As a physiotherapist, I get many of my patients to stretch their inner thighs more regularly. Whether they are coming to me with knee pain, hip pain, or just tightness in the inner thigh, most of these complaints can be linked back to the inner thigh due to its stabilizing effect on the leg. For most people who are exercising regularly, your inner thigh will become very tight due to the exercises themselves or from day-to-day activities such as sitting at a desk. This tightness can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort around the hip region and the knee. Thankfully, thigh stretches can help!
For most, spending 3 to 5-minutes every night stretching your inner thighs will be more than enough to loosen up these tight muscles and allow you to wake up feeling less tight and ready to tackle the day ahead. Here are my favorite static (hold the stretch) and dynamic (move through the stretch) thigh stretches.
Stretching Safety Tips
Before we get into the stretches, it’s important to point out that you’re aiming for a gentle pulling feeling in each stretch. The stretches should not be painful. If they do cause you to feel pain, you’ll need to modify the stretch. Take it nice and slow and build into these stretches more and more each day.
For this stretch, I want you to hold a side lunge for 40-seconds to 1-minute. Slowly sit deep and deeper into the stretch as you feel your inner thigh muscles start to loosen up.
For the first few reps, make sure not to step out too far when performing the side lunge. As your inner thighs warm up to the stretch, you can then start to step out wider.
Sitting in a butterfly pose with your feet touching each other and your knees flared out to the side, gently lean your torso forward until you feel a gentle pull through your inner thighs. The goal is to slowly work your knees closer and closer to the ground.
Go nice and slow with this stretch as it’s going to target your inner thighs like no other. Begin on all fours on your hands and knees and then flare your feet outwards wider than your knees. Next, slowly rock backward sitting on your heels and then forwards.
In a standing position, spread your feet out wide and then slowly lean your body to one side, completely straightening the leg you’re leaning towards. Hold this stretch for about 1-minute and then repeat on the opposite sides.
Next, perform a groin stretch by sitting on the floor. Extend your legs straight in front of you and then widen your legs as if you’re attempting to do the splits. Lean forward through both legs until you feel a gentle pull in your inner thigh muscles and hold this position.
Touching Your Toes
Begin standing up tall with your feet spread wide on the floor. Next, keeping your knees straight, slowly bend forward trying to reach the floor with your hands.
You should feel a gentle stretch in your inner thighs. If one side feels tighter than the other, bring both hands towards the foot of that side and hold the stretch for a bit longer.
For this stretch, grab a chair or stool and stand in front of it. Bring the leg that you want to stretch and place your heel on the edge of the chair or stool.
Slightly bend your knee (to offload your sciatic nerve) and then reach forward with your hands and try to touch your toes. Hold this position for 30 to 40-seconds.
The next three thigh exercises are dynamic stretches. This means they involve making active movements. It’s good to add dynamic stretches into the mix to help stretch the muscle to their full range of motion. Let’s explore these next!
One of my favorite ways to stretch tight muscles is by activating them. To do this with your inner thighs, take a lightweight, around 5 to 10-pounds, and perform a sumo squat.
By keeping the weight light and the repetition count high (around 15 to 20-reps) you allow your inner thighs to experience a great stretch as your body moves through the movement.
Whether you choose reverse lunges, forward lunges, or walking lunges, your groin is the major stabilizer during this exercise. Thereby, by completing a set of lunges and slowly working your way deeper and deeper into the movement, you will start to feel your inner thighs naturally start to become looser and open up.
Straight Leg Kicks
Whether you’re warming up for a run or trying to stretch your inner thighs, performing a set of 20 alternating straight leg kicks does wonders for improving the flexibility of your inner thighs.
Standing up straight holding onto a wall, swing your hips out wide and alternate legs after each rep. Slowly build into lifting your legs higher and higher each time to maximize the stretch felt in your inner thighs and hamstrings.