Stretching - Bow Step Hip Stretch

Bow Step Hip Stretch

Learn how to stretch your hips and your quadriceps with the bow step or lunge stretch. This exercise stretches the rectus femoris, the thin muscle that connects the hip with the knee on the front of the leg. The bow step hip stretch is often used to improve hip flexibility for the front splits. Find more stretching instructions and exercises at stretching main.


  • To stretch your right hip:
    Stand with your feet approximately 3 shoulder widths apart (left leg forward). Extend your right knee and keep your upper body upright or lean slightly back. If you lean forward your rectus femoris is not stretched.
  • Then lower your hip to increase the intensity of the stretch.
  • To make this stretch more intensive, you can turn your upper body to the left and/or grasp the thigh of your front leg like illustrated above. However, most people prefer to keep the upper body straight and put both hands on the thigh of the front leg or the waist.


  • Don't twist the back leg out. The knee of the black leg should be fully extended and point straight down.
  • Don't lean forward.
  • Do the bow step hip stretch before front split attempts.