As a physiotherapist who works both in orthopaedics and pelvic health I come across a lot… and I do mean a lot… of tight hip flexors.
With this, however, I also see a lot of people who are actively trying to stretch out their hip flexors. The unfortunate part, however, is that a lot of the times when people try to stretch their hip flexors they aren’t actually getting a good stretch because of the position of their pelvis and spine during their attempted stretch.
Enter my favourite hip flexor stretch:
- Get into a half-kneeling position, with your back leg being the one you are about to stretch.
- Hold a stick, dowel, or foam roller in front of you and actively push it down into the ground. This is a small, but important, step as it engages your core and forces the stretch to happen where we want it to.
- Keep your body upright and posteriorly rotate your pelvis (think: squeeze your glutes as hard as you can). Almost everyone I have worked with can actually feel a stretch at this point, without even taking it further.
- Then, keeping your pelvis rotated, glutes squeezed, and body upright, lean forward at the hips, holding at the end for no more then 2 seconds.
- Return to the start and repeat 8-10 x per leg
Now, there is more to the story than just tight hip flexors.
Though I do love this stretch and find it hugely beneficial for so many people, I want to make one thing entirely clear: if you have tight hip flexors, they are tight for a reason. And you should figure out what that reason is and work towards solving the problem. How do you do this? Find out what muscles are out of balance by coming in to see me, a colleague, or a physiotherapist near you. Because you can stretch all you want but until you find out the root of the cause of those tight muscles… you will just have to accept this stretch as part of your new daily routine!