Hip Flexor Stretches

by Amy Selinger – PT, DPT, OCS

Hip Flexors are the muscles in the fronts of our hips. They help us flex (bend) our hip. This allows us to bring our knee toward our head as we do when we lift our leg to climb stairs, to put on your sox (or pants or skirt) or to swing our leg forward for walking or running.

If you need to stretch your hip flexors, it is important to do so safely. It is very easy to mistakenly stretch the wrong part(s)… like our lower back.

Grasp your foot with one hand while holding on to a stable surface with your other hand. Pull your abdominal muscles inward and gently pull your thigh back to about even with your torso. If you pull your leg backward too far, you will likely stretch your back or your hip joint.

The image on the left below shows safe technique. The image on the right shows an unsafe stretch with the back arching (stretching) more than the hip flexor muscles.

In these images we see the same stretch shown above, this time from the front. The first image is the same great hip flexor stretch shown above. This image shows that it is important to keep your legs fairly close together.

The second image shows improper technique. It is important not to let the leg you are stretching drift out away from your midline (right).

Here is another great way to stretch your hip flexors:

With this stretch the idea is to pull your tummy in and tuck your buttocks under. Your back will be flat or there will still be a small arch in your lower back. Do not allow your back to round backward. The correct technique is shown in the image on the left. Be careful not to shift your weight too far forward while in this position. The incorrect technique is shown on the right. In the incorrect stretch, you may be stretching your lower back or putting your hip joint in a stressful position.

It is important to be gentle!

1 Comment
  • Amy Selinger, PT, DPT, OCS
    Posted at 02:56h, 29 January

    Founder of Back to Life Physical Therapy, is a board certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) who has taught Graduate, and Post-graduate physical therapy courses on treatment of lumbar, hip and pelvic pain. Her treatment focus is on chronic back, neck, shoulder, hip, sacroiliac and pelvic pain and incontinence. Jessica Manley joined Back to Life in 2014 with a passion for treatment of pelvic health issues including chronic pelvic pain, incontinence, pain with sex, post partum/perinatal pain, trans-related post-operative pain, and associated hip and/or low back pain.