Tight Hips? Tips To Loosen Your Hip Flexors

What’s long and hard and as stiff as a plank of wood? Get your mind out of the gutter…I’m talking about your hip flexors. Tight Hip Flexors can be a big problem, and so easy to get. In a previous post, Pain At The Desk, we saw how sitting down affects your hip flexors. I know when I sit at the computer too long, I tighten up very quickly, and after a long flight from Down Under to Europe I’m as tight as a drum.

Where Are Your Hip Flexors?

The ‘Hip Flexors’ are a group of muscles that, well, flex the hip. There are quite a few muscles that actually flex the hip, but two that are specifically referred to as hip flexors. The Illiopsoas group consists of the Psoas and the Iliacus.

fix tight hip flexors

Both attach to the femur. However the psoas attaches to the lower back, whereas the Iliacus attaches to your hipbone. Sitting down puts these muscles in a shortened position, and as a result leaves them pretty tight.

The Psoas attaches to the lower back, if it’s tight, it can pull your back forward, and is a common cause of back pain. A tight hip flexor will also go a long way to inhibiting your bum, which means whatever work you are doing for it, you probably aren’t getting the desired results. No bum means you are susceptible to many more injuries, and have a lack of power in simple things such as walking.

What Can I Do To Loosen Them?

Well, there are a couple of ways to get these babies loose again. Massage, Acupuncture, Foam Rolling, Self Massage are all great ways to loosen up your hip flexors. These should always be accompanied with strength exercises and hip flexor stretches.

Exercises

When you think of loosening a muscle, stretching automatically comes to mind. However, you can also loosen your hip flexors through exercises. It works by taking your muscles through their range of motion dynamically. I’ll outline some of my favourite exercises for loosening your hip flexors, if you want to add your favourite please leave a comment. I have a lot more exercises to do at home you can check out.

Overhead Lunges

This is possibly the best exercise you can do for opening up your hip flexors. It is basically a normal lunge, but you hold a medicine ball, or a light plate above your head. Out stretch your arms, keep them straight, directly above your head, and complete the lunges. You have something that is called fascia; it’s basically a sheath that runs over your muscles. Your fascia is a big issue in hip flexor tightness, and often when that is loosened, the muscle is too. Holding something above your head whilst lunging stretches this fascia out, and you get the added hip flexor stretch.

Reverse Lunges

Same as a forward lunge, but done in reverse! When you step back into the reverse lunge, you are recruiting your bum. Recruiting your bum inhibits your hip flexors, meaning they will relax. Stepping back straight away puts the hip flexors on stretch, and as you do the exercise, you take them through a large range of motion.

Overhead Squat

Performing a squat whilst holding a bar overhead, opens up your hip area, and promotes hip flexor range of motion. When most people attempt this to start, the lower they get, the more they will want to bend forward. If you picture the hip flexors, they attach from the upper thigh, onto the lower back, if these are tight, as you try to get lower, your hip flexors will pull you forward. By holding the bar above your head, you have to stay up straight, basically lengthening your hip flexors during a dynamic movement. Read more about the overhead squat here.

Hip Flexor Stretches

Stretching is an obvious and essential way to loosen those babies. I’ve just taken a picture of my favourite stretch. I’m not sure if I made it up or where I got it from, but for now until someone tells me otherwise, I’ll claim it. I often make up stretches just trying to pin point an area. Basically you get down on one knee, stretch your arms up, then try and touch your opposite hand to opposite foot behind you. Check these pictures to aid my terrible explanation.

There are many variants of hip flexor stretches. That one is just my favourite. This video shows you a few more.

If you have tight hip flexors and suffer from hip pain, start adding these exercises and stretches into your workout, and you will see a difference. If you have some favourite exercises for loosening your hips, leave a comment and we’ll discuss them.

Self Massage

Being able to stretch your hip flexors will loosen them a lot, but taking it one step further and releasing them manually will be even more effective. Use a combination of the two and you can’t go wrong. Hitting your Hip Flexors isn’t the easiest task, and takes a few little tricks. If you have a tennis ball at home, then you have the tools.

Lying on your stomach, you can place the tennis ball directly under your Psoas, which you will find about 1.5- 2 inches to the right or left of your belly button. It helps to raise the ball up with a book, or something substituting as a block. You should hold that position for at least 30 seconds, or until you feel a release.

For more information on how to release your hip flexors make sure you check out my new Kindle Book!

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Comments

  1. Marcia says

    This article and the exercises on hip flexors is very helpful. I especially appreciate that you explained why holding a weight overhead helps, because of stretching the fascia. I didn’t understand that before.

    Do you have any tips for range of motion exercises for hip extensors, abductors and adductors? My overall hip function needs attention, what with having iliotibial band friction syndrome, with associated low back pain on the affected side. But the pain is not such that I can’t pretty much do any sort of exercise.

    thanks!

    • says

      Hi Marcia,

      I must say you need to do overhead squats with light weights.. They are so effective.. Also, you should keep an eye on your position so that you don’t have any pain in your lower back..!

      Thanks!!

  2. Lauren says

    Hi Marcia!

    Glad this post could be of help to you.

    ITB syndrome can be very annoying, although its not stopping you exercising, you can get rid of it, or at least reduce it! It does tend to get right through to your back, you will find once you loosen up a bit and get some more range, your back problem may just disappear.

    Start off with a lot of foam rolling on your ITB. It’s an easy way to reduce the tension in it, not quite as good as massage but is something you can do whenever you want. It’s the fascia over your ITB that is causing you trouble and this will loosen it for sure. It’s a hard place to stretch but you can do some active work. Get on your knees, hands just in front on the floor, and try to drop your hip to the side, gold for a second or two and go to the other side. You will feel this probably just above your ITB, its a good warm up, repeat it a few times. OK before I go on I am going to reference you to another site I run, for Volleyball. I have just happened to do a post on how to loosen your hips up in general, and I think it might be perfect for you, plus the pics are better than my terrible exercise explanation!!
    http://volleyball-base.com/blog/2008/01/04/hip-mobility-part-2-the-program/

    For your hip extensors, well without seeing you it is hard, however as a general rule these need to be strengthened more than stretched. Try getting into a piriformis stretch, its on the site, or simply stretch your bum a bit more after your workouts. However when you have tight ITB and fascia, it is sometimes because of a lack of glute function. Try activating them a little more in your workout, lunges, and glute lifts are good for that, both shown on that site.

    The best range of motion exercise for your hip adductor’s is side lunges with windmills. Also side lunges in general!!

    Really, check out that post on Volleyball Base, it gives you a whole lot of exercises for exactly what you are asking! With pics…let me know what you think and if you have any more questions.

  3. Marcia says

    Lauren,
    Thanks for the advice and the referral to your volleyball exercise web site. For some reason, the pyriformis stretch does magical wonders for my lower right back/hip pain. It’s amazing.

    I have unusually weak hip abductors – gluteus medialis I believe – despite almost a year of doing specific strengthening cable and machine exercises for them. It’s bilateral and simply due to my genetic physiology I guess. In any case, I am wondering whether strengthening my hip adductors helps or hinders that condition. My adductors are relatively much stronger without specifically working on them much.

    Thanks again for all your good insights and advice.

    Marcia

  4. Lauren says

    Hi Marcia,

    I’m glad that stretch helped you! Looking at both your comments your lack of glute function is quite a big problem that is affecting your low back pain and your ITB syndrome. Quite a fair chunk of the population have weak hip abductors, it is a very hard place to activate.

    In regards to the hip adductor’s being problem, well, it could be attributing. Like a tight hip flexor will inhibit glute max functioning, there is every possibility that an over active hip adductor is inhibiting your glute med function. Strengthening them means that you are getting them to contract, and shorten, during a session this will work against you when you are trying to activate your hip abductors.

    In any case, hip adductor’s very very rarely need work in a straight line motion (ie. the machine) and are much better activated in functional exercises. So, my advice, stop strengthening them, and start stretching them, massage them, and foam roll on them. Let’s try to correct the imbalance.

    I don’t want you to give up on strengthening your hip abductors, it can be done! It is hard, but possible. This month I will have an article up about glute function, with a lot of exercises and stretches to help get people to a better place in regards to their hips. But for now, I’m going to email you now with a few great exercises and stretches!

  5. Sudha says

    Hi Lauren,

    Thanks for the advice. I started working out about 4 months back – both cardio and weight training. While I have lost weight and inches ( all from my upper body), my hips just refuse to reduce. Currently I feel like a skittle or a waddling duck, depending on my mood.

    I’d be greatful if you could suggest speciic exercises targeting reducing my hips.

    Sudha

  6. Lauren says

    Hi Sudha,

    Good on you for changing your lifestyle. It’s a tough thing to do and you are succeeding. Unfortunately though, you simply can’t spot reduce. By that I mean, you can’t target fat on any part of your body. Thanks to your genetics, you will store body fat differently in different areas. Basically the stuff around your hips will be the last to come off. Keep doing what you are doing, eat healthy, watch your calorie intake, and keep exercising. You will get the results, it’s just a matter of time.

    I know that it’s not the information you were after, but you simply cannot spot reduce body fat.

  7. says

    Of all the sites I have explored regarding addressing a hip flexor injury, yours was the most straightforward and encouraging.

    Thank you for empowering me with my own body!

  8. says

    I have had through the years notoriously tight hip flexors from years of running and inline speedskating. I find lunges help a lot as well as sit-up on a GHD (glute-ham developer) making sure I go down far, with knees bend and come up fast, straightening my knees on the way up. Helps with Oly lifting. My favorite though, is kettlebell swings; they have helped me loosen the HF’s and have improved my posture due to the increased flexibility.

  9. zoe says

    Hello
    I was getting up from the table 3 weeks ago and pulled my hip flexor – only had it officially diagnosed yesterday as initially doc thought was a hernia. Anyway, the stretch with harms stretched above head has beenone I found was theonly thing that brought me relief and when I explained this to doc and physio they were a bit perplexed – didn’t know why I was doing it but literally spending minutes in this position – saw your article and picture of this and couldn’t believe it! Question now though – after seeng the physio yesterday he deep tissue massaged the hip flexor after ultrasounding it – excessively painful and seems to have re-activated the pain that was barely there anymore – is this just standard and will it promote healing in the long run do you think? I have a linear inch long lump which I think is swelling – have had this lump for 3 weeks with no change now… any thoughts?
    Thanks
    Zoe

  10. Lauren says

    Wait a few day, deep tissue massage can leave you pretty sore afterwards. You are probably right it does sound like swelling…but for three weeks? I am slightly perplexed too. Let me know how it feels in a few days and I will hopefully have some more answers for you then too, we’ll see what the reaction is after it has had some rest.

    The next step will be to strengthen it and loosen it…it can be tight and weak!

    write back soon.

  11. Andy says

    Thanks for the info very helpful, could tight hip flexors be the reason why my quads are always very tight in activities such as running, and lunges etc?

  12. Pam says

    Lauren, WOW! You certainly have a gift when it comes to understanding the body and explaining how it functions. I have a problem with spasticity. I have Multiple Sclerosis and often find myself in tears because I become so spastic that I can’t even sit down. These exercises to open the hip flexors look like something I could do. I will admit that I need to strech more often. I am loosing muscle mass and strength quickly now. Could you recommend other exercises to combine with these that would help my gluts, hips, and hamstrings? Also how often and how long should I do them? I am able to walk and occasionally use a cane when I have flexor spams……Thanks so much, Pam

  13. Pam says

    Lauren, I also wanted to know if you would recommend the foam roller for me. I went to T nation and it said it wouldn.t recommend it for fibromyalgia or chronic pain conditions. With my MS that would qualify for a pain condition, I enjoy getting a massage about once a week…it really helps to loosen all the tight muscles. Its like she is plucking the strings of an instrument they are so tight the muscles just roll and pop around. Thanks again, pam

  14. Lauren says

    Hey Pam,

    Give me a day or so to get a few things together and I will email you with some exercises. I don’t know a lot about MS so I need to do a bit of research.

  15. Pam says

    Lauren, I wanted you to know that today was so much better. My spasms weren’t a major issue keeping me bedridden. I actually went to the grocery store and did some light house work! When I felt a spasm coming on I did the few stretches I know and I was able to continue in my activity. My fatigue level was also manageable. I hope and pray that this is all due to stretching the muscles. Once I get the stretching into a daily habit I would like to work on strengthing my muscles. They are so weak that when I laid down to do the hip flexor exercise where you lay on stomach and lift foot upwards bending knee toward ceiling I could only manage about 5 inchs off of floor without the knee bend. This is the first time I’ve actually been excited about a therapy. I have done stretches and physical Therapy before but, we werent targeting the right muscles. Sorry, hope I’m not overloading you with info. Hubby helped me tonight with the 2 person hip flexor stretch. He liked it also. Talk to you soon. Pam

  16. Lauren says

    thats sounds great pam…I’ll have a few exercises for you tomorrow. I’ll email them to you. I think you will be able to do them no problem and build up your strength.

  17. Lewis says

    Hello,

    I’ve been reading through some of your articles, very good and informative.

    For last few months I’ve had problems which started as tightness in hip flexors (due to sitting from exams), and I also weight lift. So the piriformis became very tight and caused back problems and caught a few nerves.

    I’ve been going to chiropractor and sports massage therapist over the issue. Both have said I can start doing light lower body work. But I was wondering that if I do OH Squats and I get the tight feeling again, what should I do?

    I stretch daily (twice a day), and do dynamic stretches, activation and mobility work 2-3 times a week. And foam roller and tennis ball every evening.

    Today I decided to try very light lower body after 2+months of no work. I done single leg press, and lots of different exercises with just the Barbell (after dyanmic warm up) – e.g. lunges, step ups, back and front squats. Followed by light pull-throughs emphasising the glutes. Then lots of stretching afterwards.
    This did not aggrevate things. But hip flexors still feel a little sore after sports massage on monday.

    I think I do have a little bit of anterior pelvic tilt as well. And have had back problems since a younger age, but nothing was found to be the exact cause.

    I’d like your opinion on what you think the best exercises are for me to do? Thank you for your time

  18. Lauren says

    Lewis

    If you get the tight feeling again, stop. Do OH lunges to start with. Every session, all the time. Will target the hip flexor and won’t put your hips in any angles they don’t want. Keep up the stretching and tennis ball work, that is great for it.

  19. Matthew Monk says

    hi there
    My name is matthew and im 15 years old, i have recently taken up karate and have been stretching alot for the last 8-9 months although i have imroved my flexibility dramatically i believe that i have bad hip flexors as i cannot sit crosslegged with out a noticable pain in my hips, even when in the butterfly strecth my legs want to go down but due to what seems to be my tendons(maybe hip flexors)
    it will be quite painful.
    However after a decent warm up these problems disappear for a few minutes. just wondering is this normal for someone of my age?

    thank you and great advice it helped me alot..

  20. says

    Hi Lauren,
    Glad to have found your site. I have visited a few times in the past and have found your posts very helpful.
    Re. the hip flexor issue, I remember pulling mine about 5 yrs ago when training for a marathon. Ever since, I have a prob. come back periodically.
    I think, a few days ago I aggravated it when I was doing some sprinting (I think).

    Anyway, I was trying to assess if it was indeed my hip flexors (iliopsoas). Is there an exercise I can do to isolate them? Because I can do leg raises (flexion, extension, adduction etc.) and still don’t really feel a lot of pain. Even the stretches aren’t particularly painful.

    What is PAINFUL, is when I went out to try to run today it hurt and I have discovered that if I hop on one foot, it KILLS!!. Its seems like the weight bearing is what hurts the most. Is that my hip flexors or something else.

    BTw, I have some low back pain on same side, but am not sure if it’s psoas. Maybe more around SI joint.

    Any thoughts?

    Wendy

  21. Richard says

    Hi,
    I just stumbled across this website and it seems that you really do know your stuff!

    Last year I was diagnosed with ankylosing sponditlytis, and even though my condition is really good! im still playing sports! :D I have considerably lost all range of movement to the side in my hips.

    Do you know what my problem might be and how i could maybe resolve it? isit to do with my HIP FLEXORS? any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you very much

    Rich

  22. Emily Evans says

    Hi Lauren

    I just wanted to congratulate you on your excellent website.

    I have now finally realised that my IT band problems are caused by tight hip flexors due to spending all day sat down at work. I am now concentrating on stretching the hip flexors so hopefully that will help to cure my problems and allow me to train fully again.

  23. Lauren says

    Guys my apologies have not been around the computer…

    @Wendy
    If you can do all those leg raises then chances are you haven’t pulled a hip flexor muscle, you should get some awareness during those exercises without a doubt. What it is though, I am not sure, if you are having back pain you might be a bit out of wack and need to see a chiropractor, sometimes can refer pain…let me know where you are at now, once again sorry it took me so long to reply.

    @ Richard
    Your condition is general something genetic…however there is still a lot more research going into what can cause this kind of spondylitis. It is chronic inflammation of the joints in your back, and is often mistaken for muskuloskeletal injuries. What I mean is, if your hip flexors are tight, you may be getting extra pain, but it is unlikely that this is the cause of your pain. If they are tight, work on them a bit and see if it helps relieve some pain. Check out this article it has a few ways that you can cut your pain down, and explains it a lot better.

    http://www.medicinenet.com/ankylosing_spondylitis/page4.htm

    Cheers

  24. Debby says

    I have had some trouble with my gait and lifting my left knee when walking. Do you think doing any of these hip flexor stretches will help get rid of this problem? I’ve had this for over 5 years and have been to many different doctors. I’ve spent many years walking and running on a treadmill and have been told that’s probably what did it. The chiropractor always tells me my left hip has rolled forward and pops it back into place only to have the problem again within 30 minutes of leaving his office. I could really use some input from someone on how to resolve this.

    Thanks.

    Debby

  25. Lauren says

    Debby,

    I understand your frustration, however all I can suggest is to try to find someone who knows what they are talking about. A good physio should do the trick. From simply typing I have no idea what the problem is. If you are having trouble lifting your leg it des suggest something to do with hip flexors, but it could also be something to do with the capsule around your hip. Try the hip flexor stretches, if you get pain stop. Play it by ear. If it feels good, keep going. If it is chronic I would suggest it has little to do with the muscle, I mean, if you have damaged a muscle you wont have the persistent pain for many years. Try to find a good physio, they should be able to help. Sorry I could not be of more assistance.

  26. Joe says

    Thanks for this article – I am working on loosening my very tight hip flexors and this will really come in handy. Cheers!

  27. says

    Hi Lauren,
    Great site and great advice/instructions! I have Tethered Spinal Cord Syndrome and recently had the surgery to get de-tethered. I still cannot walk without a walker, and I’m only in my 40’s. The problem is 2-fold: damaged lumbar and sacral spinal nerves (stretched too much) and spasticity. The spasticity keeps me from being able to lift my left leg much and I am also very weak in the hips. Are there some lighter hip flexor exercises I could do to get stronger until I could finally do lunges? (They make me fall right now). Anything else you could suggest to help me walk better aside from getting a Baclafen pump in my spine? Most exercises I have to do sitting down. I can do partial chair squats, but not lunges.
    I went to PT, but they didn’t help me much. They now have me working on my own, just using an elliptical machine and weight machines (leg extensions and curls), plus some light crunches laying down. I feel like I’m not progressing at all. Been on my own with these machines for 8 months. Any advice? Thanks.
    Barb from N.H., USA

  28. PMac says

    Basically, I can’t sit “Indian Style”. My legs simply don’t move that way. It’s frustrating. I’ve always been the only kid in class that’s been unable to sit that way. I can remember this from kindergarten. I’m wondering if that, indeed, comes from having “tight hips”? I need to know so that I can target that and try to fix it. Thanks.

  29. Laura Poppe says

    HI, my problem is that although I am very flexible in general, my hips ache terribly when I sit Indian or cross legged style on the floor. And it’s excrutiating if I try to bend over the crossed legs even a bit. Which specific exercise might help me to get more flexiblity at that particular point in my hips? Thanks for any advice you can give.

  30. cynthia says

    Thanks for the useful post. Quick question: My hip flexor on my right leg is killing me. The problem is that I’m recovering from ACL reconstruction surgery, so I can’t kneel or bend my knee to a great extent (no lunges yet, for example). As I look at the stretches you propose, I don’t see any I can do…yet, my tight hip flexor is getting in the way of the exercises I need to do to rehab my knee. Do you have any ideas about adaptations I could do to stretch my hip flexor without putting a huge amount of weight on a bent knee or kneeling? Thanks!

  31. kara says

    Hi Lauren,
    Thanks for all the information. I’m curious, I’ve recently taken up running and everything has been wonderful until Friday when i went for a 12 mile run and my hip flexor felt like a rubber band pulled as tight as it could go (at mile 9). I love running and am training for a marathon, I rested for 3 days and went for a 3 mile run tonight and it’s flared up again. I’m really worried that my running days are numbered is there anything specific you would recommend for me…it only hurts when I run and about 2 miles into the run.
    Thanks so much!

  32. Diana Lindsay says

    Hi Lauren, stumbled across your website by chance looking for hip flexor stretches. I have recently taken up pole dancing and part of the classes I do a stretch & flex class once a week.

    I have since discovered that I have extremely tight hip flexors in the fact that when you do the leg cross over (not crossed legged, but one thigh crosses over the other thigh) I am extremely inflexible and can only sit up straight whilst the other girls can put their chests to their thighs.

    Bit of background on me. I have scoliosis (hips rotate – left hip is 2.5cm higher than the right due to rotation) and I also have a condition called Sheuermanns disease, which is basically wedge shape vertebrae in the thoracic region of my spine and even narrowing of the vertebrae which gives me limitation in my shoulder region as you can well imagine, leaving me with most possibly very poor posture (even tho I sit very straight I have a slight shoulder droop due to the disease).

    I do the lunge exercises and they come quite easy to me. Surprisingly I am extremely flexible in my hamstrings and can split on either leg, tho right leg is a bit easier than left leg fwd.

    What do you suggest would be some really good stretches to enhance my flexibility in my poorest areas?? Thank you so much for your help.

    Cheers,
    Di

  33. Hallie says

    Please share your knowledge about proximal hamstring strain and trigger point massage therapy. I am a triathlete.

  34. says

    I have severe pain in my left hip area. I am able to lift the knee and run with little or no pain. When I walk, I cannot push off or plant the foot. When I do, I have pain in the hip area. I have taken anti-inflammatory medication for a week, and the pain is still there. I have done some light stretching, but when I do, the pain persists. What next?

  35. Francesca Runza says

    Hi,

    I’m having trouble diagnosing where exactly the problem is. I’ve had xrays and all is fine there, but I have half the flexibility in my right hip as I do in my left. Also, the right hip is super sensitive to the touch particularly along the upper ridge of my pelvic girdle and along the backside of the big pelvic bone. I’m thinking it’s musculature but can’t figure out where the epicenter of the problem is so I can target it. It is tendon, muscles and which ones?

  36. Brian says

    Hi Lauren, I have what Debby (Feb 6th) has but like her I don’t have pain in my hip but very limited flexibility. I even had foot drag/drop as a result. Debby and Lauren I’ve been getting foot massage on my hip flexors and it has helped. I’m not quite there yet but hopefully I’ll get there soon, I’ve also worked on my IT band and knee and ankle flexor.
    I’d like to hear more input.

    Thanks

  37. Grant says

    Hi lauren

    I have a long standing problem with my adductors. After exercise I get pain in both adductore (the following day). Originally yhis was only in the right hand side however now occurs both sidesI also get pain in my right knee I have found that wearing heat/compression shorts help. I know that I have tight hip flexors and have been stretching them thoroughly for the last few months. Can you offer anymore advice as to any weaknesses e.g abductors which could be causing this problem.

    Also since I have started exercising again wearing the heat/compression shorts I find that my hamstrings can also ache after running.

    Can you offer any advice

  38. Lauren says

    Hey Grant,

    Have you added lunges into your program? It is a single leg exercise and does a lot for your adductors. Also will loosen those hip flexors in the process.

  39. says

    I RECENTLY HAD TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENT NOV. 18, 2009.
    I’VE BEEN IN PT FOR 8 WEEKS. THE TROUBLE IS MY KNEE WON’T STRAIGHTEN OUT. I’AM STILL HAVING PAIN ESPECIALLY WHEN I WALK. MY PT SAYS; THAT MY KNEE PROBLEM IS MY HIP FLEXORS. IT’S VERY TIGHT. I CAN’T PRESS MY LEG INTO THE FLOOR. I NEED HELP. THE REALIGNMENT OF MY KNEE IS GOING INWARD. WILL HIP FLEXOR EXERCISE HELP ME GET MY LEG STRAIGHT. IS IT TO SOON TO WORRY ABOUT THIS? I JUST WANT MY LEG STRAIGHT!!! PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE A ANSWER TO MY PROBLEM. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!

  40. Lauren says

    Do you have an appointment with your surgeon soon? I suggest you try the hip flexor stretches if you PT says they are tight, but go and get it checked out by a professional as well, It is too soon after surgery to be playing around and experimenting.

  41. Jason says

    Over the past few years I have noticed my back is abnormally curved. I asked two seperate doctors and both said that it looked fine. I did some research online and it looks like I have something callled lordosis or ‘saddle back’. I had previously never heard of this condition so I wasn’t sure what to do about it. I read online that loosening your hip flexors can help. Can you confirm this?
    I am a 19 year old male.
    Thanks.

  42. marita says

    I stumbled across your site when I was looking for a way to pop my hip back in. The tightness is part of my problem and it gets to the point where my right hip needs to be popped back into place.

    I’ve been to chiropractors, but they don’t always get the hip back in and sometimes I’m able to pop it back in myself. Do you have a surefire way to pop the hip in once it’s out?

    When it’s out it’s impossible to run or walk correctly, because I stumbled across your site when I was looking for a way to pop my hip back in. The tightness is part of my problem and it gets to the point where my right hip gets so tight that it makes my leg feel shorter on that side.

    I’ve been to chiropractors, but they don’t always get the hip back where it should be and sometimes I’m able to pop it back in myself. Do you have a surefire way to pop the hip in once it’s out?

    When it’s out it’s impossible to run or walk correctly, because the right leg feels like it’s shorter and like I’m stepping into a hole on that side every time.

    (I’ve also just read about the tennis ball therapy – love it!)

  43. Janice says

    Thanks so much for your info…my hips have been killing me! One question: I sit cross-legged a lot, especially when I read to my kids on the couch. Curious if you think this is particularly contributing to the problem of tight hip muscles. Thanks.

  44. Debbie says

    HI
    I found your page looking for some stretches to sort out my right hip. I’ve been training for a half marathon and do all the usual hamstring, calf and glute stretches after a warm up and after i’ve cooled down but the other morning I woke up after doing 10miles and couldn’t lift my right knee more than about 6″ off the ground without absolute agony in my hip (right on the front of the hip into the crease in my leg where it joins my body).

    I’ve never done that before and have no idea how I got it in one leg and not the other…although I do have undiagnosed knee pain occassionally in the same leg (apparently physio cannot “recreate my pain” however my yoga instructor can spot the bad knee a mile off and has to adjust many of the poses for my right knee. I’m wondering whether this has lead to my flexor over-compensating for a bad knee. Other than stretches (lunges make my bad knee worse) is there anything I can do to try sort this muscle out as my training has ground to an almighty halt (and I’ve got a 10k in less than 3 weeks), even walking is a struggle at the minute esp if its on any kind of incline.

  45. Anna says

    Hi!

    Thanks for your advice about all the exercises that are good for tight hip flexors. All very usefull!!

    I have two questions. Firstly, I wondered if or how having tight hip flexors might affect my gait or vice versa. (I wonder if there is something I should be trying to change in my gait to try to correct my hips)

    Also, I wondered if there are any good crunches/sit ups type ab exercises for people with tight hip flexors since I find that crunches in most positions end up engaging my hip flexors rather than my abs.

    Thanks so much!!

    Anna.

  46. Alex Schmitt says

    Hey,

    I plan on starting to do all of these stretches in order to improve my squat form. I have a terrible time getting parallel as my hip flexors tighten up and I can’t get any lower. Are there any other tips you might have on improving my squat.
    Thanks, Alex

  47. barney says

    Hi thanks for the site. I am in my mid fifties and had major surgery on my spine about 27 years ago. I dont do gymn work as such but cycle, speed walk and play badminton.
    I have a flat back, which I always assumed was down to muscle wastage around the surgery site and I also have very tight hamstrings.
    Stretching has never seemed to help with the hamstrings so after reading the gen on your site I am doing some work on freeing up my hips and correcting anterior pelvic tilt which I am hoping will help.

    Many thanks
    Barney

  48. blair sylvester says

    i notice when i do lunges that my lower back compensates for my tight hip flexors. is there a better stretch that isolates the hip flexors and takes the lower back out of the equation?

  49. Craig W says

    I have super tight psoas muscles.
    I have been using a device called a Sacrowedgy. It is a small lift that you place under you sacrum as you lie on your back. It lifts the sacrum allowing the muscles of your hips to relax.
    I have found it really relaxes my psoas muscle when I lie down on it for 20 minutes a day.
    it’s on the web, made by a small company in Alabama.

    Craig W.

  50. Andrew says

    Excellent site – thank you!

    I pulled both hip flexors about six months ago (gardening). Never had such pain in my 42 years. 8 months later, I still have to take it easy on the elliptical.

    Speaking of genetics, is there any correlation between hip flexor issues and my preferring, in sleep, to bring my knee (either one, but just one) right up, almost to to my underarm?

    Sorry if it sounds weird.

  51. Helen says

    Amazing article! I have been a very active individual all my life and taught aerobics for 20+yrs. I had to quit when I found I was crawling out of my classes almost on my hands and knees…think it was the step classes and kickboxing that did it! I have very tight hipflexors,and TFL on one side (maybe from compensating from a femoral hernia on the otherside). I have had to stop my 2 passions for the last 3 yrs (fitness and riding horses). My back would collapse on me! I am now doing yoga and can see a difference but have never understood why my buttocks (that used to be so strong) would not fire!
    Question – can tight hipflexors cause weak hip abductors? (therefore causing the TFL to overwork???) ….If you have to sit/drive alot would squeezing the buttocks help relax the hipflexors….?I have an 8hr trip to endure and usually can’t move after 1hr!!

  52. Margo Baldrige says

    I have had two total hip replacements in 2006 and 2008 and in the past 2 years I have
    had problems with very tight hip flexors. I assume this is caused from the surgery when
    they did the hip replacements. I occasionally go to PT to get treatment which seems to
    help for awhile. But I guess I really need to keep doing these exercises you furnish here.
    I find when I sit or ride in the car and try to get up and walk, those hip flexors are tight
    as a drum and they don’t loosen up until I have walked a few feet to stretch them out.
    I just turned age 72 and believe I will probably have this issue for the rest of my life.

  53. Lauren says

    @ Helen, thanks! Yep, tight hip flexors can inhibit abductors, for sure. If you have to drive a lot, better to stop at regular intervals for 5 mins, stretch your hip flexors and activate your butt. Doing it in a sitting position is not going to be very effective. Hope that helps/

    @ Margo, Not necessarily, it is something you can get released if done properly. Try the exercises, you might be surprised at the long term relief that you will feel.

  54. says

    Great tips – can you share any suggests for charlie horses? I seem to get them often when I stretch my legs while doing these types of exercises that you have in your pictures. Then I want to give up exercising for a few days because my dang legs hurt from the charlie horses lol can you offer any rec.?

  55. says

    Hi! I am a CPT and have been fighting fire-happy hip flexors for years! Have found that dead lifting, rather than squatting, has contributed greatly to recruiting glutes without firing my flexors. Also, “unloading” the squat by holding a bar or TRX has helped retrain my muscle fire patterns.

    Thanks for the great info! The over-head movements are great and I am super excited about reading the book as I’m looking for more self-release techniques for when they seize up on me.

  56. robin says

    hello, I have sort of a unique problem. I am 22 years old male fairly active and in good physical shape. I cannot sit crossed leg on the floor and I cannot squat properly either. I can touch my toes bending down. I have been to the doctor and there is no problem with my bones or anything, I haven’t been able to sit crossed leg or squat since I was a young kid, even though I was not fat. Also both my mom and dad are able to do both of these things. What would u suggest? The doctor told me to do a lot of stretches and I am also going to get some accupunture.

  57. Wendy says

    Hi! I learned so much from your article and responses to the questions above. I strained my hip flexor when I was young, and the same pain comes back to haunt me everytime I run. I stretch them before I run, which definitely helps, but I have been training for a marathon and after my long runs I have the pain for the next few days. It goes away with rest. I’ve gotten used to it and I’m conscious of not straining it when I run. Yesterday I ran 10 miles, and now I not only have the hip flexor pain but pain along side my knee cap. Do you think that favoring my hip flexor is causing the knee pain and could this become a serious issue if I keep running?

  58. James says

    Hi! Great article! Thanks for writing it! My hip flexors are just awful and I believe have contributed to a lower back curve I have. I’m curious as to your thoughts on this issue, as well as this question: Would extremely tight hip flexors reduce your turnout for ballet? My turnout is really lame, and I know numerous guys who don’t even dance who have a perfect turnout and it’s irritating. Could this be a contributing issue?

    Thanks!

  59. edward joseph says

    Hello thank you For the information, i am a “newbie” personal trainer and this info is excellent for the use of my clients and also myslef. I do have a question due to this book, i heard someone else mention it to me an with this info that you gave i really want to buy it now. Does the book have workouts and also stretches to loosen up muscles in the body that are tight?

  60. says

    I have had a problem with a twisted hip and I have been trying out the stretches and they have helped me alot. The problem is trying to get time to fit it in after work, but its definetely worth doing excercises

    I must compliment you on the photos, they making it real easy to understand what and how to do the excerises.

  61. says

    hi im natalie ,
    im 14 years old and im a dancer i have been in dance sense i was 2 . im a very good dancer however some of the easy moves are very hard to acomplish with tight hips . my dance teacher told my some but i feel like i need more . this site gave me a few , i was wondering if you could publish a few more on your site or e.mail me some thank you very much this will help me in deance BIG TIME :) !! .
    -natalie

  62. says

    Hello! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

  63. says

    Awesome website you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get feed-back from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Kudos!

  64. Ryan says

    Hey i recently got a bursitius in my right knee then after running and favoring that knee my right hip became very sore. Is the a hip floor issue??

  65. Bill says

    I am currently doing a variant of this reverse lunge exercize by keeping my knee on the floor. I would like to intensify this by raising my knee off the floor, but am concerned that this may put too much strain on my previously dislocated SI joint. Any suggestions?

  66. Chazny says

    Hi Lauren

    I wish I had of discovered your site at the begining of my marathon training. I’m doing my first martahon in 10 days time. Training was going very well but on my last 20 mile race I did something funny to my hip flexor. I haven’t been able to run in 18 days and have been keeping my fitness up through swiming and cycling. I’ve been getting deep tissue massages and doing stretching exercises.

    Do you think I will be okay to run the marathon in 10 days time? Would it do any further damage? Am I better to try and run a few miles every day or should I continue to swim and rest it until the big day?

    Thanks
    Chazny

  67. KarenB says

    I tried to go to your various videos and the links seem to be broken. I’d really like to see the Reverse Lunge, for example.

    I appreciate the article. My massage therapist tells me my hip flexors are very tight. I sit all day doing computer work.

  68. Julie Stonier says

    Hi, I have stumbled onto your site while trying to determine what the area is called where I get pain. I really have no good idea of the body!

    Basically I am doing a walking marathon in less than 2 weeks. When I do lots of walking for extended periods, I get really sore at the top of my legs, not thighs but along the crease/joint at the very top of my leg, where it bends. Maybe not a great description. Is this hips? I thought they were at the side but who am I to know?

    I do stretches but I really struggle in this area and don’t know how to target this area as I’m not sure exactly what it is.

    If u can offer any help in advance of my marathon walk

  69. says

    Thank you for this site. I have had low back pain for years and it is all due to my psoas. Hurts on both sides and these exercises are just what I need. Thanks again. Great site!

  70. Natalie says

    Hi

    I get pain around my hip flexors on left side and then lower back (around my sacrium region) gets pain. I have had numbness in that leg and down my arm before and it get’s bad after aerobics or running. I also have a fused vertibraes in my neck C6 and C7. Do you have any recommendations for how to help this? I’m sick of having to stop working out all the time because of my back/neck/hip.

    Many thanks
    Nat

  71. Anthony says

    Hi Lauren,

    Thank you for your fantastic site!! I realise that you have been giving out a lot of advise and certainly don’t expect a response… BUT(!): I have bow legs and have been told that they may be a combination of tight hips and weak inner thighs. I have been doing Bikram Yoga for a few months, although I am enjoying it, I don’t feel that that particular routine/practice targets my problem.

    When I walk I feel a kind of tight immobility in my hips and am very conscious of my bandy legs. Do you have any exercises or stretches that would help? I would preferably like something I could do regularly alone but am prepared to try anything!

    Thanks again for all your work,

    All the best,

    Ant

  72. Clover says

    Hiya

    My hips are terribly inflexible and when I sit cross legged and bend forwards it hurts where the leg joins my hip. Also if I sit feet together and try to push my knees to the floor it hurts the same muscle, do you have any advice for increasing flexibility here?

    Many Thanks

  73. Chris says

    Honestly the most informative site I have come across so far. Thanks for putting it together.

    I am 28 years old and when I was 17 I dislocated my hip. Thankfully it went right back in but most pain I have ever been in by far. I took a year off and then jumped right back into harsh activity and did it again (lesson learned). Since then I have been unable to run or even be on my feet all day without intense pain across front of my hip the next day. I now think is the Iliacus. I do play roller hockey, indoor and beach volleyball and it doesn’t bother me. One last note is that I do take a Glucosamine Chondrotin supplement daily that eliminates the day to day aching.

    Does this sounds like it is just an injured or weak hip flexor or something else? I am just afraid that this will get worse with age since my initial injury was over 10 years ago. I would like to start some kind of routine to stretch and strengthen so that someday I may be able to run again and not be even worse when I am older. Any information or suggestions would be appreciated.

  74. says

    My favorite way of loosening up a tight muscle is the contract/relax method where you statically contract (without movement) the muscle for 7-10 seconds, then relax, followed by a passive or active stretch (a few degrees) to a greater range of motion. The Contract Relax process is repeated until no further increase in range of motion is possible. This should be done in a pain-free ROM of course.

    Best regards,
    Denise Williams
    Licensed Massage Therapist
    Much Kneaded Massage Therapy NYC

  75. Celia says

    About 2 years ago I had what was diagnosed as an ankle sprain (Since I wasn’t aware it was sprained at first, it couldn’t be that bad…). It did not, however, heal very well, and I have had chronic pain in my front and outside ankle tendons, peroneal tendons along my calf, and more recently bad hip, IT band pain, especially when exercising – even just walking or biking. It seems that SOMETHING is always sore. Every now and then it feels like it gets better and then for what seems like no good reason it will start to hurt very bad again. I went to PT for a few months and they said that my muscles were very tight and told me to stretch a few times a day , however, when I do it makes the pain MUCH worse for days or even weeks. However, I can’t say that they are wrong. My leg on that side is much less flexible than the other, and when I walk, sometimes I can feel the IT band pulling my leg in – which I would imagine could screw up how my foot falls. I’ve been to specialists and had an MRI which showed nothing other than mild swelling – they told me there wasn’t much to be done. Any idea what this could be or suggestions on how to deal with it. Stretching doesn’t seem to improve my flexibility, only hurt…?

  76. Gemma says

    Hi Lauren,

    I have had ongoing back pain and put it down to being sedantary for most of the day.

    I have only just begun to see a physio who has suggested that I have extremely tight hip flexors. This makes sense given I do about 1-1.5 hrs cardio (running/spin) a day and don’t ever stretch properly (at all) afetrwards.

    I have a couple of exercises that I have been given to do, and was wondering if you could advise on a few more?

    Also, would you suggest nassage or dry needling for relief of lower back pain?

    Thanks Lauren!

    • Lauren says

      Honestly the stretches I listed are simple and effective. Try them and the release as well. Dry needling is great, I sweat by it.

  77. says

    HI! I am 39 and have never been able to sit “cross-legged.” Ever. I have sat in a “W” formation my whole life…and have been told that I must stop…so now I really have no way of sitting on the floor…which is pretty inconvenient being a pre-k teacher! I would love to “learn” how to sit “criss-cross”- as I tell my students! What types of exercises would you reccomend?
    Thanks!

    • Lauren says

      Depends what is tight! Often it can be your groin area, your adductors. Try stretching your groins and hip flexors and see how you go :-)

  78. says

    Lauren, great insights into iliopsoas and the anterior chain structures. Here in Canada we have a special interest in hip flexors because all of our ice hockey players end up with goofy hips. As a physiotherapist I like the direction that you’ve taken, and would add that the pelvis joint (SI joint) is also super important. Which makes sense due to the fact that iliacus attaches to the ileum. There are several joint techniques that can also help the hip flexors.

  79. says

    This is some really great information Lauren, thank you for posting it. I myself have an anterior pelvic tilt which creates an excessive low back arch. This means that my hip flexors are chronically tightened and my glutes are stretched and weak. Something for your readers to understand is that a lot of their questions fall into two categories: 1) they need to get checked out by the proper physician and 2) sounds like a lot of people have weak glutes.

    I would suggest to your readers that they get properly assessed by a certified personal trainer – a NASM-CPT more specifically as they are trained to do so. The trainer will discover what muscle compensations you may have that are leading to your dysfunction. Until you know what those specific compensations are, you’re shooting in the dark and you can’t be treated effectively.

    Example, if you are found to have an excessive low back arch, you will probably test positive for: tight hip flexors, weak glutes, tight and stretched hamstrings and lower back (they are compensating for your glutes and pulling which is creating your lower back pain, possibly, and also possibly knee pain) etc.

    Your muscle compensations should be treated by foam rolling the tight areas, stretching the chronically tight areas and strengthening the weak areas.

    The hip flexor stretch you “made up” :) is actually called the “kneeling hip flexor/psoas stretch”. And there are some points I’d like to point out to help your readers make it more effective. When performing your stretch, make sure 1) your knees and toes are pointing straight 2) draw in your belly button 3) tuck under your pelvis and squeeze the glute of the back leg (now your lower spine is in neutral) – this act alone might cause your hip flexors to light up! 4) gently move forward only a few inches, keeping the pelvis tucked and the glute contracted and hold for AT LEAST 20 seconds. This is key. The muscle will not relax until that point. If you are going to be exercising, follow that stretch up with either an active-isolated stretch or dynamic stretch to activate the muscle and teach it to function with its new range of motion.

    There’s much more I could write, but overall a well written article! Again, look for a NASM-CPT or CES (corrective exercise specialist) if you can find one, they are really trained to help, and see your doctor otherwise.

  80. Chris Wyatt says

    I am a hockey goalie and I love playing the position but I am in a lot of pain at the end of every hockey event I play in. Just the basic stance feels uncomfortable to me and my butterfly position (_A_ on your knees with feet to the sides toes down) consists of my feet going straight behind me giving me less goal coverage. Would these hip exercises and stretches help me? And also I work as a paramedic on an ambulance sitting down a lot, how long should I stretch a day?

  81. Lauren says

    G’day Angela, appreciate your comments, very helpful to my readers :-)

    Chris, why don’t you try them and see? It sounds like you have a problem with range of motion. It also seems like you might need to strengthen your glutes, especially glute med. Just try to stretch as much as you can, counter act the act of sitting down all day.

  82. Marita says

    I wish I would have come across your blog sooner! It took me a long time to figure out what you have explained here so well. Injuries left me being afraid to move too much when I should have moved more. This left my hip flexors so tight, that my glutes where getting extremely weak and the back pain worse; and even messed up my knee.

    Anyway, the problem I have now, is that my right side always gets tighter than the left to the point where my right leg feels shorter. Your kneeling down stretch here works great, even though it feels like it’s ripping apart my hip :)

    I also activate my glutes the second I roll out of bed which helps a lot.

    My 2 cents to anyone who is hurting: don’t stop moving, but take it easy. If you’re too scared you’re gonna hurt yourself again, train with a physical therapist for a while (or someone who knows what they’re doing like Lauren:) who can safely show you more stretches and moves you can do. It may be two steps forward and one step back, but the outcome will be improvement.

  83. Brittany says

    These work so well! I get charlie horses in my hips all the time if I move or sit funny. The last stretch really helps to improve my flexibility and prevent charlie horses. Thanks!

  84. Lewis Cooper says

    Hi Lauren,

    Great blog. I was wondering if you could offer up some advice on stretching my hip flexors. When doing this stretch in particular, I almost always get inner stomach pain shortly after.

    Is it possible that my psoas is so tight that it is irritating my intestines?

    Either way, do you know of an alternative stretch that I can do to avoid this pain?

    Lewis

  85. says

    Great descriptions of the different stretches, personally I feel that it is important to vary which stretches to perform in order to keep interest in a stretching routine, but also to make sure you’re stretching every part of the Hip.

  86. Jeff Wagensveld says

    How would a parapleghic do exercises to relieve suspect shortened hip flexors? An RMT mentiond that may be the cause for my chronic back pain due to always sitting? one she mentioned was to lie on my bed with legs hanging over and pull 1 leg at a time to chest for a few seconds, then do other leg. Is this good enough? Obviously I can’t do squats or lunges.
    any suggestions would be appreciated

  87. Lauren says

    This could work, it is a good stretch. Get someone to push down on the other leg to exaggerate the stretch. I would also try to get a professional to release them as well, with active release therapy.

    What about this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIJWMCQGeAs
    Just need a ball around that size, get yourself on the floor and move with your upper body up and down??

  88. alan says

    hey i get pain in hip flexor are when i play soccer especially after sprinting or stopping all of sudden or when i change direction really fast could you help me out by giving me some advice please. thank you email me back when you can

    • Lauren says

      First thing, see a professional. Hip flexor is a nasty area to injure. If you have strained the muscle you will need rest and rehab asap. Takes time.

  89. Matt says

    Hi Lauren,

    I get pain in my lower back, just above my hip when I strike a soccer ball. Being a soccer coach, this effects me greatly. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Matt

  90. Wendy says

    Hi Lauren

    I am a Pilates teacher and also a low back sufferer. I have worked hard over the years to try to release my hip flexors after years in a sedentary job, and they are much better. However, despite all the work I’ve put in I still have flare ups of low back pain, often aggravated by the squats and lunges that I’m performing to strengthen gluts and release hip flexors to combat the back pain. Grrr! I feel I’m going around in circles, which is most frustrating, particularly in my line of work and for someone who enjoys exercise so much. A Physio I saw said some of my advanced pilates exercises (such as double leg stretch, scissors, double leg lowers) are just strengthening psoas major and therefore aggravating lumbar issues. I am pretty strong in my core, but this has obviously not eliminated the problem. Can you help – any advice would be much appreciated!

  91. Sophia says

    Thnx, i will try these. My problem is that i dance a lot and flexibilty really helps become a better dancer. Whenever i sp the straddle stretch, my hip flexors tighten and keep me from stretcing right. Any help???? My dance teacher always says “you have tight hip flexors so really reach” or something like that. Any help or comments will be good. I WILL try these though!

  92. Patty says

    I also suffer with hip flexor pain that wakes me up at night. I don’t suffer pain throughout the day but if I haven’t stretched before going to bed when it wakes me up I’m just about in tears from how tight it feels. I believe the cause is my step aerobics videos, which are a great workout since my saddle bags are disappearing and I’m in my best shape. What helps me is the “butterfly” stretch where you put the soles of your feet together. I begin with my legs as far from my body w/my feet together and as I relax into the stretch I bring my feet closer towards my body/groin leaning forward. Next I do a variation to this, I fold one leg in so the sole of my foot is against my inner thigh of the opposite leg, then I fold my other leg in front of that one so the sole of that foot is against the shin of my already bent leg trying not to cross your leg but keeping them flat to the floor. It feels good to put pressure downward on my knees and again I lean forward stretching my hands as far as I can and then resting my forearms on the floor. Then I switch to folding the other leg in first. When I wake in pain I put my legs in this position while I lay flat in bed. I find relief with these stretches and I hope you do too.

  93. ripley says

    At my gym the instructor tells us to sit with our legs crossed at a 90 degree angle and lean forward. you will be able to feel the strecth on the back side of your hip and lower back. also to go into a split like postion but bend the front leg and try to stretch out in front of you. Both of these help me loosen up.

  94. Ronnie27 says

    Today we were running 5k for football and i was pushing myself and all of a sudden i felt a tight sharp pain in my hip and it got worse and worse through out my stride until i could barely walk. i have football camp coming up soon and i need to be able to run. any suggestions? ice? heat? stretches? medicine?

    • Lauren says

      Sorry for the delay in reply I am sure you already resolved the problem but I would have got to a physio asap.

  95. sahil says

    go get hip xray done to rule out fracture
    get another x ray done after 30 days to rule out AVN

    if u r havin NY KINOF swelin use ice 5 times day for 15 min. each
    avoid ice burn by moving ice pack over hip joint

    use ice not more than 20 min. as it may agrravate pain
    use ice for 4 days

    when sweeling subside
    try moist heat pack

    u can have ny NSAID n pain killer

    if pain doesnt aubside in 15 to 20 days go for MRI
    consult ur physio

  96. Kevin says

    Hi Lauren,

    I have a long-time situation with my right hip. To illustrate, if I sit in a chair and try to place my right ankle on my left knee (“figure-four”) I can barely make it happen, because my hip is so tight. If I force it, it feels totally restrictive. Left side has normal mobility. Recently my right hip sometimes feels like it is about to collapse, but if I put pressure on my hipbone it then functions OK. And now I am beginning to get lower back pain and mild spasm, possibly because of assymetrical tightness. Any recommendations for the best way to release this hip? Thanks!

  97. Connor Smith says

    hey, im a soccer player and earlier today i got a pain in this area,soon to realize it was my hip flexor. i iced it twice already and have been streching throughout the day. i still get this pain when i walk or move my leg in any different direction. any suggestions for tomorrows early morning practice, as i am captain of my varsity team, to help me relieve pain and get thru a 3 hour practice? thanks

  98. Kirby says

    Great article Lauren – thanks! I’ ve been having terrible tightness and actual pain in these hip flexors. Pain when raise leg up quickly past 90 degrees or when do a tight fold such as Child Pose. A physical therapist friend thinks I may have strained somehow. Will stretching, foam rolling help or hinder the healing if truly has been strained in some way?

  99. Teri says

    Awesome stretches, Lauren, and not just a repeat of the “usual” ones for hip flexors! Thanks so much!

    @ Kevin – wonder if you’ve looked into the possibility of a labral tear? What you’re describing is how mine started, it just felt tight, but I started to lose more and more range of motion. Do you have any pain? Are you losing ROM? They can be difficult to diagnose, perhaps something to rule out..

  100. Kevin says

    Thanks for the responses. I have been trying the exercises, mostly without a lot of success. No matter what I do, the hip feels “frozen”. Teri’s post is something think I will look into. There isn’t any sharp pain, but a feeling of constriction, or even a “blocking” sensation, kind of behind the hip socket when pushing the ROM.

  101. Sarah says

    I play volleyball, and just yesterday my right hip flexor started to hurt whenever I jumped or ran. My coach told me to ice it and stretch. Is there anything more I can do?

  102. Teri says

    @ Kevin – my injury was a labral tear, but I also didn’t have any of the “classic” symptoms (ie: popping, clicking in the hip), and the pain was quite mild. My ROM got more and more restricted, and I just knew there was something “off” in my hip. The only way to confirm/rule out is with a contrast MRI (they inject a special dye into the area, then do the MRI). If you’re in Canada/BC, the only surgeon who deals with labral tears is Dr. Brian Gilbart, he’s excellent, doesn’t recommend surgery unless it’s necessary. Good luck with diagnosis/treatment!

  103. Lauren says

    @ Kirby, if it’s injured, you need to let it rest a little before foam rolling etc.

    @ Teri, Good suggestion… Kevin, you might need to get an MRI done find out for sure what’s going on there. much easier to treat going forward. Oops just read Teri’s second comment… on the ball.

    @ Sarah, Ice a lot…if you’ve strained it you’ll need to rest a little before stretching or doing rehab exercises. Do some foam rolling in areas around it, might have come from tightness in the glutes or lower quads.

  104. H longmore says

    I have spina bifida had sex no problem the my hop flexors stiffened up and find it near on impossible to have sex I’m only 34 my hip flexors have tilted my hips any help

  105. Grace says

    Thank you – I had this hip pain that I couldn’t stretch out. Your stretch for the hip flexor did it!!! I also liked the explanation of why you hold something up or keep your arms stretched up…thank you so, sooo much.

  106. says

    I am curious as to the fundamental basics here. Fascia does not have the ability to contract and relax, therefore how can it become tight unless there is trauma to the area in which you would then be stretching to minimize the amount of scar tissue build up within the fascia. Secondly is you are trying to “stretch” the psoas by doing lunges have you thought about the secondary aspects? By this i mean; the psoas attaches to the T12 through L4 vertebra, is the psoas is already tight wouldn’t you be increasing the vertebral stress through hyper extension of the lumbar spine. The Iliacus also attaches to the ilium which would cause the pelvis to dive forward into an anterior pelvic tile thus adding to the amount of hyper extension. I do believe that this is a possible way to lengthen the muscle but ONLY is the person performing the exercise has the abdominal strength through out the obliques and abdominals to resist the pelvic tilt that this could create. Seems to me that one would have greater luck trying to identify which range of motion is the greatest stress to the psoas and then identify the agonist which may not be sending the inhibitory response to the psoas through that specific range of motion. Just a thought..:)

  107. Lauren says

    Cheers for the comment Scott.

    Firstly my understanding from my studies and training is the fascial system can cause pain, and that pain feels like a pressure or tightness, if I am wrong completely speaking about fascia I will of course amend that in my articles, I’ll read up again. My knowledge doesn’t extend to yours in regards to biomechanics and the body so I am always up for learning.

    In isolation here I talked about a simple effective way to stretch the hip flexors. I obviously don’t have to tell you that you are right, but they are good points regarding pelvic tilt, and even better regarding the iliacus.

    You would momentarily be placing stress on the back, yes, for those with generally tight hip flexors this stretch does work. With nearly every exercise we could find something wrong with it given peoples situations/ problems. On a general basis, which is what I speak of here this is a good hip flexor stretch and lunges are a good warm up exercise for many reasons including this. It’s not that often in clients that we have seen this stretch cause more back pain or cause people to go into excessive anterior pelvic tilt, and when we work in the gym and not on the web if that happens it’s corrected by us pretty quickly. In saying that, I should add into the post regarding the pelvic tilt and ab strength, I have spoken about it in other posts, but as something to watch out for when doing these exercises/ stretches, but I’ll do a little more research first. I definitely want to talk more soon about weak obliques and the issues they can cause.

    Your last sentence, if you don’t mind sharing I’d love to hear your thoughts on a better way. I can link out to you in a different post if you prefer not to give the information for nothing.

  108. craig says

    ive been suffering with back pain for a year now and have had many mri scans to try work out whats wrong with no diagnois.when i raise my left leg and lower it i get a loud clicking.do you think this mite be my hip flexors causing my lower back pain?

  109. Lauren says

    What do the MRI scans say? Try the stretches and see if you get some relief, it could be a factor but its likely that it’s a part of a bigger picture.

  110. Kevin says

    Update: I wanted to go the most conservative route possible at first. So two days ago I went to a Chiropractor who I had found to be very trustworthy – and skilled. He didn’t detect any arthritis. He found my hip to be extremely tight. And my adductors were very strong and tight. He performed A.R.T., which, at least in the early stages, seems to have helped a lot. There was a lot of clicking and popping – mostly it seems from adhesions from “events” over the years, most of which I never took notice of but seem to have accumulated. He did give me a scrip for X-rays if I found that the ART didn’t help. But so far, so good. I have some specific exercises to perform and will probably go back for additional release to finish the job. I was able to Squat and Deadlift without any discomfort at all last night. So between this ART for my hip and a previous series of ART for some rotator cuff issues I am pleased and impressed with the technique in general.

  111. Lauren says

    Kevin that’s great news! For anyone reading the comment, ART is Active Release Therapy. Try using a foam roller and tennis ball on the adductor to supplement at home, you can keep the tightness at bay if you find it coming back again.

  112. Chris says

    Help please!! Iam suffering with what I think is tight hip flexors,I get pain and discomfort in my groin,top of hip,glute and sometimes in the thigh,physio has said iam very tight in hip area and to focus on stretching,standing up after sitting is uncomfortable in the hip area,walking is up and down some days ok other days not great,pulling leg across body is also uncomfortable,now I don’t no weather to stretch, or strengthen or both.lifting leg is ok but lowering leg in the final phase is uncomfortable too.ive had this for 5 months or more there was defernate moment I could say I’ve done something it just slowly come on with a tight groin,my training centres aroun body pump classes and body attack,kettle bell traing and finally viper work.pls help.

  113. Em says

    Hi Lauren, great article/page…found some nice new stretches and ideas to try and work on my hips.

    I recently got into martial arts and I am really enjoying it…until I have to do a sidekick or roundhouse kick higher than waist height (so basically 90 degrees range sideways)- the pain is not much fun (I am only 27). The strange thing is that I have no problems with front kicks, I can easily front kick at head height, but anything sideways feels like I might grind off one of my legs…in general I just try to push through the pain, but sometimes it is really sore afterwards as a result of my kamikaze kicking. (I suspect that the fact that I sit at a desk for 7 – 11 hours a day doesn’t help either)

    I am going to add some of your suggestions to my daily routine, perhaps it helps with some improvement :)

  114. Douglas Bennett says

    If your head bobs up and down when you walk normally it means you aren’t using your hip flexor muscles in your style of walking. Also its worth noting there are different approaches to using the ellipitcal trainer. If you are holding the moveable handles and bob your head up and down your lower body (core) isn’t getting much of a work out.

    If you let go of all handles, use your own body to maintain balance and ensure your head is not bobbing up and down theres a good chance youre engaging your hip flexors. These muscles may be really weak at first and youll kill them after just 5 seconds engaging them.

    After working the hip flexors youll notice you have a very different style of walking due to using different muscles.

  115. SC says

    At 58, I know my hip pain is ‘not’ indicating hip replacement, it is telling me to stretch. Simple and effective! Thank you!!

  116. Franco says

    Hi Lauren. I’ve had back issues on and off for a long time (bulging disk at l4-l5 and l5-s1). Currently, I am ok (I play golf and regularly exercise at the gym) but I have a block in the pelvic region, which creates tension (pain in walking or running). My physio says that my left hip is rotated a bit laterally and forward. What would you recommend? Thanks. F.

    • says

      Have you had your physio check out how your deep core stability is? I’d definitely look into that as well. Might be the cause of some of your imbalances!

      Meanwhile work with the tennis ball through your hips. If you are over rotating this is something that can really help.

        • says

          Hey Franco! So there is a few really deep ab muscles that attach to your lower back around your hip flexors. Doing stuff like prone holds will hit these and work them.

  117. sonja Herrera says

    laura,I am a 40 yr female living with constant pain ,I have had fibromyalgia for 8 yrs and degenerative disc disease for a while but just recently diagnosed,after my last child was born my health took a huge hit and the weight gained during pregnancy never left ,I have all the classic textbook symptoms of fibro so there are issues with sleep and elimination as my I.B.S is constipation based…. I am currently involved in physical therapy and i am told continuously that i am so tight especially my buttocks my core is very weak and as an example I will share with you that it is difficult for me to even put on my own under pants I am effected my temp,light and noise . I came across your site after googleing and started or I should say attempted to try your stretches and i have had relief but very short lived! I am wondering if you could tell me what might be of any help -sonja

  118. Steve L says

    Lauren

    I have daily tightening in the glute minimumis and performus regions chronic to the point of stopping my daily activities. I stretch everyday and it seems the only thing that helps loosen them is lying down quietly for 30 minutes or so. Then tightness gradually reappears as soon as I hit the floor and start activity. I have only been stretching and discontinued my exercises about 2 months ago hoping the rest would resolve it, but no luck. I had about 8 PT sessions focusing ultrasound and massage of side of hips joint for triggers and toward the middle along the medius. Still no lasting relief. Should I be doing strength exercises to build the lower spine and strengthen the hips? If so what exercises hit this upper hip area most effectively? Thanks for your help!

    • says

      Hey Steve,

      Bridges are very good (and you can do them single leg or with weight), overhead lunges, bird dogs.

      You should keep working it with the tennis ball all the time, but make sure you also hit the front of your hips.

  119. Brian from Texas says

    This helps me understand some of the warmups and exercises that we do in Crossfit. Now I can focus on the nuances of a movement to get a better stretch in my hip flexors.

  120. Michael D. says

    This came on over a two year time frame, I slowly started to walk at about a fifteen to twenty
    percent lein forward, to walk I would hold onto a cart at the shop or put my hands behind my back to
    counter balance myself. I can’t stand up stright, no pain in back other than stiffness and weakness,
    leg’s are weak can’t lift them high enough to get in a car, I can support myself with a walker and can
    walk about one hundred feet I am fifty-six and have arthrites in both hips…..Any thought’s….

    Thank’s Mike

  121. says

    Hi Lauren

    I don’t have a kindle so is the book available in another format like PDF so I can view it on my computer? I am really glad to have accidentally found your website from searching for a hip flexor stretching image..and you are an Aussie too, there is alot of American based info but good to see a local website that is accessible and informative, thanks.
    I have small fibre neuropathy that affects my feet, legs, hips, thighs, buttocks, back and left arm so far – but I have found stretching really helps control it (along with acuuncture and amssge so yes your foam roller self massage looks like a great option too). I know my lumbar and glutes areas are very tight and have a lot to do with the burning flaring up and really want to gain strength in my hip flexors as well as the streching and reckon you explain it very well. Thanks.

    Cheers

    Jennie

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