Hip flexors are a group of muscles that sit at the front of the hips and connect to the pelvis and lower back. They’re an important muscle group which allow you to bend and raise your leg, rotate and kick.
They also help with movement such as running, walking, and squatting or even sitting. However, sometimes these activities can lead to tight hip flexors which can then lead to lower back pain, hip pain, and injury.
If you often have a feeling of tightness around your hips, this could be due to tension around the hip flexors.
This is why the kneeling hip flexor stretch is so important.
In this article, we’ll be discussing:
- What is the hip flexor stretch
- How to stretch hip flexors
- What are the benefits of the hip flexor stretch
- Who is the hip flexor stretch suitable for / not suitable for?
What Is The Hip Flexor Stretch Exercise
The kneeling hip flexor stretch exercise is one of many hip flexor stretches you can do to give mobility to the muscles in the hips. It’s a great way to improve mobility and posture as well as ease and prevent lower back pain.
It’s a simple exercise that you can do at home or in a gym and uses no equipment. Essentially, you kneel on one leg and drive your hip forward with a straight back. The aim is to feel the stretch in the front part of the hip, next to your groin, and the front of the thigh. Below we explain the best way to perform it.
Other hip flexor stretches you can do include:
- Foam roller stretch
- Pigeon stretch
- Spiderman stretch
- Butterfly stretch
- Sitting stretch
How To Do The Hip Flexor Stretch
- Kneel on your right knee.
- Put your left foot on the floor with your left knee at a 90-degree angle
- Drive your hip forward, maintaining a straight back and leaning your torso forward.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat 2 – 5 times with each leg
- Increase your stretch each time
Hip Flexor Stretch – Top tips
- Know how to do a pelvic tilt!
Understanding your pelvic tilt and how it increases your stretch will make you feel this movement much more in your thigh. It will also take it out of your back!
- Stay upright
If you notice that you are leaning backwards, try to stack your ribs over your pelvis and move the pelvis only. Put your hands on your pubic bone and lower back to help you feel this.
- Pad the knee
You need to keep the middle of your knee under the hip joint. If this is painful, put a cushion under the knee to pad it out a bit.
- Don’t worry, it is not about balance!
Hold onto a wall or something for support. Stretching is not about challenging your balance but allowing your muscles to let go. Struggling with your balance just gives one more thing to think about!
- Do some strength work too
How about using strength work to help increase your mobility? Or even use the stretches to open you a window to create some change and use the strength to keep you there.
Remember, if you are not strong enough to stay in a certain range, your body will naturally bounce back to where you are strong enough.
Hip Flexor Stretch Benefits
The kneeling hip flexor stretch is one of the best stretches to help with mobility at the front of the pelvis but other benefits of the Pilates hip flexor stretch include:
- alleviating lower back pain
- improving posture
- providing more power and speed to the legs when doing sports activities
- reducing the risk of injury
- helping fix a tilted pelvis
- increasing flexibility
Who Is The Hip Flexor Stretch Exercise Suitable For?
The hip flexor stretch is suitable for anyone who experiences tight hips particularly if you sit, run, walk or cycle a lot. Opening up the muscles in the hips and upper thighs help loosen up the area in order to prevent injury.
The hip flexor stretch may also be beneficial if you do a lot of strength training. Many people often neglect stretching before exercise but to get the most out of a workout, especially one involving the lower body you should be stretching the hip flexors and related muscle groups.
Who Is The Hip Flexor Stretch Not Suitable For?
It’s best to avoid this stretch if you have severe back or knee pain or if you feel pain while you’re doing it. You don’t want to over-aggravate an injury.
Do make sure you ask your doctor or speak to an exercise specialist such as a Clinical Pilates Instructor for your own individual advice and modifications if needed.
Why Do The Hip Flexor Stretch Exercise?
It’s vital that tight hips should not be ignored. To keep the hips pain free and fully mobile you should aim to do hip flexor stretches regularly. Especially if you sit for long periods of time throughout the day. Hip-opening stretches should be carried out before running, strength training, and playing sports.
If you are new to fitness or worried about starting a new exercise such as the hip flexor stretch we would advise you to always speak to your doctor or physio, or clinical Pilates instructor here at Complete Pilates who can create manageable plans to keep you healthy,
Get in touch online or contact us on 0203 764 5668 for further information and advice!
Education is key:
These blogs are designed to give information to everyone, however, it is important to remember that everyone is different! If you have not seen one of our therapists and have any questions about injuries, what you have read or whether this may be useful to you, please just ask. We are more than happy to help anyone and point you in the right direction. Our biggest belief is that education is key. The more you understand about your injury, illness and movement, the more you are likely to improve.
If you are not sure whether this is for you, simply get in touch
. We are here to help!