Exercises for Hip Flexor Strain

People doing the supine wind release posture
People bringing one knee to chest while on their backs in a yoga class. (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

A common sports injury, hip flexor strain causes pain in the group of muscles at the front of the hip or groin. Your hip flexors help you to lift your knees and bend at the waist. A strain results from micro-tears due to overuse or a sudden contraction during stretching, sprinting or kicking exercises. To ease the pain, perform hip flexor exercises three times daily, provided the exercises don't cause more strain.

Quadriceps Stretch

Stretch your quadriceps, the muscle on the front of your thigh, and your hip flexor at the same time with a quadriceps stretch. There are two ways to perform this stretch, standing or sitting.

For the standing stretch, hold on to a table or chair back. Bend your knee and hold the top part of your ankle with your hand on the same side and pull your foot toward your buttocks until you feel a stretch in your quadriceps. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and release. Repeat three times on both sides.

To perform the stretch sitting, position yourself on a bench with one foot in front on the floor and the other leg bent back with the front of your thigh flat on the bench. Grasp the top of your ankle of the foot that is flat on the bench behind you and pull your foot toward your back. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times on each side.

Hip Flexor Stretch

To stretch your hip flexor specifically, kneel down and place one foot in front of you with a bent knee and your foot flat on the floor. Press your hip forward and attempt to push your pelvis down to the floor while pushing your shoulders back in the other direction. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and then release. Repeat three times.

Resisted Hip Flexion

The resisted hip flexion strengthens the muscles. It can be done two ways, with a band or with your hands. If you have a band handy, tie it around your ankle. Tie a knot in other end and shut the knot in a door, near the bottom. Stand far enough from the door so that there is no slack in the band. Bring your leg forward, keeping the knee straight, until the band has stretched and you feel the resistance in your leg and hip.

To do this exercise with just your body, lay down on the floor. Bring one knee toward you, using your hands to push it away. Hold for 30 seconds, then release. Repeat three times.

With either variation, complete the exercise on both the left and right sides.

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