This video demonstrates the kneeling hip flexor stretch. In general, the hip flexors are a muscle group that is over-shortened, most often from sitting all day! This stretch looks easy, but there is a trick to it that you need to do to ensure you get the right stretch. The other version to this exercise is the Standing Hip Flexor Stretch, which targets the exact same muscles but in a different position.
What you should feel
You should be aiming for a mild-to-moderate stretch into the front of your hip. You want to make sure you keep the stretch intensity so that you can “relax into it” rather than tensing up your muscles due to discomfort.
Pain is not expected with these exercises, but some discomfort associated with the stretch is expected. Stop this exercise if you are unsure about what you are feeling or if it is painful in an unexpected way.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Here are the instructions and there is a video below that explains it all:
- Start off kneeling on both knees, then step forward into a “kneeling lunge” with one leg.
- In some cases, I recommend having something nearby to hold onto, to make sure you get into the perfect position.
- Keep your feet pointing straight forward and your back leg in a straight line (not rotated out to the sides).
- Push your pelvis forward, keeping it level, to bring your back leg behind you a little bit more.
- THE TRICK: As you go forward, “squeeze your butt muscles” and lean backwards (VERY SLIGHTLY). This will ensure you get the stretch in the front of your hip! If you’re unclear about this and not feeling the stretch, make sure you watch the video.
- You should feel the stretch in the front of your hip!
- ANOTHER TRICK: If you want to increase the intensity of the stretch, you can try leaning (VERY SLIGHTLY) to your side (usually towards the side of the leg that is up). This may target the stretch for you in a better location, or make it feel like a better stretch.
The Standing Hip Flexor Stretch is a good modification to this. I may recommend the standing version if you are struggling with this stretch!
mdkPHYSIO provides specific parameters to all patients. In general, stretches should be held for about 30 seconds and performed 4 times in a row. Daily frequency varies depending on the issue, timing and how you respond to the stretch. A intense but comfortable stretch should be felt. I usually tell people a “moderate” stretch that allows you to “relax” while stretching. You should not be tensing up due to discomfort as you stretch as this will be less productive.