Troublesome tight hip flexors

I suffer with tight hip flexors which seems to be exacerbated by longer sweet spot and threshold intervals on the smart trainer. I’ve had a bike fit and practice yoga a few times a week. Does anyone else suffer with this? Any suggestions on how to alleviate this?

Stand and walk more while working, since you probably have a desk job. Stand up on the bike periodically.

Do glute (especially medius from my experience) and hamstring exercises. Squats, lunges, hip hinges, glute bridges (body weight only will be beneficial).

Stretches that help me are standing pull one foots heel to you butt and focus on squeezing glutes while rotating pelvis up (so you are sucking in bellybutton and feel the stretch from quad to lower abdomen), similarly kneel on one knee with other over toe in front of you (lunge) while squeezing glute of straight leg and tilting pelvis (don’t focus on other knee pushing forward over toe…focus on the butt squeeze and the pelvis rotation…you’ll feel the stretch). Clamshells and lateral movements have helped , too, and balance board.

Don’t let this tight hip flexor, slack hamstring get out of control. I thought I was throwing my lower back out for years, and when I started biking again, I had some crippling (like stand up from bed in the a.m. and drop to my knees in pain), until a masseuse started to talk to me about psoas and hip flexors (my chiropractor never led me down that path, but referred me to massage).


This is a constant problem for me (middle aged male). I would say that when I’ve been disciplined enough to follow the strengthening exercises prescribed for weeks and weeks it gets slightly better, but I’m not often disciplined.
At first I thought I was struggling with tight hamstrings, which is true but not as a cause of my problems. My hamstrings are tight (as far as I can tell) because my hip flexors and psoas are yanking my pelvis into anterior rotation all the time.
My PT basically told me I had weak glutes and crazy tight hip flexors/ psoas. I was told to strengthen my glutes and stretch my quads, not my hamstrings as they are not tight they are at extension all the time. And then I’ve noticed that using some pressure on my abdomen can help release my psoas which I think is almost always about to freak out and “throw my back out”.
Not sure how much my blathering will help but I’ve been chasing my “lower back” issue for a while now and I think it’s mostly tight hip/core stuff messing with my hip alignment constantly.

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Look into kneeovertoes guy or atg program. I started down this journey about 14 monthes ago due to knee and hip flixors issues. Cant say enought about the atg program. I have virtually zero knee hip or back pain anynore

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I was told Cobra Pose, planking, reverse crunches, ‘clams’, pigeon pose, and sitting with one leg over the other and pulled as far to the butt as possible and leaning forward while turning into the bent leg (don’t know what that’s called).

There are hundreds of videos on the YT that could help you. Consistency is important, and if you are as bad as I was years ago, expect a few months of religiously doing your stretches before things start to settle down. Then keep at those stretches afterwards. You can get beyond this, and will likely know when you are drifting back into it again in the future. Good luck!

Oh, I have minor scoliosis and that just helps ignite those hip flexors over time. Yikes…

I struggled this year with a lot of tightness and couldnt get it to go away. I went to physio…things did get better but were not fixed…had some xrays which showed nothing…went to sports med doctor who identified it was my sartorius muscle that needed to be stretched. Once identified it has responded fairly well to the exercises provided.

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Doing the dynamic cyclist stretching routine for a few months really helped with my tight hip flexor. Give a try.


Excellent tips posted above!

I suffered from tight hips for about a year and it started to really cause pain in my knees.

I started doing weighted squats, pistol squats, glute bridges and followed this 18 min yoga routine twice a week:

I haven’t had any pain since!


OMG! I can’t do that first stretch just on the video before watching. Wow…

I'm a mess

It took me a few weeks before I was able to fully do all of them without modification

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I know this is important. It’s interesting that in some areas I am really flexible, and in others, tight as a drum. (A physical therapist was blown away that I can stand up and touch my toes. ‘It’s easy!’, but apparently not for most of the people they see)

Lots of good feedback above. Some things I’ll add:

Core work, core work, core work.

I like DEEP, ass-to-the-ground squats (or as low as you can go before you start losing form and rounding your back) with low weight. Big help for mobility and core if you remember to keep your core activated and execute with good form. Do them body weight first, add in low weight holding a dumbell or kettleball, graduate to a bar if needed as ability to handle heavier weight goes up (you may never need to)

FLUTTER KICKS are awesome for hip flexors. Add in 3 sets of 30s with every workout. I do those plus 3x1min front planks.

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I haven’t read this entire thread, but:

  1. I struggle with tight hip flexors
  2. Do a good “couch” stretch before you get on the bike. More importantly, do a good one on each leg immediately after each ride.

100% solved my problem. Takes 2 minutes a day.

Same here. It seems to be only affected by trainer riding and I haven’t been able to get to the bottom of it.
I’ve just got a rocker plate and hopefully that will alleviate the discomfort a bit. :crossed_fingers:

can you describe the couch stretch?
is it the one where you bend one knee and the other foot is planted?

I’ve dealt with sacroiliac joint dysfunction for the past ~20 years, mostly caused by a lack of glute activation and extremely tight psoas/hip flexors. I have it mostly under control now but every now and then it will lapse back into agony and it’s normally because I’ve been neglecting doing the off-bike maintenance. Here are some things that have helped me:

  • Yoga, but you really need to pay attention to what kind of yoga you’re doing. A lot of yoga emphasizes forward folding because it’s relaxing but as cyclists what we really want to be doing is stretching out the fronts of our bodies and not making our hamstrings even more flexy and weak. Relatedly, by changing the way your hips are oriented with a posterior or anterior tilt during certain stretches (couch stretch, lizard lunge, yoga-type lunges) will put more emphasis on stretching your quads or hip flexors/psoas
  • Pilates really helps get into your lower abs and your glutes, which want to be able to activate to take pressure off constantly using your quads. It’s really low impact and it looks deceptively easy but you will feel it and it really works
  • If you’re not into trying pilates, one-leg straight-leg deadlifts and monster walks and clamshells are great
  • After a ride I’ll often just lie flat on my back with my sacrum (tailbone) on a yoga block (you can use a big book or even a folded up blanket or something - you just want to elevate your hips a bit) and posteriorly tilt my hips (so you feel like you’re pressing the natural curve of your lower back DOWN and rotating your hip points UP). Then I pull one knee into my chest and really try to relax the straight leg for about a minute and switch. This lets gravity do the work of stretching out your psoas/hip flexors
  • This post is already long enough but while we’re talking about stretching it sometimes helps to stretch your lats and pecs too from all the hunching. Everything in your body is connected so sometimes tight shoulders will exacerbate your hip problems
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After a year of riding exclusively indoors, I went on a 90 minute group ride outside, and my triceps (At least I think it was them) cramped up hard. I was in so much pain I could hardly finish the ride. It was excruciating. I tried stretching in the bike, and it just wasn’t going well. After, I started using some free weights, stretching, and working on my arms and shoulders, and the next time it was pain free. I was surprised at how painful the whole thing was. I just couldn’t seem to get them to relax in any position. Maybe it was steering, the jostling, the slightly different position, but YOW!!!


I would google it and or watch and example (from a chiro or physio) on YouTube. It’s kind of difficult to describe

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This was the one stretch that quickly worked for my tight saratorius muscle. Definitely worth doing.

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