7 Exercises To Target Your Hip Flexor

Hip muscles are important for everyday activities like walking, standing, running, jumping, and sitting up. Truth is, we’d be pretty stuck without them, and hip pain can very nearly do exactly that. Without the hip flexor muscles firing up, we wouldn’t be able to lift our thigh towards our torso or bend the torso down at the hip joint. Hip pain symptoms can present when our hip flexor muscles are overworked or suffer trauma. If you feel tightness or pain around this area, you’re going to want to look into physio for hip pain. Here are some simple exercises to get you started:

Hip flexor stretching exercises

Use the following exercises as a warm-up to your main workout, or simply as your morning stretching routine. For the home, office, or gym, they’re easy to do and combined won’t take more than a few minutes.

1. Pigeon pose

This is a popular yoga pose that you might find difficult at first but is so worth the initial discomfort.

  1. Assume a plank position with both palms of your hands flat on the ground beneath your shoulders.
  2. Bring your right leg forward so your right knee is near your hands. Don’t worry if you can’t reach it all the way forward, just go as far as you can without feeling uncomfortable.
  3. As you breathe out, gently slide backward using your left leg and keeping your hips square, lower your body to the ground.
  4. As you breathe out, relax your whole body, hold this for 20 seconds then repeat with the other side.

2. Seated butterfly

This one’s easy to do anywhere, anytime. Perfect for opening up the inner thighs, easing stress within the hip and lower back.

  1. Find a spot to sit and keep your back straight and your core engaged.
  2. Bring the soles of your feet and let them natch up in front of you, with your knees loose, and bend to either side.
  3. Tuck your feet closer towards you – keeping them touching and breathe out as you gently lower your knees down on either side.
  4. Only lower as far as your knees will naturally go. Hold for 20 seconds.

3. Seated Stretch

If you’re at the office, this one’s for you.

  1. Sit up straight in a chair.
  2. Place an ankle on the opposite knee and your hands on your shin.
  3. Gently lean forward until you feel the sensitivity in the hip.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.

4. Foam roller + tensor fascia latae stretch

Grab a foam roller – they’re amazing for releasing muscles around the hip along with a whole lot of other handy exercise techniques. The Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) is your side/front hip muscles that often get neglected.

  1. Assume side plank position – your body should be at 45-degrees.
  2. Slide the foam roller under the hip and try to hit the front part.
  3. Massage back and forth, feeling for those sensitive bits.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

5. Spiky ball + gluteus medius

Sometimes it can feel like stretching is only getting you so far. Sometimes you want to take your hip flexor relaxation to the next level. That’s where a Spiky ball can help. It’s targeted, and boy, when it hits the spot – you’ll know.

  1. Find a flat wall and place the spiky ball between you and your hip. It should sit between the pelvic bone and the outside of your leg bone.
  2. Work the ball back and forth – search for the soft spot and go for it.
  3. Switch sides.

6. Spiky ball + Gluteus maximus

The gluteus maximus is one of the key muscles that connect to our hip, making all kinds of movements possible. Being the largest muscle in the body, it comes with its fair share of tension.

  1. Similar to the above, place the spiky ball between your hip and a wall. This time, get the spiky ball directly on the buttocks.
  2. With your hands on the wall for balance, gently move back and forth and up and down.
  3. Switch sides.

7. Cat-squat stretch

No extras are needed for this one – just a soft floor or yoga mat. This stretch is especially good for the lower back and can help loosen up the hips after a long day’s work.

  1. Start on all fours, with your elbows on the floor and hands out in front, knees at 90 degrees.
  2. Gently separate your knees so they’re as far apart as is comfortable.
  3. Bring your buttocks back to your heels and lower your torso as you go – like you’re sitting down on your feet.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.

Get a professional opinion

Tried everything but still feeling like hip pain is holding you back? Leaving even the mildest symptoms of hip pain can mean chronic pain down the track. Nip it in the bud and see a sports physio for a professional diagnosis.