Is Stretching BAD for Hip Impingement? (Explained)

 By  Shane Dowd , CES, CMP

Struggling with hip impingement?

Wondering if stretching is your friend or foe?  

Well, today, we're diving deep into the world of stretching for hip impingement. 

And the truth is…NOT black or white!


Understanding Hip Impingement

Hip impingement occurs when the hip joint and socket abnormally interact. 

The real question is whether stretching can alleviate or exacerbate this condition.

Recent research (and my practical experience) shows that stretching and hip impingement can yield mixed results. While some studies suggest that regular stretching can reduce symptoms, others indicate it may even make them worse. 

Ultimately, every person is different — so what works for one person may not work for another.

That said, as someone who has hip impingement and has worked with thousands of people with hip impingement, I’ve learned 4 keys to stretching that may help you.


Stretching for Hip Impingement: The Right Approach 

Key #1 is: before we even think about stretching, let's think "massage." 

AKA, you must roll out that trusty foam roller or self-massage implement. 

The reason is that self-massage before stretching usually makes things feel better. Here's 1 example of how to do it correctly for a commonly tight muscle: the quads (see above).

Key #2 is: Mindfulness is Money. 

On my journey out of hip impingement, I sometimes stretched mindfully and sometimes unmindfully. 

The difference between the two became radically apparent when I started stretching while on long 10, 20, 30, and 45-day meditation retreats.

When I was stretching on these longer mindfulness retreats, the quality and effectiveness of my stretching increased 2 or 3 fold. You can get similar benefits in your day-to-day life by simply slowing down, tuning, and stretching mindfully. 

That means turning off the TV and distractions and paying attention. Your body will thank you for it!

Key #3: Don't be fooled by the 'deeper is better' myth. 

Sometimes, less is more when it comes to stretching.

Even though the bendy Yoga girls make it SEEM like deeper is better, that's not necessarily the truth when it comes to hip impingement.

Deeper will NOT necessarily make you feel better.

I got to a place with my hip impingement where, despite my bad bone shapes and labral tears, I could get into the full front, side, and pancake splits. 

BUT, I didn’t feel that much better!

I felt fine. But not optimal.

I realized that I didn’t need that much range of motion for optimal health or to do the sports or activities that I love, like frisbee, running, and lifting weights. 

Each of those activities has a moderate range of motion demand. So, in my case, more range was not better, and “deeper into the stretch was not necessary.”

Key #4 is: Build strength at every length. 

What I mean by this is to build strength in your entire range of motion.

Don’t think of stretching as only “relax and turn off your muscles.” Stretching is 1 part letting go and 1 part building strength!

That’s why when you see me dropping into the splits, suspended between 2 chairs, you see a relaxation component and a huge strength component.  

This applies not just to circus tricks like the Van Damme splits but also to ALL stretches.

Watch the video at the top fo  for a quick demo of how you can build strength at every length:

Of course, you don't need to go as far as I did to feel better. It's just to show you what's possible, even with hip impingement.

SUMMARY: Stretching for Hip Impingement

  • Avoid these pitfalls to stay on the safe side.
  • Skipping tissue work? That's a big no-no. 
  • Mindless stretching is a risky business. If your mind isn't engaged, your hip may suffer. 
  • Going too deep in your stretches can lead to more harm than good. Aim for comfortable stretches, not deep stretches. 

How To Help Your Hips Now: The TSR Method

What about you? Have you made any of these mistakes? If you need help with your hips, check out our at-home “healthy hips” program we call The FAI Fix.

If you need more personalized, 1-on-1 attention, apply for our VIP mentorship program, where you’ll work directly with a trained hip specialist to solve your problems.

And, as always, please remember you’re just 1 step away from building or rebuilding your perfect body.





About The Author

Shane Dowd, CES, CMP, is the owner/founder of He is also a sports performance & mobility coach specializing in injury prevention and flexibility for athletes.



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