Your hip flexor muscles span from your lower vertebrae to your pelvis, hip joint, femur and knee. These muscles flex your knee toward your torso. Tight hip flexor muscles are common in people who spend a lot of their day sitting, and may cause hip, pelvis or back pain. When these muscles are tight, getting a good stretch doesn't have to be time consuming or difficult. In fact, you can stretch your hips lying down.
Warm Up with Windshields
It's very important to warm up your body before beginning a stretching routine, especially if you suffer from tight hip flexors. Heating up your muscles first will help prevent injury and give you a better stretch. To start your warm-up, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Place your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. Drop both knees to the right. Bring them back to center and drop them to the left. Continue alternating between movements for about one minute.
Stretch on Your Back
For a gentle way to stretch your hip flexors, lie on your back with your legs extended. Draw your right knee in toward your chest and hold on to your right thigh with your hands. Hold for about 30 seconds and switch sides. To deepen this stretch, lie on a tall bench or the edge of a bed. Position yourself so your legs are hanging off the side. Your glutes and torso should be supported by the bench. Now draw your right knee into your chest and hold for 30 seconds. You should feel a stretch in your hip flexors, on the opposite leg. Repeat on the other side.
Stretch on Your Front
This next stretch helps to lengthen the hip flexor muscles. However, don't practice this stretch if you suffer from a back injury. Lie on your stomach, with your feet extended behind you. Rest your right arm at your side and place your left hand on the ground at chest height. Bend your right knee, reaching it toward your right sitting bone. Lift your head and your chest off the ground. Reach back with your right hand and grab your right ankle. Hold for three to five breaths, or as long as is comfortable.
Pose Like a Pigeon
Pigeon pose is a вЂњhip-openingвЂќ stretch that helps to lengthen the hip flexor of the lengthened leg. To start, come on to all fours. Cross your right leg in front of the left and position your right knee on the ground, next to your right wrist. Stretch your left leg back with the top of your foot on the ground. Fold your torso over your right leg and rest your forehead on the ground. If you have very tight hips or experience tightness in your knee, place a rolled-up blanket under your right hip. Hold for three to five breaths and repeat on the other side.
- Dr. Ben Kim; How to Keep Your Hip Flexors Healthy
- Yoga Journal: Bringing Flexibility Home
- ACE Fitness: Supine Hip Flexor Stretch
- ExRx.net: Lying Hip Flexor Stretch
- Yoga Anatomy; Leslie Kaminoff
- Yoga Journal: Pigeon Pose
About the Author
Shawnee Randolph is a yoga teacher and writer in Salem, Ore. She holds a Bachelor's degree in English: journalism from Corban University, and completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training at Heartsong Yoga in Beaverton, Ore.