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Hip flexor

Kate B

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Hi there.

I've been advised by the PT that my hip flexors are really tight. She said to stretch them by sitting on my knees and bending back. However, when I do this, I can just feel the stretch in the muscles on the top of my thighs. Should I continue with this or is there a better way to stretch my hip flexors?

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Guest abcfordance

I'm not sure why you are in PT so there may be a strong reason for you to be given the stretch you were. I am not trying to outguess your PT. The information below is general and not taking your specific medical conditions into account except for the tightness of the flexors and your perception of the lack of effectiveness of the stretch given.


There are many more direct stretches for the hip flexors. The stretch you mentioned is good but it sounds like your quadriceps are also tight and they are getting the stretch first. Where you told which of your flexors were tight? There are several muscles in this group. I am going to assume psoas and illiacus for my answer since they are generally the biggies. Place your one leg bent in a parallel attitude behind you on a padded surface around knee - midthigh height (like a couch or a padded chair). Your standing leg should be somewhat in front of you. Your pelvis should be neutral - not tilted forward or tucked under. Also be careful of the hips rotating at all. Bend the front knee so you are going into a lunge. You want to keep your torso upright and your knee from going past your toes - move the standing foot further front to avoid this. This is similar to a runners lunge, but placing the knee on a padded surface alleviates some of the stress on it.


Whenever you are trying to release tightness in a muscle you want to elongate that muscle. In order to do this effectively you need to find out where the muscle or muscles start and stop and what their function is. To elongate a muscle you need to reverse that main function. A basic hip flexor job is to do a grand battement front. The flexors need to shorten to do this. So to lengthen them you want to extend the leg behind you. Standing will again take pressure off of your knee and allow you to work unilaterally.


The stretch that was given to you is still a valid stretch for you, it just didn't get into the hip flexors yet. I would suggest standing, bending one knee and holding the ankle behind you. You want to keep the pelvis neutral (most people will tip it forward here) and try to get your knees together. This helps stretch the quads, hip flexors if you can keep the pelvis neutral and get the knees together or behind you and if your thigh tends to pull out to the side a bit it will also stretch your abductors.

Edited by abcfordance
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