The hip flexors are a series of muscles that include the psoas and illiacus muscles. The book "Stretching Anatomy" explains that the hip flexor muscles attach from the thigh bone to the pelvis and are responsible for flexing the leg toward the torso. Flexion describes any movement where two joints are brought closer to one another. For example, bending your knee and hugging your knee in toward your chest flexes your hip flexors.
Practice folding into a forward bend regularly to stretch your hip flexors and outer hips.
Speak to your doctor before performing hip stretches if you have a history of chronic hip or lower back pain, arthritis or hip surgery.
Lie on your back on a yoga mat or other comfortable surface. Tuck your tailbone under and press your lower back into the floor. Bend both knees and bring them in toward your chest. Wrap both arms around your shins, hugging the knees in close to the chest. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to one minute and release.
Lie on your back on a supportive surface, and extend both legs out on the floor. Bend the right knee and bring it in toward your chest. Extend your right leg toward the sky, flexing the toes toward you. To stretch the outer hip further, slowly drop your right leg to the right, possibly touching the outside of the right foot to the floor, depending on your flexibility. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to one minute. Lower the leg back down to the floor and repeat on the opposite leg.
Stand up tall with a straight spine and engage your core muscles by drawing your belly button in toward your spine. Bend your right knee and draw your right knee toward your chest. Wrap your arms around the knee or behind the right thigh for extra stability. Shift the knee to the right side for a deeper stretch in the outside of the hip. If you feel unstable in the pose, hold onto a chair or the wall with one hand and use the other hand to support your raised knee. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to one minute, lower your leg and repeat on the opposite leg.
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