Unfortunately I can't find much information on this question anywhere. Hope someone here can help to clear things out.

I know the classic exercise for hip flexor (psoas) stretch is the kneeling hip flexor stretch. But I can't hold it for more than 20 seconds, probably because I don't do it correctly. I fatigue too quickly and give up. Also when I do this exercise on my left leg it stretches my quads more than hip flexors, even when I tilt the hip in neutral position. probably because I have tight very tight quads. very hard to hold this stretch for long.

So I was looking for other stretching exercises and found this exercise

enter image description here

It feels like the hip flexors are being stretched but I want to be sure. When I perform it for 3 minutes or more after running and then stand up I feel really tall, like my hip comes to neutral position automatically without conscious control from my side. I thought maybe this exercise really does stretch the hip flexors?

Q: or does this exercise (in the image) stretch more the adductor muscles than the psoas?

2 Answers 2


Generally, stretching is accomplished by elongating muscle fibers (technical summary).

In the kneeling hip flexor stretch, we stretch the hip flexors of the leg with the knee on the ground. In the picture below, we'd be stretching our left leg. Here, our left hip is extended in order to stretch our flexors.

enter image description here

In the picture you shared, both hips are flexed. In this position, our hip extensors (glutes, hamstrings, etc.) are lengthened -- and therefore being stretched -- while our hip flexors are actually shortened. This can get confusing so here's a diagram for what hip flexion and extension looks like in their extremes, below.

As you mentioned, if we go far down enough, we can also stretch our hip adductors as our hips are also being abducted.

enter image description here

If you're having trouble stretching your hip flexors in the kneeling position, you might want to try a progression while paying special attention to form.

If you're stretching to alleviate pain in your hip flexors, remember that muscles in our body work together; sometimes pain in one muscle due to overcompensating for an inflexible muscle elsewhere :)

Good luck!


Obviously, this is a stretch for the hip adductors, but the question is whether there is any way it could also stretch the hip flexors. Personally, I just don't see it. Here is what you might be feeling: The stretch in this picture is going to stretch the ligaments of the hip joint, such as the iliofemoral ligament. Here is a nice picture of the hip ligaments. These ligaments are part of a joint capsule. Now, the iliofemoral ligament is very close to the illiospoas (hip flexors). What you are feeling might not be a stretch of your hip flexors, but rather it may be a stretch of these hip ligaments. The two are so close together that you might not be able to tell the difference.

If you are stretching the hip joint capsule, as I suspect, be very careful. I danced for ten years and I did lots and lots of stretches like the one in that picture. Now, I have FAI (its easy to look up). FAI is fairly common among dancers and yoga teachers, and this kind of stretch is the reason why. I would recommend against this stretch.

  • Thanks a lot for the heads up. I won't do this exercise again.
    – Tyrell
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 9:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.