Most athletes only focus on stretching before they start the more intense parts of their workouts.
But doing a lying hip flexor stretch after a leg or core workout day can provide a lot of relief for tense and sore muscles.
To help our clients and readers better understand how to perform this stretch for maximum benefits, I got my physical therapist to help out and provide some detailed advice.
I’ll also show you how this simple stretch could provide several other benefits for your hips and legs.
- The lying hip flexor stretch is one of the easiest ways to relieve tension in the upper thigh and hip muscles after a tough workout.
- Tight hips can cause soreness and also limit your range of motion for many types of exercises that might impact your fitness progress.
- Doing these stretches on your rest days can also help to reduce lower body and hip pain from sitting at a desk for prolonged periods.
How Do You Stretch Your Hip Flexors When Lying Down?
You can stretch your hip flexors while lying down by pulling your upper thigh close to your chest.
It’s a type of static stretch where you hold the tension for a few seconds before switching to the opposite thigh.
The lying hip flexor stretch is also a great way to improve mobility and range of motion .
Most people just think that this is helpful for older people, but athletes who can improve their hip flexibility will find it easier to do a lot of different core and leg exercises.
Best Lying Hip Flexor Stretches
I will now show you a standard and more advanced way for hip flexor stretches.
Start with the standard and then see if you’re flexible enough to try the advanced version as well.
1. Standard Lying Hip Flexor Stretch
Here is the basic method that is suitable for beginners:
- Start by lying down on a yoga mat with your legs extended and arms by your side.
- Lift up your left leg and bend it at the knee while bringing your foot closer to your buttocks.
- Now gently pull your knee towards your chest so that your upper thigh pushes into your chest.
- You should feel a stretch along your hamstring going into your glutes and hips.
- Slowly release your upper thigh and get back to the starting position with both legs extended.
- Switch to the opposite side and do the same process with the other leg.
2. Reclined Hip Flexor Stretch
This is a slightly more advanced but also more effective way to do this stretch.
Here’s what to do:
- Lay down on your back with your feet on the floor and both knees bent.
- Lift your left knee up and place your foot on the opposite thigh close to the knee.
- Pull the opposite thigh gently towards you and do this slowly.
- You’ll feel this in the stretch in your hips and glutes and even the inner part of your upper thigh.
There are four key benefits to the lying hip flexor stretch.
1. Reduce Lower Back Pain
If you sit at a desk for long periods, then the lying hip flexor stretch can help to relieve pressure and tightness in the lower back.
It won’t just reduce pain but can also improve your sitting posture .
2. Reduce Hip Pain
Because of the way the lying hip flexor stretch pulls the upper thigh towards your body, it moves the hip joint further than it naturally does.
This can loosen the muscles and reduce pain and soreness .
“Sitting for much of the day, as most of us do, contributes to tight hip flexors. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle is associated with weakness in the hip muscles.”
- Elizabeth Wolkin, PT
3. Improve Flexibility
The lying hip flexor stretch and the variation mentioned above also bring the upper thigh into a position where it maximizes the angle of the hip joint.
The more often you do this, the more hip mobility you should be able to achieve.
4. Boost Athletic Performance
Athletes will also find that regularly doing a lying hip flexor stretch will improve the range of motion in leg joints.
Being able to bring your upper thigh lower down in a squat, for example, can improve the effectiveness of such workouts.
Read More: Best Multivitamins For Athletes
What Are The Symptoms Of Tight Hip Flexors?
The symptoms of tight hip flexors are cramping muscles, sharp pains in hips, decreased strength, and lower mobility. It’s a common issue and one that you can fix with regular stretching.
How Long Does It Take To Loosen Up Tight Hip Flexors?
It can take anywhere from two to four weeks of regular stretching to loosen up tight hip flexors. Doing our recommended stretches twice a day can get you there faster.
Start A New Routine To Loosen Your Hips
While there’s no reason not to do these as part of your warm-up, I have found that this kind of lying hip flexor stretch can help with a cooldown phase as well.
Because you’re lying down, it will also help to bring your heart rate back down.
The other thing you might consider is taking a testosterone booster, as it can also provide anti-inflammatory benefits that may help with reducing any swelling in hip muscles.
This can be particularly important for men over 30 who are struggling with hip pain and mobility.
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