The Best Groin Stretches to Ease Tight Muscles and Increase Flexibility

Sink into these expert-recommended groin stretches for instant relief.

Photo: Inti St Clair/Getty Images

Hear the word "vulnerable" and you might think about a situation in which you're emotionally defenseless, such as telling someone you're into them or coming clean after you're caught in a lie. But apply the term to parts of the body and one answer will come to mind: your groin muscles.

Yep, the groin muscles are one of the most injury-prone regions in the body, according to Grayson Wickham, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., founder of Movement Vault. And ignoring groin stretches can keep them vulnerable, potentially leading to pain, discomfort, muscle tightness, and even injury.

So, in the interest of keeping your groin as safe as possible, here's a crash course on the under-acknowledged muscle group. Keep scrolling to learn why it's so vulnerable, how to protect it, and the best groin stretches to add to your exercise regimen.

What Is the Groin, Exactly?

The groin is the general term for the spot where the legs connect to the pelvis. The muscles that make up the groin include the hip adductors (inner thigh), the hip flexors (front of thigh), and the hip extensors (back of thigh, hamstrings, and glutes) to some degree, explains Erin Abell, D.P.T., a physical therapist with Pure Barre. In addition to helping you move and groove safely, your groin also plays a crucial role in keeping your knees, back, ankles, and core stable and healthy, she says.

TBH, Your Groin Is Probably Tight

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unless you're a professional dancer or yoga instructor, odds are your groin muscles are tight AF. "Your body adjusts to the positions that you spend the most time in, and most people sit for 10, 12, 14 hours a day," explains Wickham. Unless you're always sitting criss-cross applesauce, "all that sitting puts all your groin muscles in a shortened position," he adds. And a shortened position = tight.

This tightness is exacerbated by the fact that, more often than not, most exercise routines have you only moving in the frontal plane (aka forward and back), says Wickham. Runners, cyclists, walkers, and even CrossFitters almost never work their muscles through the transverse plane of motion (aka side to side). The result is even more tightness in the hips and groin, he says. (

In addition, lifestyle factors, such as dehydration, chronic stress, and poor sleep quality and quantity, can lead to increased muscle tightness, says Abell. If you've suffered from one of those (and honestly, who hasn't?), you'll definitely want to prioritize groin stretches.

Benefits of Adding Groin Stretches to Your Routine

To put it bluntly: Tight muscles hurt. But working to improve your groin mobility can actually lessen pain and discomfort over time, according to Abell. Increased mobility in the region can also decrease the risk of groin-related muscle injuries (e.g. a strain), she says. In other words, making time for groin stretches could ward off future pain.

Oh, and remember the childhood song that goes, "the hip bone's connected to the knee bone?" It's apt in this context, says Abell. "The jingle describes the fact that one joint's health is dependent upon the health of joints that are nearest to it," she explains. It's a concept known as regional interdependence in the world of physical therapy. Put simply, it means that "optimizing flexibility, strength, and coordination of the groin region can also help to protect your back, knees, ankles, and feet during daily activities," she says.

Beyond just lessening pain and reducing injury risk, improved groin mobility (thanks to groin stretches!) can improve athletic performance — especially in sports that require lateral movements such as soccer, martial arts, rugby, rock climbing, and yoga, says Meghan Braun, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., owner of Body Mechanics Physical Therapy in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Best Groin Stretches for Mobility

To be very clear: Yes, it's possible to increase groin mobility. It's a slow process, but "consistently stretching and strengthening the groin muscles will help you increase and maintain groin mobility, and reduce risk of a groin injury," says Braun.

Wondering how to stretch your groin, exactly? Wonder no longer! Below, six groin stretches physical therapists recommend to improve mobility and reduce the risk of injury.

Groin Stretches-01
Yeji Kim


This classic hamstring stretch is also perfect for loosening your groin. Do it regularly (read: every single day) and "you'll begin to notice that you can work a bit lower into the position and open your legs into a wider straddle without bending your knees," says Abell.

A. Start sitting on the floor with legs straight and in a straddle position, knees pointed at the ceiling, feet flexed. Brace midline then hinge at hips and gently walk hands forward.

B. Lower chest to the floor as low as possible, without rounding lower or upper back.

C. Hold for 30 seconds, then try to sink a little lower with every exhale. Repeat 3 times before walking hands back to start.


Known as Mandukasana in yoga, frog stretch is a hip-opening groin stretch you'll definitely feel — trust. Because this move can be uncomfortable when performed on hard surfaces, try padding your knee joints with two folded towels or ab mats, suggests Wickham.

A. Start on all fours, knees stacked under hips, wrists under shoulders. Maintaining a 90-degree bend in each knee, slowly slide knees outward as far as possible. Shift to forearms or keep hands planted, whichever is more comfortable.

B. Get as low as you can, then contract adductor muscles (inner thighs) as hard as possible for 10 seconds. Relax, breathe deeply, and lower more if you can.

C. Repeat for 10 total reps of 10-second contractions before returning to start.


Sure, this may have been your fave way to sit in kindergarten, but decades later it's not a casual position, it's a groin stretch — and a good one. "Repeat this daily and gradually [and] as your hips become more mobile, you will notice that you can lower your knees closer to the ground," says Abell.

A. Start sitting on the floor, soles of feet pressed together. Brace core, keep chest puffed out, and draw shoulders down and back while allowing knees to fall open. To increase the intensity, move feet closer to groin.

B. Hold here for 30 seconds, focusing on taking long, slow deep breaths. Rest for 30 seconds then repeat 2 more times.

Fire Hydrant

Named because you'll look like a dog taking a leak when you do it, the fire hydrant is good at stretching your glutes, groin, and hamstrings, says Wickham. It also strengthens your abductors — the muscles on the outsides of your hip and glutes — which will help counteract any inner-thigh or groin tightness.

A. Start on all fours. Draw belly button up towards spine to activate core.

B. Lift right leg up to the side, keeping back flat and torso tight. Maintain a 90-degree bend in right knee.

C. Lift as high as possible without dumping all the weight into left leg, ideally to hip height.

D. At the top, flex glutes and abductors for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat for 3 reps before bringing right leg down.

E. Switch sides; repeat.

Cossack Squat

With or without weight, the cossack squat can help strengthen your quads, glutes, hip flexors, and core. But that's not all this multitasker does: "The cossack squat also offers a solid groin stretch," says Wickham.

A. Stand with feet hips-width apart, then take a giant step out to the left. Keeping chest puffed out, simultaneously bend left knee and shift weight into the left side.

B. Carefully lower as far as possible. Shift weight from right foot to right heel, lifting toes toward the ceiling.

C. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch sides; repeat. Continue alternating for 8 reps.

Straddle Squat

If the cossack squat was a challenging groin stretch for your body, you can continue to practice that version or use a brace to help with the straddle squat. As shown in the illustration above, you can place dip bars, a chair, or another kind of brace in front of you to make this squat variation slightly easier.

A. Stand with feet a few inches wider than hips-width apart, toes pointed out at about 15 degrees. Brace midline, then press hips back and bend knees while keeping chest as vertical as possible.

B. Continue lowering until stretch is felt or until knees are bent to 90 degrees, whichever comes first.

C. Contract glute muscles, hold for 30 seconds. Release, try to sink a little lower. Repeat 2 more reps.

What If Your Groin Is Already Strained or Pulled?

First things first, if you're experiencing pain in your groin region, visit a physical therapist or doctor ASAP. If you can pinpoint when the injury occurred — for instance, maybe you felt something pull when you were playing soccer or noticed a little discomfort when you were squatting — seek out a physical therapist because you may have a strain, advises Braun.

However, if you have no idea when the potential injury may have occurred, go to your primary health physician instead, recommends Braun. "A hernia, bladder infection, and issue during pregnancy often cause a very similar sensation in the groin as a strain," she explains. "You want to rule [out] one of these health complications first."

Here's why it's important to get checked out: If your groin is strained, you actually don't want to do any of the above groin stretches. "A groin strain occurs when the muscles get overstretched," explains Braun. Continuing to stretch an already over-stretched muscle is only going to make the strain worse, she says. So, if you have a pulled or strained groin, these stretches aren't the answer.

While a physical therapist can put together a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs, you can also try some dynamic stretches and, if possible, ice the groin for 15 to 20 minutes every two to three hours within the first 48 hours of the injury onset, suggests Braun. Over-the-counter painkillers can also be used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. (But be sure to follow instructions on the label and talk to your doc before taking anything new.)

The good news is that a mild groin injury usually heals within six weeks with dynamic stretching, ice, and rest, says Braun. And once it's healed? These groin stretches will be here waiting for you.

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