Top 5 Hip Flexor Stretches
Reminder- You can perform each stretch statically, dynamically, and isometrically. Variety is key in functional fitness, so make sure you employ a variety of different ways in which you hold and perform each stretch. Although these are some of the best hip flexor stretches available, there are many more that you should also employ. Static holds are best held for a minimum of 30 seconds, and remember to breathe and listen to your body first and foremost. Always consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program.
1. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
For any positions where your knees are on the ground, it is highly recommended that you take support under your knees in order to keep them safe long term and avoid bruising and pain. Once you've found a soft surface on which to practice your lunge, stagger your feet front to back a few feet. Bend into the front knee while dropping the back knee all the way to the ground. The width of your feet is variable, just as is the distance your feet are spread apart front to back. Play with a variety of different lengths and widths to stretch different muscles. Once here, keep your core tight and bend into the front knee while keeping the back leg stationary to keep a deep stretch through the front thigh of the back leg.
2. Low Lunge w/ Bent Back Knee
From the first pose, a traditional low lunge, we simply bend the knee of the back leg and reach back with one or both hands to grasp the foot or ankle and pull it in towards our glutes. The goal is to get the foot to the glutes and even beyond the pelvis as your flexibility improves. Maintain a steady breath and focus. This pose is balance intensive so be mindful that you are not distracted as you perform this posture, and if you need to put a hand on a wall or chair to maintain your balance, that is acceptable.
3. Twisted Low Lunge w/ Bent Back Knee (Parivrtta Anjaneyasana)
To stretch the hip flexors requires a variety of deep lunges from multiple angles. Thus, we are still lunging, with a twist this time. From your low lunge position, bend the back knee and twist the torso towards the front leg, reaching back with the hand opposite the back foot to grasp it. For instance, if your right leg is back, reach back with your left hand and twist the torso to the left to achieve the twisted lunge. In this twisted version of the posture, you may need to walk your front foot wider than it had previously been and you also may turn the foot out at a 45 degree angle to make more space in the pelvic girdle to achieve the depth you are seeking.
4. Lizard Lunge (Utthan Pristhasana)
For this variation on the lunge, pick up the back knee and walk both of your hands to the inside edge of your front foot. Once here, try to get down onto your forearms, or even get your forehead or chest down to the earth. While you are working the upper body towards the earth, maintain a strong engagement through the heel of the back foot, pressing it away so you maintain a deep stretch through the hip flexors. It is important here that you experience no discomfort in the front knee, so make sure you keep the front knee tracking forward towards the second toe of the front foot.
5. Rolling Low Lizard
From a lizard lunge position, take the hand closest to the front foot and set it on the knee. Roll the hip of the back leg towards the earth, and then set the knee down. Sag the outside edge of the back leg hip towards the earth to get a great stretch in the outer hip flexor, IT band and Tensor Fascia Latae. For example, if your right leg is back in the lunge, take your left hand onto your left knee in the front, while keeping the right hand on the ground. Spin the outside of the right hip towards the earth and then sag that hip towards the ground. If you need more stretch, drop to the right forearm, or work the torso even closer to the earth to intensify.