Do These 8 Hip Flexor Stretches Every Day to Erase Back Pain

avatarKelly Collins

It’s a fact: tight hips lead to back problems. Fix low back pain at its source with these soothing hip flexor stretches.

When you sit, the hip flexors in a shortened state. Over time, they can get stuck that way. This not only makes your hips feel tight, but can lead to pain and even injury in other areas of the body. The lower back is particularly at risk for injury because the hip flexors attach directly to the back at the lumbar vertebrae. When your hips are shortened, your lower back will feel strained because it cannot rotate or bend properly. This imbalance creates tension in the surrounding muscles and increases the risk of muscular and disc-related injuries. Luckily, it is possible to combat the negative effects of sitting by adding the right stretches into your routine.

Use these stretches to lengthen your hip flexors back out after a long day of sitting to help keep your body balanced and your lower back free of pain. These stretches can also be done first thing in the morning, or whenever you’re feeling tightness in your lower back. All you’ll need is a mat and yoga block or a pillow and you’re ready to soothe your back pain away!

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Knee-to-Chest Stretch | 30 sec per side

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Start with this gentle hip opener that melts tension away.

  1. Begin lying on your back with your legs straight down the mat.
  2. Bend your right knee in towards your chest and interlace your fingers over the shin. Flex both feet.
  3. Draw your navel up and in towards your spine to engage your abs.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

Low Lunge | 30 sec per side

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Lengthen out your hip flexors with this simple stretch that also engages your core.

  1. Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees.
  2. Step your right foot between your hands and line up the knee above the ankle. Then walk your hands up onto your thighs and lift your chest.
  3. Press down through your right heel and the top of your left knee. Lift your navel up and in towards your spine and tilt your tailbone downwards slightly. With this small action, you should feel a stretch in the front of your hips.
  4. Place your hands on your hips and press your forward slightly. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Runner’s Lunge Twist | 30 sec per side

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Reset your spine as you open up your hips with this stretch.

  1. Start in a high plank position.
  2. Step your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Tap your left knee to the ground and heel-toe your right foot towards the top right edge of the mat, until the ankle is slightly in front of the knee. Press your hips forward and engage your abs.
  3. Firmly plant your left palm into the mat, then inhale to twist your right arm towards the sky, reaching up through the fingertips.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, breathing into the hips and mid-spine. Switch sides.

Around the World | 30 sec per side

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This stretch will gently open both the hip flexors and the outer hip muscles.

  1. Sit on your mat with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Turn your right foot inward and point the knee out, bringing the right shin parallel to the top of the mat.
  2. Then turn your left knee in and the left foot out and swing the leg back so that the left shin is parallel to the left side of the mat. Flex both feet.
  3. Square your shoulders forward over your right shin. Then walk your hands forward and fold over your leg. Rest your right forearm on the ground and extend your left arm out in front of you.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Standing Quad & Hip Flexor Stretch | 30 sec per side

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When done properly, this classic quad stretch will also open up the hip flexors.

  1. Stand next to a wall or a chair and rest your left hand on it.
  2. Shift your weight onto your left foot and pick up your right foot. Bend the right knee to kick the heel back towards your glutes.
  3. Reach back with your right hand and catch the top of the foot. Keep the knees in line and press your hips forward to feel a stretch through the quad and hip flexor.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Inverted Figure 4 | 30 sec per side

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This stretch will help relieve tension from the hip flexors and the outer hip muscles.

  1. Lie down with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Separate your feet out wide and then lower both knees to the left.
  2. Heel-toe your right foot over to the right a few more inches until your knee and hip are in line.
  3. Then pick up your left foot and cross your left ankle on top of your outer right thigh. Flex both feet and gently press your right thigh back up into your left ankle. If you feel pinching in the right knee, practice the stretch without crossing the left ankle over the thigh.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Supported Bridge | 30 sec

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Release tension from your hips with this relaxing stretch.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor hip-width distance apart. Reach your arms down by your sides.
  2. Inhale to lift your hips up towards the sky. Slide a yoga block or pillow underneath your lower back and hips. Then rest your hips down.
  3. Straighten your legs down the mat and allow your toes to fall outward. Reach your arms over your head and close your eyes as you relax here for 30 seconds.

Pretzel Stretch | 30 sec per side

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Release hip flexor tightness while improving mobility through your spine and lower back.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs long. Then hug your right knee into your chest.
  2. Take an inhale, then exhale and twist your right leg across your body to come into a twist. Reach your right arm out to the side.
  3. Bend your left knee and catch the top of your left foot with your right hand to find a quad stretch. Press your hips forward to feel a stretch in the hips.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Keep the momentum going with these nine easy wall stretches that soothe painful hips. If you have a tennis ball, use it to release those tight hips even further!

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