle is on the front of my hip. Thanks, Coach Nancy! - 5/24/2011   11:06:57 PM
  • 7
    Good stuff! I wuold add pilates too - Combined with hip flexor stretches, and replacing my office desk with a stand-up work surface, it's saved me from chronic low back/hip pain!
    - 5/24/2011   9:32:08 PM
  • 6
    I was happy to note that all but one of these are included in the classes that I take every week. - 5/24/2011   9:19:39 PM
  • 5
    This is very helpful. My hip flexors are often too tight to do deep squats. It's not until I've done 3-4 sets that they loosen up enough. I will try some of these stretches. - 5/24/2011   8:22:04 PM
  • 4
    Great blog Nancy! I too suffer from tight hip flexors... my favorite is the hip swing (feels great after a run) and I also do the low mount hip flexors with the band... I"m definately going to try the rest of these out!! - 5/24/2011   7:36:43 PM
  • 3
    As a runner who sits at a desk most of each work day the suggested stretches will certainly get incorporated into my repertoire. I love the pigeon pose and do it regularly in yoga classes! - 5/24/2011   6:34:16 PM

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