For the vast majority, our hips – or more precisely, our hip flexors – are tight, stiff and inflexible. If you’re an office worker you can probably thank sitting down at your desk 8 or more hours a day for your tight hip flexors. Habitual sitting causes your hip flexors to tighten and shorten.
Tightness in this area also often goes hand-in-hand with anterior pelvic tilt, a term describing where your butt sticks out! How many people think their butt is big when it’s actually just prominent. A curvy low back might look shapely and the swaying butt might attract attention but its a recipe for low back pain!
If there’s too much tilt it isn’t great for your posture and as a result can contribute to back pain. Getting flexible in this area can help to correct anterior pelvic tilt, especially when combined with glute and core work, giving you much better posture.
Before You Start
Stretch your hip flexors before and after you exercise. If you feel stiffness or pain in your hips, you may need to spend extra time stretching. Always use precaution when performing any kind of stretch or exercise and if you feel pain, stop immediately.
Hip Flexor Lunge
Step forward into a lunge far enough so that you have to bend your front leg, but not too far so that you can’t touch the ball of your opposite foot to the ground. Sink down into the lunge, feeling the pull on your back quad and calf. With your front leg bent at a 90 degree angle, bend your back knee so that it’s hovering just above the ground. Make sure your back stays straight and tall and your hips remain tucked under your body. Hold this pose for 15 to 20 breaths, then release. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Lunge
This is a variation of the hip flexor lunge that requires you to begin in a kneeling position on a soft but firm surface. Kneel on your right knee, cushioning your kneecap with, say, a folded towel. Place your left foot in front of you, bending your knee at 90 degrees and placing your left hand on your left leg for stability. Place your right hand on your right hip to avoid bending at the waist. Keep your back straight and abdominal muscles tight. Lean forward into the raised leg, shifting more body weight onto your front leg. Keep the opposite knee connected with the ground. You’ll feel a stretch in your right thigh. Hold for about 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Sit with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the ground. Lower your knees until the soles of your feet are flat against one another. Gently grip the arches of your feet with your hands, one hand on each foot, and rest your elbows on your knees. Slowly press down on your knees with your elbows until you feel a stretch in your hips and inner thighs. You should avoid bouncing your knees up and down, as this detracts from the effectiveness of the stretch. Hold this pose for 10 to 15 breaths and release. Complete three times with 30-second rests between reps.
Happy Baby Pose
Head to Knee Stretch
Deep Squat Hip Stretch
Sumo Squat to Stand
Complete Hip Flexor Stretch
Lean forward using your hands to support you and stretch one leg back behind you.
Shifting your position so you’re sitting into your hip toward the outside of your bent leg, lean forward until you feel a pull in the back side of your hip.