Running Stretches: Hip Flexors

Creaking like the Tin Man?
Hip Flexors and why they matter!

Remember how the Tin Man needed his joints oiling in The Wizard of Oz? Well, so do you! Oiling your muscles and tendons with a good stretch will stop you creaking in the mornings and help you feel more comfortable when you're out running.

When I ask customers, 'do you stretch enough?' The usual response is, 'I don't stretch as much as I should.' And then everyone talks about the calf, quads, hamstrings, but rarely mentions the hip flexors.

What are the hip flexors? They're the muscles and tendons on the anterior (front) of your hip joint, linking your legs to your pelvis. They influence the movement between your top and bottom half. They effect the smoothness of your stride, feed into your quads, affect your hamstrings, and if they're tight, affect the spine and cause lower back pain.

So, they're pretty important!

And that's why I filmed this short video to show you an all in one stretch that will loosen you up from hip-to-toe.

The Grid is another great tool to enhance your stretching routine.
Find out how the Grid can act as replacement masseuse here »

Now, got any questions? Maybe you have a great tip on stretching you want to share with all of us? Drop me a comment below.

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And good luck with your training!

These are exercises that we've found very useful and want to share with our customers. But we're not certified instructors. Always consult your specialist before beginning any exercise programme. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.

For one-to-one advice, visit our expert in-store practitioners:

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  • paulaMay 4, 2013 at 3:51pm
    Great stretches,i'm back running after a partial ham string tear and physio and also do karate.I would really appreciate some more ham and quad stretches and any advice to improve and maintain flexibility to keep my legs flexible so I can do both the activities I love.
    Thanks in advance1 Reply
    • Shankara SmithMay 7, 2013 at 2:34pm
      Hi Paula,

      Thanks for your comment. It's great to hear you're getting back into running. After a muscle injury it's really important to ensure your muscles are properly warmed up before you exert them too much, so start each session with a 5 to 10 minute brisk walk, or gentle jog. Follow this with gentle stretching of your hamstrings; if you're outside find a bench/low railing to rest your foot on and then bend at the waist, hold the stretch and breathe into it, then ease back and repeat. It's not a bad idea to squeeze in a quad stretch at this point too, just hold onto a tree/bench/wall and pull your foot towards your glutes, pushing your knee towards the ground to get a good stretch.

      When you're warming down after exercise, follow the stretches in the video above, and to ensure you're stretching the hamstring fully, try angling your foot a bit to the left and then the right of straight, this will encourage a deeper stretch throughout the entire muscle. I would also recommend you invest in a Grid, it's so great for massaging out tension in big muscle groups, and we've got a handy vlog on it for you to follow: see Using the Grid: For Runners here »

      Enjoy the road back to fitness! Reply
  • HeideJune 13, 2015 at 5:04pm
    I've really hurt me hip flexor and I competed today and yesterday and am competition tomorrow Wednesday Thursday and Sunday next week! What do you recommend for quick pain relief? Reply
    • Shankara SmithJune 15, 2015 at 10:33am

      Hi Heide,
      The hip flexor tendons can be slow to recover, so you definitely want to take it easy. I would suggest gentle stretching, not pushing it beyond what feels like a gradual release. You can also try using an ice pack for ten to fifteen minutes a day. You also need to consider what brought on the problem in the first place, whether tightness in quads has put more pressure on the hip flexors, or stomach muscles tightness from over-crunching, etc.
      If you've got competitions coming up then you'd be best advised to visit a good physio to get advice and speed up recovery.
      Good luck

  • RaulOctober 10, 2015 at 10:41am
    Hello Miss Shankara;

    Wow..very great vedio for streching for hip flexors... i will definitely used it on my system.
    Thank you so much. Reply
    • ShankaraOctober 12, 2015 at 11:10am
      Hi Raul,

      That's great to hear, thanks. I use this stretch all the time and it saves me!

  • JonathanNovember 1, 2015 at 12:21pm
    Thanks for the routine. I thought I was just getting too old to start running! ? Reply
    • Shankara SmithNovember 2, 2015 at 1:09pm

      You are never too old! But stretching does become more essential as the years tick by. Enjoy your runs and just take it steady, as long as you don't overdo it your body will adjust quite quickly. Good luck :-)

  • LumyJune 5, 2016 at 12:26pm
    Hello Shankara,

    That is a board question but who better than you to advise. I am 52 yo woman who I have made little spot in my life. I start running just a few years ago, I had plantar fasciitis, stress fracture and now a stubborn pain at the back of my hip.
    I started quite controlled, slowly building up millage and with a good nutrition plan.
    I wonder what would you advise me about how to run, do you thinkI should keep on? I really enjoy so much being out there but I want to do it safely. Tips? Do's and don't s?
    L Reply
    • Shankara SmithJune 6, 2016 at 9:58am

      Hi Lumy,

      It's great to hear that you've fallen in love with running but it does sound like you've hit a few obstacles that need attending to.

      I wonder if your running shoes are supporting you as much as you need them to. Plantar Fasciitis and hip pain can come from the feet collapsing through the arches as you run and the legs coming under extra pressure to support you properly. So I would recommend that you get your shoes checked out. If you're able to get to one of our branches we can advise you on that.

      There can be many contributing factors that lead to the problems you've described. Without seeing you and speaking to you more it's hard to guess what course of action needs to be taken. However, taking an appointment with a Chi Running Instructor, like Balavan Thomas, can be very illuminating. You can learn where you're putting extra pressure on your body as you run and how to balance things out better.

      My other advice would be Pilates. A class once a week can really benefit your overall posture and core stability and is a very good supplementary exercise for runners.

      Hope some of this helps.


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