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

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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 20 second isometric ‘butt squeeze’ followed by 20 x 1 second glute max contractions, not only are we delivering a strong mobilising effect to the anterior tissues of the hip, but we’re also strengthening the neural pathway (mind-muscle link) for getting those important glutes kicking-in.

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Last updated on March 12th, 2021.


  1. 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!

  2. 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

  3. 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.

    1. Hi Steven,


      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.



      1. 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.

  4. I can feel a positive difference from just doing one round of these. When I do them, the knee that is on the floor is uncomfortable, even a bit painful. Feels a bit tight and strained at the front, not from pressure on the floor. Am I doing it wrong or perhaps just because it’s first time I’ve had a go?

  5. What bothers me is that I’ve paid so much over the years to get all this info that is available free here! Amazing! It’s already helped me a ton over the past few months since discovering James’s videos and blog posts. I don’t mind that I was “diagnosed” in person with weak glutes and stuff, but the information in these videos is an amazing complement and I don’t have to continue to go to the physio or PT.