Stretching your hip flexor efficiently can be tough, because it's located in an area that is difficult to reach. Unfortunately, not stretching your hip flexor properly before engaging in any kind of exercise can lead to painful injuries in your hip and groin areas. Although it is hard, stretching these areas is not impossible. Use the 4 stretching variations listed below to help you stretch your hip flexor appropriately and sufficiently.
1. Hip Flexor Lunge
Step forward into a lunge far enough so that you have to bend your front leg, but not too far so that you can't touch the ball of your opposite foot to the ground. Sink down into the lunge, feeling the pull on your back quad and calf. With your front leg bent at a 90 degree angle, bend your back knee so that it's hovering just above the ground. Make sure your back stays straight and tall and your hips remain tucked under your body. Hold this pose for 15 to 20 breaths, then release. Repeat with the opposite leg.
2. Kneeling Hip Flexor Lunge
This is a variation of the hip flexor lunge that requires you to begin in a kneeling position on a soft but firm surface. Lift one leg up and in front of you about a foot away from your body and at a 90 degree angle. On an exhale, slowly lean forward into your raised leg, keeping the opposite knee connected with the ground. You should feel a pull on the inside of your hips as you lean forward. Hold this position for 10 to 15 breaths and then release. Repeat with the opposite leg.
3. Butterfly Stretch
Sit with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the ground. Lower your knees until the soles of your feet are flat against one another. Gently grip the arches of your feet with your hands, one hand on each foot, and rest your elbows on your knees. Slowly press down on your knees with your elbows until you feel a stretch in your hips and inner thighs. You should avoid bouncing your knees up and down, as this detracts from the effectiveness of the stretch. Hold this pose for 10 to 15 breaths and release. Complete three times with 30-second rests between reps.
4. Complete Hip Flexor Stretch
Begin this stretch by sitting on your feet with your legs underneath you. Lean forward using your hands to support you and stretch one leg back behind you. Shifting your position so you're sitting into your hip toward the outside of your bent leg, lean forward until you feel a pull in the back side of your hip. Note: You should not feel pain. Hold this position for 15 to 20 breaths, release and repeat with the opposite leg.
Stretch your hip flexor before and after you exercise. If you feel stiffness or pain in your hips, you may need to spend extra time stretching. Always use precaution when performing any kind of stretch or exercise and if you feel pain, stop immediately.