Hip flexor stretches are intended to strengthen the hip flexors and give exercisers greater mobility and flexibility. The hip flexor muscles are critical to a person’s movement. Located along the hip, in the pelvic region, and in the thighs, these muscles play a role in an individual’s ability to lift his thighs upward and toward his stomach, such as when running, walking or climbing stairs. The stretches for these muscles include knee, leg, hamstring, and quadriceps stretches.
One type of hip flexor stretch is called a leg stretch. An exerciser starts it by standing up straight, and then taking one step backward with his right leg. He then moves his right hip forward, stopping when he feels stretching in the front of his hip and holding that position for about 30 seconds. After returning to the starting position, the exerciser performs the stretch on the other side by stepping back with the left leg and repeating the movements with the left side of his body. While performing this stretch, it’s important to bend just a little at the knee.
Another one of the most commonly performed hip flexor stretches is called the knee stretch. It involves kneeling down on the right knee and placing the left foot flat on the ground. Then, the exerciser moves his right knee backward, leaning his body forward to stretch the right hip flexors. The exerciser should hold the stretched position for about 45 seconds before returning to the starting position and switching to the other leg. This stretch is most effective when the exerciser maintains good control over his balance and keeps his back straight.
An individual may perform hip flexor stretches while also strengthening other muscle groups. To perform this type of stretch, a person may stand up straight, holding onto a stable chair or countertop for balance. He should then take hold of his right foot and pull it toward his right abdominal area, bending at the knee. Eventually the right knee will point towards the ground. The exerciser may hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat with the other foot.
Pain can be a warning sign of impending injury when performing hip flexor stretches. Stretching may be challenging at times, but it should not produce pain. If hip flexor stretches are always painful, an exerciser should consult his doctor before continuing them. If they become painful because the individual is stretching too far or too hard, easing up and performing a gentler stretch may help.