The Best Hip Flexor Stretches | 3 Couch Variations & Hip Flexor Exercises

hip flexor
Want to reduce back pain? Me too.

I get asked all the time what are the best hip flexor stretches because I sit all day!

Having tight hip flexors is a direct correlation to back pain and that’s never any fun.

As we sit our hip flexor just keeps getting tighter and if we don’t stretch as you know…

…it could lead to injury.

Today I’ll be covering:

  • The best hip flexor stretches
  • The most effective stretch “the couch stretch”
  • How to improve your mobility

Want to fast track your injury prevention and improve your performance? Check out our mobility program.

The Best Hip Flexor Stretches

Hip flexor pain sucks.

And here is the thing about hip flexor pain…

…you probably don’t feel it at ALL in your hips flexors (until you do the stretch) you probably feel all the pain in your lower back.

That’s because tight hip flexors pull your pelvis forward into an anterior pelvic tilt.

Don’t worry I won’t get too fancy on you but if you want a few different hip flexor stretches then click on the video below:

I’ll show you a few different couch variations as well.

I didn’t talk about this in the video but it’s really important when focusing on lengthening your muscles to…

…breathe!

For the purpose of the short video I was trying to show you a few different variations but realistically you should:

  • spend 1-2 minutes per stretch
  • take deep breathes in and out through your nose
  • each exhale seek a tiny weeny little deeper into the stretch BUT…

…dont compromise your lower back position.

If you begin to arch your lower back then you have lost what we are trying to accomplish.

Keep your glutes squeeze, follow your lower abs, breathe and settle in to a great stretch.

The Couch Stretch | The King Of All Hip Flexor Stretches

I played basketball for 20 years.

Never really stretched.

Not a good plan.

When I got exposed to crossfit I quickly learned the importance of mobility, recovery and optimal positions.

overhead squat
Took my a long time to be able to achieve this position.

If you can’t get into a good position you are going to have a much more difficult time.

Plus you won’t be as efficient.

So I spent the past 10+ years testing and experimenting with:

  • static stretching
  • dynamic stretching (what I was most familiar with)
  • active stretching

I tried multiple different stretching apps:

  • Go wod
  • Romwod
  • Learned everything that has every come out of Kelly Starrett mouth

I saw results but not what I wanted.

It’s like my mobility never really “stuck” like it just went away after.

…EVERYTHING CHANGED.

It made since to me.

Static stretching always felt really good.

Calmed me down.

I would get length in the moment.

But heck we aren’t even supposed to do static stretching before workouts because it decreases power output….

…so what the heck?!

For years I had to do it because otherwise I couldn’t even get into the positions.

Continuing down below

Why Active Stretching Is Best For Lengthening Hip Flexors

Active stretching was different though.

It challenged me.

Challenged me to strengthen my end range of motion.

When we talk about increasing our flexibility what we are really talking about is having more range of motion.

The technique of “pails and rails” was it!

I was getting more release than ever in my hip flexors because I was working on strengthening the end range position…

…as opposed to camping out.

mobility program for crossfit
Now I provide a daily (15 minute) video that you can just follow along with.

You also don’t have to be a crossfit athlete.

If you want to have a daily video to follow along with on how to improve your mobility, decrease pain and optimize performance it’s for you too :p

How To Improve Mobility | Strained Hip Flexor Exercises | Lower Back Hip Flexor Pain

I showed you a few variations of going directly to the problem.

But often times you have to look upstream and downstream.

Let me show you some exercises for strained hip flexors or if you just want to know how to correct the issue (what causes hip flexor tightness).

Step 1 – “Smash” Hip Flexor

Spend some time getting your central nervous system to “relax”. What I mean by that is grab a:

  • foam roller
  • theragun
  • lacrosse ball

Something that is going to allow you to spend two minutes of rolling your TFL and quads.

Check out the video below:

This is the first step/exercise of correcting a strained hip flexor (or preventative)

When you are foam rolling you aren’t really breaking down any muscle tissue.

Yes I just said that.

But it is communicating to your body to relax that area.

THEN you can get into some lengthening and strengthening exercise to improve the range of motion or strength of the area.

Step 2 : Stretch & Activate Hip Flexor

Now that we have told this area to relax a bit now it’s time to work on this end range of motion strength.

In the video we will contract (feel a MASSIVE) stretch and then we will ACTIVATE the opposing muscle group.

This is the technique that we apply into our daily mobility program that has changed the game for our athletes.

Check out the video below to see what I’m talking about.

That’s when I found active stretching

Step 3: Hip Flexor Exercises

Little bonus for you because I know that lower back pain from tight hip flexors is a real thing.

Once you have:

  • smashed that area
  • stretched and activated the opposing muscle groups

You actually want to do more strengthening exercises to communicate to your body:

“This is a safe range of motion.”

Your body.

Exercises like:

…the L Sit.

Since the l sit is such a tough skill check out these l sit progressions.

Step 4: Be Consistent

This probably goes without saying BUT make it stretching and mobility a daily practice.

It doesn’t have to be a yoga class an hour a day (that would be nice) but something SO small that you can confidently do it

every.

single.

day.

Even if it’s just the one stretch for two minutes a day.

One “rule” I have for myself is for every hour that I sit per day I get one minute of stretching.

10 hours or sitting = 10 minutes of stretching.

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Conclusion

I covered the best hip flexor stretches and how it can really help eliminate back pain.

Tight hip flexors (from sitting) pulls your pelvis forward then creates and arch in your back and that's no good.

I gave you the recipe for success if you are trying to recover from a strained hip flexor

  • foam roll or "smash" the area
  • lengthen and activate the muscle
  • perform corrective exercises to create lasting change

Want to fast track your injury prevention and improve your performance? Check out our mobility program.

ring muscle up
Your coaches Kevin & Katie

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is hip flexor pain felt?

This will seem strange but often times when you have tight hip flexors you will feel the pain in your back (unless you are stretching your quads/hip flexor) then you will know right away. Try different variations or progressions of the couch stretch to get nearly immediate relief.

The couch stretch hurts SO bad what do I do?

You aren't wrong. It can be extremely tight on your quads and sometimes even feel like you are tearing your quads. Not fun. BUT that's a sign you need to work on your mobility. Try the lizard pose from the floor, lift up your back leg, and keep your glutes squeezed. Check the video above for different variations. In the video I show you easiest --> hardest.

How can I strengthen my hip flexors to prevent low back pain?

Love that you are thinking preventive. First make sure to follow the order...

  • roll the tissue
  • stretch/lengthen the muscle
  • activate the opposing muscle groups
  • perform corrective exercises

Hip flexor strengthening exercises: hanging tuck raise, l sit, mountain climbers.

Any other questions leave them in the comments below and I'lll help you out!

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