How to Stretch Your Hip Flexors to Relieve Tight Hips

Improve your strength training workouts by giving your hips a good stretch so you can release all the tension and increase your overall flexibility!

How to Stretch Your Hip Flexors to Relieve Tight Hips
María Rubio María Rubio
7 min read

Whether you sit at your desk for hours working or spend all day standing and moving around, your hips are always supporting the weight of your upper body. And because you just can’t stay in bed all day, some hip tightness is bound to happen!

Maybe you feel it in your lower back or around your inner thighs, but that tense feeling that builds up in your hip area can be incredibly uncomfortable at times, not only messing with your daily activities but also with your workouts. Fortunately, there are a variety of stretches that can help relieve that built-up tension in your hip flexors and all around that area, from your torso to your legs.

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite static stretches that will help you get rid of that hip tightness – and even avoid it in the future by adding them to your daily routine – allowing you to perform more efficiently during your workouts!

Why should you stretch your hips before weightlifting?

Your hip area is what connects your upper body and lower body, making it a crucial area when it comes to working out and doing any kind of physical activity. More specifically, your hip flexors are a group of muscles that allow you to perform basic movements such as bending down, lifting your knees, and every other activity that involves flexing your hip – all very common moves in strength training.

Your glutes are the muscles opposite to the hip flexors, meaning that when one is tight, the other can’t perform properly and becomes harder to activate. Not only that, but a tight hip flexor can also affect your core and lower back muscles, two key areas in every workout routine, by placing more workload on them. Exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and lunges can become difficult to perform, ranging from mild discomfort and inability to go through the full range of motion to pain and even risk of injury.

Your hip flexors can feel tight for many different reasons. Maybe the surrounding muscles are weak and your hip muscles have to compensate for that weakness during your workouts, or maybe your hip is just tired from your everyday routine. No matter the reason, a tight hip can and will disrupt your workouts if you leave it unattended. This is particularly crucial when it comes to weightlifting because you’re often handling heavy weights, which is why stretching before a workout is so important!

Best hip flexor stretches for tight hips

If you want to perform more effectively during your workouts, make sure you try a few of these hip flexor stretches before or after each workout to help your release tension and increase your hip mobility:

Butterfly stretch

This stretch is very popular because you don’t need to be super flexible to be able to do it comfortably. It’s usually a beginner movement that helps you both stretch your hip area and improve your flexibility for more advanced stretches.

How to do it:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs open and bring the soles of your feet together. With your knees completely bent, move your heels toward your body as close as you can. This is called a butterfly position.
  • With your back straight and holding your ankles with your hands, try to open your legs as much as you can without feeling pain. You can push your thighs with your elbows to keep your legs down.
  • Keep the stretch for 30 seconds and release.

Standing adductor stretch

Another basic stretch that you’ve probably done before, this movement will help you stretch just what the name suggests: the adductor muscles in your inner thigh area. These are the muscles that help adduct your thighs at the hip joint, a necessary movement in a lot of lower and even upper-body exercises.

How to do it:

  • Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands on your hips for stability.
  • Begin the stretch by taking a step to the side with your right foot while you hinge at the hips and bend your left knee. The further you can go with a straight leg, the deeper the stretch will be.
  • Keep the stretch for 30 seconds and release. Repeat on the opposite side.

Bench hip flexor stretch

This is a slightly more advanced variation of the basic hip flexor stretch. By using a bench, you help target the front part of your hip more efficiently, particularly the rectus femoris in your quadriceps muscle group, which helps flex your hip and lift your leg.

How to do it:

  • Find a bench and place it close behind you. Lower yourself to the floor in a lunge position, with your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle in front of you and your left knee down on the floor for support.
  • Making sure you’re at a comfortable distance from the bench, lift your left foot off the floor and rest it against the edge of the bench so that it stays in place with your knee bent at about 45 degrees.
  • With your right foot flat on the floor and your hands on your hips for stability, feel the stretch at the front of your left thigh by pushing your hips forward.
  • Keep the stretch for 30 seconds and release. Repeat on the opposite side.

Seated twist

This movement, commonly used in yoga, helps stretch your hip area as well as your glutes (particularly the gluteus maximus) and lower back thanks to the twisting motion. Not only that, but it also helps improve your spinal flexibility and release tension along your whole body!

How to do it:

  • Sit on the floor and extend your legs in front of you, making sure they’re straight. Lift your left leg and cross it over your right leg, so that your left foot is on the floor next to your right thigh.
  • Bring your left hand back and to the side and place it flat on the floor. Simultaneously, press your left knee from the outside with your right elbow, twisting your torso to the left in the process.
  • The final position should have you looking back toward your left hand that’s on the floor. You can deepen the stretch by pressing harder on your left knee.
  • Keep the stretch for 30 seconds and release. Repeat on the opposite side.

Pigeon stretch

Another very common yoga pose, the pigeon stretch takes hip stretching to the next level by having you fold completely on the floor. It’s a great movement that you can do to help relieve hip tension post-workout and to improve your overall flexibility.

How to do it:

  • Get in a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the floor. Bring your right knee forward and fold it, so that your right knee is behind your right hand and your left foot is in front of your left hip. You can narrow the position if you’re able to by bending your knee as much as you can.
  • Bring your left foot back and stretch it behind you until your leg is straight, lowering your hips while you do it. Your left thigh should be rested on the floor while you keep your balance with your hands firmly planted on the floor.
  • Feel the stretch by getting your torso as close to the floor as you can without feeling pain or breaking your form.
  • Keep the stretch for 30 seconds and release. Repeat on the opposite side.

Standing lunge stretch

The standing lunge stretch is like an easier variation of the pigeon stretch because you won’t need to go all the way to the floor or fold your knee. This stretch in particular helps target your inner thigh area as well as improve your hip flexibility, allowing you to perform all kinds of lunge variations with ease.

How to do it:

  • Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. With your hands on your hips for stability, begin descending into a lunge position by taking a step forward with your right foot.
  • Instead of bringing your left knee down to the floor like in a regular lunge position, drive your left foot back while you’re descending. Try to bring it as far as you can while keeping your right leg bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Keep the stretch for 30 seconds and release. Repeat on the opposite side.

Knee to chest stretch

Going back to the more popular stretches, this knee-to-chest stretch works great both for warming out your hip, lower back, and hamstrings before a workout and releasing tension after you’re finished.

How to do it:

  • Lie on the floor while facing up with both legs extended. Bring your left knee toward your chest and hold it by pressing it against you with both hands.
  • Deepen the stretch by pulling your knee as close to your torso as possible, making sure your left leg stays down on the floor.
  • Keep the stretch for 30 seconds and release. Repeat on the opposite side.

Kneeling side bend stretch

While this movement works great for relieving hip tension, it’s also an excellent full-body lateral stretch that curves your body from the tip of your fingers to the tip of your toes. It particularly works your hip and inner thigh area while also giving your obliques a good stretch.

How to do it:

  • Get in a kneeling position on the floor with your knees close together. Keeping your balance, drive your right foot to your side so that your right leg is completely extended next to you.
  • Place your right hand on your extended leg for support and lift your left hand overhead while bending your torso to the right without curving your back forward or backward.
  • Feel the stretch ranging from the left side of your torso all the way down to your hips and the inner area of your right thigh.
  • Keep the stretch for 30 seconds and release. Repeat on the opposite side.

Figure 4 stretch

If your hips have been tight for a while, you may be feeling discomfort around your lower back, glute, and hamstring area. This stretch helps release the tension all around the hip, helping tackle the problem in those areas and getting rid of the discomfort.

How to do it:

  • Lie on the floor facing up and place the soles of your feet on the floor. Lift your right foot and cross it over your left leg, so that your right ankle and your left knee touch. This is a figure 4 pose.
  • Extend your arms and wrap your hands around the back of your left thigh to feel the stretch. You can deepen the stretch by pulling your thigh toward your torso as much as you can.
  • Keep the stretch for 30 seconds and release. Repeat on the opposite side.

Stretching for a little bit can go a long way

Taking a few minutes a day to stretch your whole body, and particularly more problematic areas such as your hips will help you improve your workouts by increasing your flexibility, releasing any built-up tension, and improving your overall range of movement.

On top of stretching, remember to strengthen your hip area as well as the surrounding muscle groups so that no muscle ends up compensating for another! And if you notice that the pain is getting sharper and you’re not able to flex your hip without struggling, consider talking to your doctor for advice, diagnosis, or treatment.