Do this simple stretch after every run to release hip tension

Stretch out your tight hips without tying yourself in knots

Female runner with long brown hair in a pony tail in blue vest top and red shorts in half-kneeling position on dirt track
(Image credit: The Good Brigade / Getty Images)

Runners are prone to tight hip flexors and this can be further aggravated if, like me, your week involves both running and sitting at a desk. The muscles at the front of the hips remain in a shortened position when you’re seated, and with the repetitive motion of running, they rarely get the chance to extend fully.

The good news is that with the right stretches you can undo that tightening and shortening. "Stretching the hip flexors out post-run can release any tension stored within the muscles and increase the range of movement within the hips,” says Jenni Tardiff, master trainer at The Gym Group.

As well as feeling uncomfortable, tight hip flexors could impact your running if you ignore them. "If you don’t stretch the hip flexors out, they can become chronically shortened, and that can impact the range of movement and efficiency of the body while running,” says Tardiff. "Tight hip flexors can lead to imbalances, affecting pelvic alignment and stride efficiency.”

Enter the hip flexor stretch, which does what it says on the tin. This is an easy stretch to perform, unlike the pigeon stretch, which also targets the hip flexors but is more intense and it can be tricky to get into and out of the correct position.

"The hip flexor stretch should be done after your run, keeping dynamic stretches for pre-run drills,” says Tardiff. "It can also be performed in separate sessions as part of your other training sessions or prehab work.” Try doing this stretch three or four times a week to notice a difference.

How to do the hip flexor stretch

Kneel on the floor. Step your left foot forward into a lunge, keeping your right knee on the floor. Press your hips forward to feel a stretch in your right hip flexor.

It’s simple to increase or decrease the intensity of the stretch just by leaning forward more or easing back out of it.

To feel an even deeper hip stretch, you can heel-toe your left foot further out to the left and lower your forearms to the ground into lizard pose.

Aim to hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds at a time on each side, and then repeat for a total of three or four sets.

Contributing writer

Camilla Artault is a fitness writer with a passion for running and yoga. She interviews experts and writes about a wide range of topics for Fit&Well encompassing health, fitness and nutrition.