Top 7 Hip Stretches For Runners

hip stretches for runners

Looking for some of the best hip stretches for runners?

You’re in the right place.

In today’s article I’ll show you how to stretch your hips in a safe and comfortable way. But first things first, let’s talk about why you need to add a few hip opening stretches to your training routine.

Let’s delve deeper…

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I’d use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. 

What Are The Hip Flexors?

Located near the top of your thighs, the hip flexors consist of a group of muscles and tendons on the front—anterior—of your hip joint, connecting your legs to your pelvis.

When contracted, your hip flexors let you raise your knees or bend at the hip.

The primary hip flexor muscles are the psoas major and the iliacus— collectively known as the iliopsoas, (usually the weakest of all of the muscles).

Other hip flexor muscles include the sartorius, tensor fascia latae, and rectus femoris.

See image.

And here’s how they look like :

The main hip flexors muscles

Source – Wikipedia

The Functions Of the Hip Flexors

The hip flexor muscles are used in every stride when walking, running, and sprinting.

These allow you to walk, run, bend kick, and swivel your hips.

Your hip flexors are contracted on every step forward.

The more miles you log in, the more you put them to work.

Some of the main functions:

  • Bringing the thighs up toward the chest.
  • Driving the knees up and down.
  • Maintaining proper running form.
  • Moving the legs from side to side and front to back.
  • Stabilizing the pelvis.

Causes of Hip Issues

The hips is just one region of the body that’s prone to tightness if you’re a runner.

Running’s repetitive nature means that you’re constantly working the hip flexors and extensors through a very small range of motion.

So it’s not surprising that hip pain from running is such a common issue.

Add to this the fact that, thanks to our sedentary lifestyle, we spend the bulk of our time sitting—roughly a third of the day.

When you spend a lot of time in a seated position, your hip flexors are kept in a shortened position more than they should be, which, in turn, makes them super tight.

This has huge negative effects on your posture, spinal stability, and gait.

Ramifications of Tightness

Tightness in the hip flexors results in an exaggerated anterior pelvic tilt.

This occurs when the arch of the lower back increases while the backside stick out more.

The tighter your hip flexors get, the more your pelvis tilts back and the more likely you’re to lean forward—as in stick out your butt and arch your back—while running.

Not only this is bad form, but can also set you up for back pain and serious injury. And you want none of that.

For more on the research conducted on hip muscle tightness and overuse injury, check the following studies:

Study 1

Study 2

Study 3

Study 4

How To Test Your Hip Flexor Flexibility

Wondering if your hips are too tight—or loose enough? Take the Thomas test.

Also known as Iliacus test or Iliopsoas Test, this test is used to measure the flexibility of the hip flexors—more specifically, that of the iliopsoas muscle group, the pectineus, Rectus Femoris, gracillus as well as the Sartorius and Tensor Fascia.

Proper form

Start by laying or sitting at the very edge of a table or bent, with the tailbone resting at the edge.

Then, roll back onto the table while pulling both knees to your chest.

This helps ensure that your lumbar spine is flat on the table and your pelvis is posteriorly rotated.

Next, hold the opposite hip in maximum flexor with the arms, while the assessed limb hang down toward the floor.

Last up, perform on both sides and compare.


If your left leg lower backs, and sacrum remain flat on the table with the knee bending to 70 to 90 degrees, kudos…you don’t have tight hip flexors.

However, if one of your thighs or legs stay up drastically higher than the other, then you do have tight hips, and regular hip openning stretches are required.

Now that you know a thing or two about the importance of hip stretches for runners, let’s get to the exercises themselves.

Top 7 Hip Stretches For Runners

Fortunately, there’s is an abundance of good hip openining stretches that you can perform at home to decrease tightness, relieve pain, and increase mobility in your hips.

You won’t need to join a gym, buy a lot of expensive equipment or even leave the comfort of your home to perform the following hip flexors exercises.


Hip Stretch for Runner – 1. Pigeon

Also known as Eka pada rajakapotasana, this is a famous yoga pose, and one of the most effective hip flexors stretches, especially the hip abductors.

Proper Form

Begin by sitting with your right knee bent and left leg stretched behind you.

Next, while making sure that your left hip is always pointing toward the mat, drag your right heel toward your left hip.

Then rest your hands on your right thigh or your hips, then walk your hands out in front of you, and lower your hips down toward the floor over your right knee.

Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute.

Be sure to breathe into any area of discomfort or tension.

Repeat on the other side.

Hip Stretch for Runner – 2. Lunge Hip Flexor Stretch

One of the best best hip stretches for runners that  not only targets most of the muscles in the hips, but it’s also ideal for stretching the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

Proper Form

Assume a lunge position with your right knee forward.

Next, drop your left knee to the ground, and place your hands on your right knee or the floor under your shoulders, according to your flexibility level.

Be sure to keep your upper body tall, and core engaged the entire time.

Then, while keeping your front knee directly above your ankle, hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute, and feel the stretch in your left hip flexor.

Change sides and repeat.

Hip Stretch for Runner – 3. Happy Baby

Also known as Ananda Balasana in the yogic circles, this relaxing hip stretch also targets the lower back and the hamstrings.

Proper Form

Lay flat on your back with both knees bent while gently holding the outside edges of your feet with your hands.

Next, while keeping your arms on the outside of your legs, press both knees to the ground below your armpits.

Feel free to rock lightly from side to side if that feels good.

Hold the pose for at least one minute, then move to the next stretch.

Hip Stretch for Runner – 4. Butterfly

A powerful hip opener that also stretches the glutes and the inner thighs.

Proper Form

Assume a cross-legged seated position with the soles of the feet pressed together.

Next, while grabbing your ankles, lengthen your spine upward,  draw your belly button inward then slowly fold forward from your hips with a deep exhale.

Focus on your inner thighs and be sure to breathe into that area to release any tension or discomfort.

For more stretch, feel free to crawl your hands forward away from your body.

Hold the pose for one minute then slowly release and move to the next stretch.

Hip Stretch for Runner – 5. Extended Wide Squat

Not only this hip opening stretch is ideal for the hip abductors, but also increase mobility in the lower back, hamstrings, and glutes.

Proper Form

Assume a standing position, with the feet slightly wider than your hips, toes pointing out so that hips are open.

Next, while keeping your back flat and core engaged, slowly bend your knees and lower your hips toward the floor.

For more stretch, place your elbows inside of your thighs, gently pressing them out against the inside of your knees.

Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute then slowly release back to standing position.

Hip Stretch for Runner – 6. Frog Hip Stretch

This simple pose stretches and opens up the the hip abductors, the insides of the thighs, and the groin.

If you have any recent leg, hip or knee injury, be careful with this one.

Proper Form

This is one of my favorite hip flexor stretches.

Assume an all fours position with hands and knee in a tabletop position, then bring your forearms onto the mat or a yoga block.

Next, slowly slide both knees away from your body and widen them out as far as possible as you lower your chest and hips toward the floor.

Hold the position for one to two minutes then slowly release it and move to the next stretch.

Hip Stretch for Runner – 7. Standing Wide-Legged Split

This stretch will not only target your hips but also opens up your inner thighs and hamstrings.

Proper Form

Begin by sitting up tall with the feet three to four feet apart, heels a bit wider than the toes.

Next, while keeping the soles of your feet flat on the floor and torso long,  fold forward from the hips and place your hands on a yoga block or mat right below your shoulders.

Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute.

If your flexibility allows it, feel free to lower onto forearms for a deeper hips stretch.

hip flexor stretches for runners

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Top 7 Hip Stretches For Runners – The Conclusion

There you have it!

The above hip flexor stretches for runners are all you need for to open your hip flexors and keep flexible for the long haul.

Just make sure to do them on a regular basis. The rest is just detail.

Say Goodbye to Tight Hamstrings: 7 Essential Stretches for Runners

Why Running Causing Heart Burn?

Are your hamstrings feeling as tight as a guitar string?

Ready to learn the secret to keeping them limber and pain-free?

Well, you’re in luck because we’re about to dive into the world of hamstring stretches that will leave you feeling like a limber athlete in no time!

In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, it’s easy to neglect those essential muscles at the back of our legs.

But here’s the kicker: even if you’re juggling work, family, and a social life that’s busier than a beehive, dedicating just a few minutes each day to hamstring stretches can work wonders for your body.

Whether you’re a dedicated runner, an avid cyclist, or just someone who enjoys the occasional jog in the park, your hamstrings deserve some TLC.

Neglecting them could lead to a cacophony of aches, pains, and injuries that can throw a wrench in your fitness routine.

But don’t fret!

In today’s article, I’m sharing with you a lineup of straightforward, highly effective hamstring stretches that will help you bid farewell to those pesky tight muscles.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s start by unraveling the mysteries of the hamstrings.

Excited? Then here we go!

What Are the Hamstrings? 

The hamstrings are a group of three muscles located on the back of your thigh.

These muscles play a crucial role in various leg movements and include:

  • Biceps Femoris: This is one of the major muscles in the hamstring group. It has two heads, known as the long head and short head, which originate from different parts of the pelvis and come together to form the hamstring tendon.
  • Semimembranosus: This is one of the deeper muscles in the hamstring group. It originates from the ischial tuberosity (a bony prominence in the pelvis) and extends down to the back of the tibia bone.
  • Semitendinosus: Like the semimembranosus, this muscle also originates from the ischial tuberosity and extends down to the tibia. It’s one of the more superficial muscles in the hamstring group.

Don’t worry.

The stretches I’m going to share with you today are going to cover them all.

For more runner’s specific stretching routines, check out the following posts:

How to Stretch Your Tight Hamstrings

Here are seven easy hamstring stretches for flexibility.

Perform each exercise once or twice, holding each stretch to the edge of discomfort or between a 6 and 8 on a scale of 1-10.

I recommend performing these hamstring stretches when your muscles are well-warmed, preferably after a run or a solid warm-up.

And please never stretch a cold muscle; otherwise, you’ll only hurt yourself.

  1. Lying Hamstring Stretch with Cord

Start by lying on your back with your back straight and legs extended.

Next, while keeping your lower back down on the floor and hips level, bend the right knee towards your chest, then slowly set your knee straight while reaching for the back of your leg with both hands.

Be sure to pull the right leg towards you as gently as possible while keeping both hips firmly on the floor.

Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to one full minute, then switch sides.

  1. The Cross-Over Hamstring Stretch

While standing up straight with legs crossed, your right leg over your left, with the feet close together.

Next, while keeping a soft bend in the knees, slowly roll your upper body and let your hand reach toward the ground.

Keep rolling down until you feel a mild stretch along the back of your left leg.

Don’t fret if you can’t reach your toes.

Just give it time, and you will eventually get there.

Hold the stretch for one full minute, then repeat with the opposite leg.

  1. Half Split Hamstring Strech

This is one of my favorite hamstring stretches of all time.

But be careful here.

It’s also one of the most challenging.

The half split is ideal for stretching the lower back, hips, IT band, hamstrings, and calves.

Here is how to perform them in a safe manner.

Start in a low lunge position with your right leg in front,

Next, slowly straighten your right leg as much as you can, then slide the left leg straight behind you.

Then, while keeping your hips squared and stacked over your left knee, slowly fold over your right leg while lengthening your spine and keeping your back straight the entire time.

Hold the position for one full minute, then switch sides.

  1. Seated Forward Fold

Begin by sitting on the floor with both legs extended straight out in front of you.

Be sure to point both feet straight up toward the ceiling.

Next, while keeping the legs straight and core engaged, stretch your arms up overhead and fold your torso over your thighs.

Hold onto your feet, ankles, or shins. In case you are too tight here, you can always wrap a towel or yoga strap around the soles of your feet.

Hold the position for one to two minutes and then slowly sit up.

  1. Triangle Forward Fold

Stand with your feet together, core engaged, and hands on hips.

Next, to perform the triangle forward fold, step back with your left foot about two to three feet.

Make sure your right foot is facing forward while the left foot is at a slight angle.

Next, while keeping the back and legs as straight as possible, bend forward from your hip joint, extend your body over your right leg, and place your right arm on your tight knee or shin (you can also use a block for assistance).

Make sure to feel the stretch in your hamstrings and lower back and the whole back side of your leg.

Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to one full minute, then switch sides.

  1. Standing Hamstring Stretch

Start by standing up straight with feet shoulder-width apart.

Be sure to keep your chest up and back straight.

Next, slowly bend forward at the hips with arms hanging down and with legs as straight as possible until you start feeling a mild stretch in your lower back and hamstrings.

Try to reach your toes, but do not pull anything to do so.


Please add this simple hamstring stretch routine to your training program ASAP. The above exercises are all you need to keep your hamstrings flexible and supple so you can run your best for the long haul.

Furthermore, please remember to take action on what you have just learned. Learning about the best hamstring exercises to perform after a run is one thing, but actually stretching the muscles of the back thigh on a regular basis is another thing.

For that, you’d need to build the habit of regular stretching in your life. And yet, it’s just a habit, just like anything else in life.

One thing you can do to speed up this whole process is to incorporate at least three to four of the above stretches into your post-run routine. Perform more stretches if you’re suffering from chronic hamstring tightness (just like the rest of us).

And remember to stay within your fitness level and have fun.

For more on post-run stretches, check the following links:

The 7 Hip Flexor Stretches Runners Should Do

8 Standing Post-Run Stretches For Runners

In the meantime, thank you for reading my post. Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

David D

Featured Image Credit – Jeremy Hall via Flickr