Why are My Hip Flexors Always so Tight and Aching while Running?

Have these words ever come out of your mouth before?

"Man, My hip flexors are so tight!

(..at least, I think it's my hip flexors.)

At this point, you probably hop on Google, search "hip flexor stretches", find a couple, and stretch away.

It feels pretty good and seems to the hit the spot.

So you continue on with your day.

The same tightness comes back tomorrow, next week, and then settles in to stay as you start a training program with more speed work and higher mileage.

Maybe at this point you've already added those hip flexors stretches into your warm up AND your cool down.

But something isn't sticking.

Because the tightness, soreness, aching keeps coming back.

And now, it's starting to creep into your longer runs.

You find your hips are feeling achy and tight mid workout.

What gives??

*knock, knock!*

This is usually a sign your body is trying to tell you something!

But are you listening?

I hear you all (and see you in the clinic) with this exact story.

Want to put an end to constantly tight hip flexors?

Are you ready to finally get some answers?

Stick around for this 3 week series on tight hip flexors and how to fix them…all by daring to train differently (duh).

You ready?

Let's dive in!

What are your hip flexors? And WHERE are they?

Quick facts:

  • Our bodies are deliberately made with redundancies, fail-safes.

  • There are 5 hip flexor muscles groups.

  • We're talking about 2 of the heaviest lifters.

  • Meet: Iliopsoas (a group of 3 individual muscles)

  • Quadriceps (a group of individual muscles)

The reasons for our focus on these 2 groups? Take a look at these pictures.

Left Image: liopsoas ( a complex of 3 muscles) // O: T12, L1-L5, iliac fossa // I: lesser trochanter of the femur. Right Image: Quadriceps // O: AIIS + anterior femur // I: tibial tuberosity via patellar ligament

Did you notice how the Iliopsoas actually starts at the back bone attached to your lowest rib? And, it plugs into your upper leg bone? That muscle group covers a LOT of ground and starts far back in your body and comes a little closer to the surface. But there are still a lot of organs sitting on top it.

And those quads, they start on your hip bones and plug in right below your knee cap.