Sitting all day puts a lot of stress on the body. Along with tightening our hip flexors, sitting leads to rounded shoulders, a forward head, tight hamstrings and calves, weak glutes and abdominals.
Our hip flexors are a key group of muscles around the upper and inner thighs and the pelvic region. Since we use our hip flexors for so many movements in our day-to-day activities, they can easily become tight.
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Unfortunately, if a muscle is shortened from tightness, our range of motion is limited and we are unable to place as heavy a load on that muscle. (1) Tight muscles lead to weakness, and since so many of us don’t focus on strengthening them in the first place, it’s easy to see why so many of us suffer from poor posture and muscular imbalances.
By stretching and strengthening the hip flexor muscles, we can renew proper posture and help bring the body back into balance.
Use these exercises up to four times per week to stretch and then strengthen your hips flexors. All you need is an exercise mat and two small hand towels.
9 Yoga Poses to Release Tight Hip Flexors
Single Knee-To-Chest | 30 sec per side
This exercise opens up your hip flexors.
- Start lying down on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground.
- Bring one knee to your chest, keeping the other foot flat on the floor. Make sure to keep your lower back pressed to the floor. You should feel a stretch through the front hip of the leg that is still on the floor. If not, straighten the leg.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then relax and lower the knee to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.
Bridge | 30 sec
This exercise stretches the hip flexors and strengthens the outer hips, hamstrings, glutes, and core.
- Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground at hips-width distance. Reach your arms down alongside your body with your palms facing down.
- Inhale to slowly lift your hips up towards the sky. Keep your knees in line with your toes and engage your lower abs.
- Hold for 30 seconds. You should feel your hip flexors stretching and your glutes and lower back strengthening.
Low Lunge | 30 sec per side
This exercise stretches your quads, hamstrings, and hips.
- Begin in a high plank position.
- Step your right foot between your hands, stacking your knee above your ankle. Lower your back knee to the ground.
- Walk your hands up onto your right thigh and lift your chest. Slightly tilt your tailbone down and draw your lower belly up and in. Then, press your hips forward slightly while keeping a neutral pelvis to feel a stretch through your left hip flexor.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Supine Leg Raises | 10 reps
This exercise strengthens both your abs and hip flexors.
- Start lying down on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Reach your arms down alongside your body with your palms face down.
- Engage your abs and slightly tuck your pelvis so that your lower back is touching the ground. Then extend your legs straight up in the air and flex both feet.
- Keeping your abs engaged, inhale to lower your legs a few inches towards the ground, then exhale to lift them back up towards the sky. If you feel strain in your lower back, then lower your legs less.
- Repeat for 10 reps.
Plank V | 10 reps
This exercise strengthens your hip flexors.
- Begin in a high plank position with your hips in line with your shoulders, heels lifted high and shoulders stacked over your wrists. Engage your abs and quadriceps by imagining you’re lifting your thighs away from your knees.
- Take a deep breath in, then exhale to lift your hips up into the air to create an upside- down V-shape with your body.
- Inhale to lower your hips back down in line with your shoulders.
- Repeat for 10 reps.
Reverse Lunge | 10 reps per side
This exercise strengthens the hip flexors, hamstrings, quads, and glutes.
- Begin standing with your feet together. Place your hands on your hips and engage your abs.
- Inhale to step your right foot back behind you a few feet. Then, bend both knees to come into a lunge. Make sure to keep your right knee stacked over your ankle.
- Exhale to stand up and step your right foot back up to meet your left.
- Switch sides. Then alternate for 10 reps per side.
Sliding Mountain Climbers | 12 reps
This exercise strengthens the hip flexors, shoulders, and core.
- Start by kneeling on the floor and placing a small hand towel underneath each foot. Place your hands on the ground, stacking your shoulders over your wrists.
- Keeping your feet on the towels, lift your knees up and straighten your legs to come into a high plank position. Your hips should be in line with your shoulders. Engage your abs.
- Exhale as you slide your right knee in towards your chest, then inhale to slide it back.
- Exhale to slide your left knee in towards your chest, then inhale to slide it back.
- Continue alternating legs for 12 repetitions total. Make sure to keep your hips in line with your shoulders the entire time.
Deadbug | 10 reps per side
This exercise strengthens your hips flexors and abs while keeping the spine in a nice neutral position.
- Start by lying on your back with your arms reaching up towards the sky.
- Pick your feet up off the ground and bend your knees to 90-degree angles. Engage your abs and press your lower back into the floor.
- Take a deep breath in, then exhale to slowly extend your left leg towards the floor and at the same time reach your right arm overhead. Make sure to keep your abs engaged and don’t let your back arch.
- Hover your left leg and right arm for a moment, then inhale to return your arm and leg back to the starting position.
- Switch sides, then alternate for 10 reps on each side.
Butterfly Stretch | 30 sec
This exercise relieves lower back pain while also stretching the hip flexors and outer hips.
- Begin seated on the ground. Bring the soles of your feet together.
- Interlace your hands underneath your feet and use your elbows to press down on your knees.
- Slowly round your spine and fold forward. Hold for 30 seconds.