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I suffer from tight hip flexors, and these are the stretches that help

a photo of a woman doing a low lunge
(Image credit: Getty/ fizkes)

If like me, you suffer from tight hip flexors, you’ll know that the tightness can cause pain in the lower back. Runners are more likely to suffer from tight hip flexors than other athletes, but one of the biggest culprits when it comes to the cause of tight hip flexors is spending too much time sitting down (something we’re probably all guilty of). The good news is that there are a number of stretches that can help release tight hip flexors, and I’ve found them. 

The hip flexors are a group of muscles at the top of the thighs and around the hips, that help the legs and trunk move together, like lifting your legs up, or bending at the hips. The hip flexors are made up of a group of muscles that allow for the flexion of the hip joint, they also help support the lower back muscles. 

If your hip flexors get too tight, you’re likely to feel a tightness or ache in your lower back, pain standing upright or a poor posture when standing, tightness in the neck, and pain in the glutes. But what are the best ways to stretch tight hip flexors? Read on to find out. 

Looking to stretch your back? Try this lower-back stretch every day to help with back pain

The best stretches for tight hip flexors: 

Pigeon pose: This classic yoga pose is brilliant at stretching the hip flexor muscles. To do a pigeon pose, start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Bring your right knee forward, and place it behind your right wrist. Straighten your left leg behind you, and make sure your right ankle is in line with your left hip and that your hips are square before lowering down to the ground. Hold in this position for a few seconds — you should feel the stretch in your right hip. Repeat on the other side. 

Butterfly stretch: To do a butterfly stretch, start by sitting down on the floor with both legs outstretched in front of you. Bring the soles of your feet together, so that your knees are pointing out to the side, and bring your heels as close to your body as possible. Lean forward with a straight back. 

Low lunge: Another yoga pose that’s great at opening the hips. To do a low lunge, start by stepping your right foot forward, with your left knee on the floor and your left leg outstretched behind you. Put your palms flat on the floor on either side of your right foot and hold here for a few seconds, before repeating on the opposite side. You can also raise your hands above your head should you want to extend the stretch.  

Spiderman stretch: This one can be used alongside the other stretches on this list to help target the hip flexors, but also as a warm-up to do before running or strength training. To do a spiderman stretch, get into a plank position, then step your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Hold here for a few seconds, before stepping back into a plank and stepping your left foot to the outside of your left hand. 

Foam rolling: If you have one of the best foam rollers to hand, it can be used as a tool to loosen tight hips. Lie face down on the floor with your foam roller under your right hip with your left knee on the ground. Stretch your right leg out behind you, with your toes flat on the floor. Slowly move back and forward on the foam roller for 30 seconds. Look out for any trigger points and focus on them, before repeating on the opposite side. 

Looking for more home workout inspiration? We’ve found the best exercises to do if you sit down all day here, as well as the best ab workouts to help strengthen your core from just about anywhere. 

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past four years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.