3 hip flexion stretches

Hip flexor stretches can, among other things, decrease hip and lower back pain. However, when is it advisable to do them? When is it preferable to avoid them? First, You have to be clear about these muscles.

Hip flexors are the muscles that bring the knee closer to the chest. The most important are the quadriceps and the iliac psoas. They are always working; when you walk, go up or down stairs, if you change position in the chair, etc. In turn, they help stabilize the lumbar spine and the hip.

When to do hip flexor stretches

  • In case of having a sensation of tension or compression in the front part of the hip.
  • If you have pain in the lower back or hip, especially when you spend a lot of time in the same position (standing or in a chair, for example).
  • If you have not previously performed hip flexor stretches to reduce symptoms.

When to avoid hip flexors

In some cases it is better to avoid hip flexor stretching exercises unless your doctor tells you to.

Unless your health professional preferably tells you otherwise, These are common circumstances in which you should not do hip flexor stretching:

Before exercising

Stretching before doing any physical activity decreases the strength that the muscle is able to do. This phenomenon is called "Loss of force induced by stretching". It is not permanent, but it can decrease your sports performance and predispose you to injuries. The exception to this rule is usually in gymnasts or dancers.

If it's the only thing you do to prevent injuries

Stretching as a unique method of treatment It has not proven effective in reducing the incidence of musculoskeletal injuries. However, combined with an individualized exercise program, it can be beneficial in certain cases.

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If you have previously done them to reduce symptoms

If you have already done hip flexor stretches to reduce any symptoms and:

  • There has been no major difference in symptoms.
  • The intensity of the symptoms has increased.
  • Symptoms reduce for a while but then come back.

It is preferable that you go with your trusted physiotherapist to evaluate you and make you an individualized treatment.

How to stretch hip flexors?

You can do the following stretches in different ways:

Static stretching

This is the traditional stretch, where you maintain the position for a certain time. In general, when you are going to do a static stretch:

  • The feeling you should look for is a slight stretch. It shouldn't hurt.
  • It is recommended to keep the stretch between 15 and 30 seconds, doing 3-4 repetitions.
  • In older adults (65 years or older), it is advisable to keep the stretch between 30 and 60 seconds for best results.
  • You can do it 2-3 times a week.
  • If you do it after a short warm up you will get better results in the short term.

When stretching the hip flexors, a slight pull sensation should be given. If pain is experienced, it is best to suspend them.


It means «Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation». Here you combine the contraction and stretching of the muscle you want to work. It is one of the best techniques to improve active ROM, especially in the short term. The easiest way to do FNP It is with the help of someone else or with an external resistance. To do it:

  • Stretch the muscle you want to work.
  • Your assistant will make a slight pressure in the direction of the stretch, while you prevent it for 10 seconds.
  • At the end of that time, they count up to 5 seconds and repeat the process 2 or 3 more times.

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Which stretch is better?

Both types offer the same results, only that certain people feel better than each other. Because, Try the same stretch with the static technique one day and try it with FNP the next. Stay with the one that makes you feel better later. Remember that it is your body, nobody knows it better than you.

3 hip flexion stretches

Before stretching more intensely, it is essential to master the easiest positions first.

1. Quadriceps stretch

  • First, lie on your stomach.
  • Then, take with one hand the heel of the leg that you want to work on the gluteus.
  • Hold the position if it is static stretching.
  • If it is FNP, you can resist yourself. Just try to extend your leg while preventing it with the hand that is taking the heel.
  • Finally, if you manage to bring the heel to the buttock without problem, move on to the next stretch.

2. Psoas stretching

Let's put as an example that we want to stretch the right psoas.

  • To start, get into the lunge position, with the left leg in front and the right leg resting on the floor.
  • The left leg will have the firm foot on the floor and the knee bent 90 °.
  • You can rest your right leg on a pillow, cushion or rolled towel if contact with the floor bothers you.
  • Keep your eyes straight ahead, with the trunk perpendicular to the ground.
  • Next, contract your right buttock and gently push your right hip forward. Do not lose the trunk position.
  • Hold the position if it is static stretching.
  • If it is FNP, press the floor with your knee for 10 seconds.
  • If you lean the trunk slightly backwards you can increase the intensity of the stretch.

3. Quadriceps + psoas stretch

You follow the same steps to stretch the psoas, with the difference that you take the ankle of the leg you are stretching and bring it closer to the gluteus. This stretch is very intense. Master the above before trying it.

Final Recommendations

There is no "perfect" stretch, There is the ideal stretch for you and for what you need at any given time. Two people may have the same symptoms and need totally different treatments.

In the same way, something that worked for you before may not be, and that is normal: your body adapts. Because, It is vital that you pay attention to how you feel before, during and after stretching your hip flexors.

Finally, remember that, when it comes to the body, the effects are cumulative. The secret is to do it frequently, at least once a day. Be patient, your body will thank you.