Hip Flexor Stretching: Don’t Just Go Through The Motions…

Free Download: Glute Activation & Hip Mobility Routine [PDF]

This is one of the key exercises I see runners having a ‘lightbulb moment’ with during our running technique workshops.

Particularly targeting Rectus Femoris, this has to be one of my all-time favourite stretches!

I get runners and triathletes to do this at least once daily, and then pre and post workout. Unless we’re dealing with hypermobile athletes, I don’t feel we can individually ever do enough mobility work promoting extension patterns.

Why do I like this particular stretch so much? With the 20sec isometric ‘butt squeeze’ followed by 20 x 1sec Glute Max contractions, not only are we delivering a strong mobilising effect to the anterior tissues of the Hip, we’re also strengthening the neural pathway (mind-muscle link) for getting those important Glutes kicking-in.

About The Author

James has an academic background in Sport Rehabilitation and a special interest in Applied Biomechanics. He currently coaches a large number of Runners and Triathletes across all levels of ability and performance. He's grown a strong reputation for enabling athletes to improve their running performance and overcome running injuries through improving their Running Technique and developing Running Specific Strength.

 

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11 Comments

  • Is it just as good (or nearly as good) to do this with the knee hovering off the floor? I think I have bursitis in my knee and kneeling hurts so I’ve been trying this modification and it feels right but I don’t want to kneel down to compare and double check!

    • Hi James,

      Great question. Rather than the awkward ‘knee hovering’ position you describe, I’d perhaps try this:

  • Very good advice. Will pass it on to my runners. Pushing the front foot down into the floor will help you stabilise the stretch.

  • I started utilising the posterior pelvic tilt to mobilise hip flexors about a year ago, prompted by an excellent post you put up. However, i frequently find clients (especially people who have had hip surgery and are elderly) who struggle to tilt their pelvis away from the anterior position through lack of a neural pathway. I find activating the abs and illiopsoas helps but wondered if you have any tips for initiating the pelvic tilt

  • Great video. So hard to get a stretch through the psoas and RF, and these tips really do work.

    @ James, I do the stretch with front foot propped on a step instead of kneeling – seems to work as well as kneeling. I too am interested in James’ response.

    • Hi Steven,

      Thanks!

      When you say ‘front foot propped up on a step’, do you mean like I demonstrate here?: http://www.kinetic-revolution.com/hip-flexor-stretch/

      If so, the differentiating factor is obviously the degree of knee flexion in the rear (stretching) leg…

      Hip extension and knee flexion combined (as per the kneeling version) will target RF, while combined hip and knee extension (standing version) will be more of a psoas stretch.

      Hope that helps.

      Cheers,

      James

      • Yes, that’s the stretch, James. Thanks for the reply – it’s the psoas specifically I’m trying to target – esp, the upper portion near the hip bone.

  • […] the movement a little easier it can be beneficial to stretch the hip flexor area first using this movement where the stretch is performed by activating the glutes, I find that contracting the abdominals […]

  • Game changer for me this was

  • […] to achieve a tangible activation of gluteus maximus, then I get the runner to work on some anterior hip mobility drills before returning to the single leg bridge later in the same […]

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