Most of us like the idea of being more flexible. But when you live a busy life, stretching often takes a back seat. If you have a chance to slip just one stretch into your workout regime, we’ve found one worth prioritizing.
Bodyweight exercise and flexibility specialist Tom Merrick, aka The Bodyweight Warrior, has named the wall hip flexor stretch as the move "almost everyone needs".
The stretch can be performed in two ways, depending on whether you want to target the hip flexors (at the front of the hips) or quadriceps (along the front of the thighs).
Watch Merrick’s video below to find out how to do both variations with the correct technique.
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How to do the wall hip flexor stretch to target your hip flexors
Face away from a wall and assume a half-kneeling position, with your right foot planted on the ground directly beneath your right knee.
Your left knee should be on the ground, a few inches from the wall, your left foot should point upwards, and your left shin should be almost vertical against the wall. If you are unable to get into this position, move your left knee further away from the wall.
Lean forward over your front knee and hold this stretch for one to two minutes, then repeat on the other side. Merrick advises thinking about pulling the knee forward when you’re doing this stretch to target your hip flexors.
How to do the wall hip flexor stretch to target your quads
Start as you would with the wall hip flexor stretch. Make sure your glutes (backside muscles) are engaged and your hips are tucked under your torso.
Instead of leaning forward, hold yourself upright, moving your left thigh back towards your left calf on the wall until the two are almost parallel.
Hold for one to two minutes, then repeat on the other side.
Benefits of the wall hip flexor stretch
The hip flexors are a group of muscles responsible for flexing the hip, for example when you draw the knees towards the chest. They also play an important role in boosting your stability and helping you maintain your posture.
Unfortunately, these muscles are among the first to suffer when you spend long periods of time sitting down. This is because sitting puts the hip flexors in a shortened position, which weakens the muscles and leads to tightness and pain over time.
This pain isn’t limited to your hips either. Tight hips can also pull on the pelvis and lead to muscular imbalances, contributing to lower back pain.
The wall hip flexor stretch works to combat these issues. By stretching the hip and quadriceps you are helping to reduce stiffness and keep pain at bay, while also improving mobility and flexibility.
You don't need much equipment to do this stretch, but a soft, supportive mat will keep your knees comfortable. Have a look at our round-up of the best yoga mats, if you need some suggestions
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Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.
Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.
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