What muscle do most people need to stretch?

Wendy Batts

If there is one muscle group out there that tends to be tight for a lot of folks, it’s the hip flexors. These are the muscles that bring your knees toward your chest. The tightness is often felt at the front of the hips. These become tight because we just plain sit a lot nowadays. The problem with them being tight is they become overactive and can negatively impact the knees and low back particularly. Here is a stretch you can try any time.

A hip flexor static stretch:

a. take one step forward
b. point the back foot’s toes at the forward foot’s heel (i.e. point it inward)
c. squeeze your butt so that your low back flattens and rounds a bit (pretending you are a scared dog with its tail between its legs helps and just plain feels silly to boot)
d. keep the abs tight and bend the forward knee until you feel a stretch at the front of the hip on the same side as the back foot
e. hold this position for 20-30 seconds and remember to breathe!

Try it at work whenever you find yourself sitting for a longer period of time at your desk, after a long drive, or after any prolonged sitting.

Dr. Mike Clark, DPT
One muscle that most people should be stretching on a regular basis is actually a group of muscles known as the hip flexors. The hip flexors are responsible for lifting the thighs closer to the abdomen – such as when we’re in a seated position. Due to the extended periods of time most of us spend sitting, the hip flexors tend to become physically shorter in length and tighten up over time. Tight hip flexors can lead to a number of problems including, but not limited to, changes to our posture, increased stress and potential injury to the lower back; as well as preventing the butt and ab muscles from working optimally – potentially decreasing the results of an exercise program. Watch the video below to view how to stretch this commonly overactive muscle. Stretch daily if possible, performing the stretch on each side of the body 1-3 times and holding each repetition for at least 30 seconds.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
The muscles that most people need to stretch are whatever muscles they used most in their workouts.  Now, that said and we believe that, no randomized controlled trial (the gold standard in medicine) demonstrates fewer injuries in people who stretch versus those who do not. Never mind data—we all believe in stretching to foster flexibility. Since your legs and back do most of the grunt work, so stretching your quads, hamstring, calves, upper back and shoulders, and lower back and hips is a good idea.  Just remember it’s never a good idea to stretch a cold muscle.  Always warm up for at least 5 to 10 minutes before stretching.
The muscle most people need to stretch is the calf muscle. Due to wearing shoes with elevated heels and being seated for long periods, this muscles tends to be shortened on a considerable portion of the population. When calves become tight, they limit movement at the ankle. The joint will find another route to take, and this can be manifested in the feet turning out or rolling inward and collapsing the arch. Look at people stand and walk. Which direction do their feet point? While it is common for feet to turn out, it is not normal. Stretching this muscle can help to increase the range of motion at the ankle and alleviate many of these problems.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.