Skip to main content

How to stretch your hip: 5 effective stretches to know

Hip flexor stretches are essential for combatting tight hips

Woman doing pigeon stretch.
Elina Fairytale / Pexels

Modern life includes long hours of sitting down, which can leave the hip muscles feeling tight and restricted. Incorporating targeted stretches into an exercise routine can help alleviate discomfort, enhance flexibility, and improve overall hip health. 

Efficient exercises, such as the hip flexor stretch, can target the muscles that play a pivotal role in hip mobility and posture. Hip tightness can cause pain and discomfort, even affecting the lower back, so prevention is better than a cure.

Luckily, five simple stretches can prevent hip tightness and the chronic pain that usually accompanies this condition. Here is a list of impactful stretches for tight hips designed to improve flexibility and ease discomfort. 

man stretching glutes
Nigel Msipa / Unsplash

Signs you have tight hips

Tight hips can manifest in various ways, from discomfort during everyday activities to limited range of motion. The main signs of tightness in the hips include pain while in a lying position and the inability to extend the leg backward fully.

Pain while walking or rising from a seated position are other symptoms of hip tightness to look out for. Pain can be chronic or acute and can be triggered by any of the various actions and movements.

A man reading a book on a couch in the living room.
Westend61 / Adobe Stock

What causes tight hips?

Many factors contribute to tightness in the hips. They can also include occupational hazards leading to shortened hip flexors and tightened glutes, but the main causes are sedentary lifestyles, intense workouts, and repetitive movements.

Sedentary lifestyle

Being inactive can be part of everyday life, especially if it is an occupational hazard. Many people have desk jobs that involve hours of sitting at a computer for five days a week. This can create tension in the hips and stiffness. 

Prolonged sitting over time can shorten hip flexor muscles and even tighten the glutes. If this occurs, then pain can become chronic over time. Stretching during breaks or when out of the work environment can prevent this from happening. 

Intense workouts

Too much exercise can lead to tightness in the hips. Taking workouts to the extreme and overtraining can both lead to muscle pulls and tears. This is why warming up before an exercise routine is vital, and so is cooling down when finishing a gym session.

Recovery time is also important as this gives any injured muscles time to heal fully after your workout. Injured muscles that are continuously pushed to the limits can eventually tighten, leading to chronic pain. 

Repetitive movements

Repetitive movements of the hip muscles can also lead to tension and tight muscles. This is why it is important to mix routines up in the gym and include a variety of different exercises when being active.

Riding a bike or running on a treadmill, although great for building strong lower body muscles, do include repetitive body movements that can stress the hip muscles and cause them to tighten.

Hip stretch lunge.
Peggy_Marco / Pixabay

5 stretches for tight hips

1. Kneeling hip flexor stretch

It is important to learn how to stretch the hip flexors properly. The kneeling hip flexor stretch does this and targets the front of your hips, particularly the hip flexor muscles, which are prone to tightening due to prolonged sitting.


  • Begin in a kneeling position with one knee on the ground and the other foot placed forward.
  • Keep your leading knee directly above your ankle, forming a 90-degree angle. Place the palms of both hands, one over the other, on the leading knee.
  • Gently shift your weight forward, feeling the stretch in the front of the hip of the back leg.
  • To intensify the stretch, raise your arm on the same side as the extended leg, reaching overhead.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

2. Beginner hip flexor stretch

This beginner-friendly hip flexor stretch helps to release tension in the front of the hips and improve overall flexibility.


  • Kneel down with one knee on the ground and the other foot placed forward.
  • Gently tuck the pelvis in and engage your glutes.
  • Lean your torso forward slightly while keeping your upper body upright.
  • You should feel a gentle stretch in the front of your hip.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

3. 90/90 hip stretch 

The 90/90 hip stretch targets both the external and internal hip rotators. This exercise can provide relief for tight hips or prevent tightening from occurring.


  • Sit on the floor with one leg bent in front of you at a 90-degree angle and the other leg extended behind you, also at a 90-degree angle. Your legs will be flat on the ground, and the shoulders should be parallel to the front leg.
  • Place one hand on the ground for support.
  • Slowly rotate your torso toward the bent leg, feeling the stretch in the outer hip of the extended leg. Maintain an upright posture and avoid leaning forward.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

4. Standing hip flexor stretch

How to stretch hip flexors without causing injury and how to stretch your hip safely should be the main concerns when stretching. The standing hip flexor stretch provides an opportunity to target the hips and hip flexors while standing in a safe and easy starting position. This is a great stretch for those who may find seated hip exercises painful.  


  • Stand with one foot forward and the other foot placed behind you.
  • Bend your front knee as you gently lower your back knee towards the ground, feeling the stretch in the front of your hip. Your front knee will be at a 90-degree angle while your back leg remains straight.
  • Engage your core to maintain stability and avoid arching your lower back.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

5. Pigeon pose

The pigeon pose is a yoga-inspired stretch that effectively targets the outer hips and glutes, providing relief from tightness.


  • Begin in a high plank position.
  • Bring your left knee towards your left hand, placing it on the ground diagonally. Try to get your left shin parallel as your body allows.
  • Extend your right leg straight behind you, ensuring your hips remain squared to the front.
  • Sink into the stretch, feeling the stretch in the outer hip of the bent leg.

Editors' Recommendations

Christine VanDoren
Christine is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist with an undergraduate degree from Missouri State University. Her…
Wondering how to get rid of bloating? The best foods to beat belly bloat
From apples to rhubarb, here are a few of our favorite tasty bloating remedies
Man with bloated tummy.

No one likes to feel bloated. Not only may you feel a little self-conscious if you have a prominent, protruding, bloated belly, but bloating is also physically uncomfortable and can make you feel sluggish. Unfortunately, quite a few foods can cause bloating, and there are additional factors that can make you bloated, so feeling bloated after eating, drinking, or even exercising is rather common.

The good news is that there are certain foods that can reduce bloating to help you relieve the discomfort. Foods that help with bloating do not make you lose fat, but they can reduce inflammation in the gut and reduce fluid retention to help you get rid of any gas or water causing a belly pooch.

Read more
5 fantastic kettlebell workouts for beginners to build full-body strength
Learn how to do a kettlebell swing in no time
a man swinging a kettlebell by a blue sky

The fitness space has become a fancy one with luxury equipment, studio classes, and complicated gadgets like a Pilates reformer becoming more popular. Seemingly gone are the days when we'd lace up our sneakers and run around the block or pick up a humble pair of hand weights. Though you may see kettlebell workouts during a nightly scroll through Instagram and TikTok, the truth is the handheld balls with a single handle attached have been mainstays in a personal trainer's toolbox for a long time. Kettlebells USA traces the history of the piece of equipment to early-1700s Russia.

The kettlebell is a handy piece of equipment with more versatility than a burpee. A kettlebell workout can build strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. Kettlebell exercises can get cardio without running or cycling and engage multiple muscle groups for a full-body activity.

Read more
Get help getting fit: The 16 best workout apps for men
These workout apps will help you stay on track this year and crush any fitness goals
Workout app on a phone with running shoes

No matter if you're a seasoned fitness vet with over 20 years of experience or just starting out on your journey, everyone has the plan to go to the gym and work out until ya don't -- sometimes life happens, and things come up interfering with our plans of executing a solid workout. No matter if you established your own workout space at home or invested in high-quality budget home gym equipment like the best dumbbell deals or treadmills for 2023, working out at home can be your answer.

With the ability to be convenient, the no-excuses solution to fitting exercise into your busy schedule, at-home workouts can benefit everyone. However, if you're a beginner and prefer the direction and structure of workout classes or professionally designed exercise routines, working out at home can feel directionless and unmotivating. It can be hard to know exactly where to start. This is where the best workout apps can help you.

Read more