Quad and Hip Flexor Release – This ONE Technique Relieves Piriformis, Glute and Tailbone Pain, Pulled Hamstrings and Groin Pain

Recommended Tools:

Medium Density Foam Roller

What to expect using the above technique:

  1. Feeling more FREEDOM and space in your legs
  2. More efficient/better running, cycling, hiking, dancing, Oly lifting (etc)
  3. Reduced low back pain
  4. Freed up hamstrings
  5. Relief from piriformis /glute pain and inhibited glutes
  6. Relief from pulled or tight hip flexor muscles
  7. Relief from groin pain
  8. Relief from hip pain
  9. Less knee pain
  10. A freed up and more balanced PELVIS (which can lead to less mid back and neck pain and a more even walking or running gait, not to mention better DANCE MOVES! And who doesn’t want that!?)
  11. and MORE!

To get the MOST out of this technique PLEASE READ THE FULL POST (better results if you do!)

If there was ONE area of the body I would have everyone dedicate time to, regardless of issue and even if you don’t have ANY pain, it would be the quads.

You can probably guess why…

We are a HUGELY quad dominant society (in western culture). We sit at desks all day starting in 1st grade all the way through college and most jobs in America are desk jobs. All this sitting sets us up to have tight fascia in our quads no matter how active or inactive we are.

On top of that, most of our sports are quad dominant: soccer, football, gymnastics (that was me), cycling, dancing, running (unless you know how to run using your hamstrings and glutes, and if you do – congratulations!)

One of the MOST powerful tools in the fascia release arsenal: Knowing How to Release the Quads

When the fascia in our quads gets tight, dehydrated and sticks to itself in balls or “knots” (yep, that happens!) it can cause SO many isssues. The above list starts to cover it and here are a few more, broken down even more:

  • Tailbone, coccyx and SI pain
  • Sciatica and low back pain
  • Piriformis pain
  • Inhibited glute muscles and glute pain
  • Pulled and inhibited hamstrings
  • Pulled hip flexors and hip flexor pain
  • Hip pain (front and side)
  • Groin pain and pulled groin muscles
  • Knee pain
  • Tilted or uneven pelvis, which can result in:
  • Gait changes leading to ankle and foot issues, knee or hip pain and…
  • Shoulder and neck issues (ankles affect knees, knees affect hips, hips affect shoulders and vice versa)

If you’re experiencing restriction in your hamstrings, if you have pulled hamstrings, a pulled hip flexor muscle or hip flexors that feel tight through movements like running, start with Part I.

Here’s the scoop on WHY releasing this fascia will help these two things:

  1. If your quad fascia is too tight and knotted up, it can inhibit your hamstrings through something called reciprocal inhibition. Your quad tissue must be able to lengthen while your hamstrings contract. When the quads can’t lengthen because they’re too tight, it will usually be the hamstrings that pay the price and get your attention.
  2. If the middle top of your quad tissue has a giant ball of fascia stuck to itself, it will pull on everything above it, including all that hip flexor tissue (tendons and ligaments included). They can only engage in a tug-of-war so long, before getting your attention (pain).

If you have low back pain:

If you have low back pain of ANY kind, including sciatica, SI or tailbone pain, please note that this is NOT a full solution. Nor is this meant to be medical advice or used in a medical emergency! There are many factors involved in low back pain, and the quads are just one. I won’t be going into all the causes of low back pain in this post. Having said that, you may find you get a lot of relief with just this one technique, especially if you’re experiencing SI or tailbone pain.

While I talk about the upper quad or hip flexor fascia release addressing issues like SI and tailbone pain, the truth is ALL this quad fasica could cause those things. So if these are your issues, you definitely want to release ALL that quad fascia, from mid to high so do Parts I AND II, and start with Part I.

If you are in pain right now:

  • Make sure your low back doesn’t sink too far towards the floor, which can irritate it.
  • Use your abs to keep yourself parallel to the floor.
  • TEST both legs with your weight on the roller. If one side is more sore/tender/painful, do that one first.
  • If your back pain gets better, skip the other leg for now.
  • If your back pain gets worse, take a break and switch to the other leg to see if you get more relief from that side. If you do, stick to that leg for a few days.

Low back pain typically happens as a result of an imbalance left to right OR front to back in the thigh fascia; including the quads, but also adductors, IT Band and hamstrings (this technique ONLY addresses the quad fascia). When you correct the imbalance the pain usually goes away. So your job is to find the tighter leg and perform this technique on that one only, or that leg more. UNTIL you are balanced, and then you’ll want to do both legs (for maintenance).

How to get the most out of this technique:

  • The more weight you can put on the leg you’re targeting to release, the better the release will be…but keep in mind that if you’re new to foam rolling or new to doing it my way, you don’t want to bruise your tissue or do TOO much until you get used to this. So you might want to start with both legs on the roller.
  • Similarly, the harder the roller you choose, the more intense the stretch becomes. I chose a hard one for the demo. If you’re new to this, please use a softer one to start with.
  • Keep your foot flexed (plantar flexion, toes towards your shin) while moving through the different ranges of motion.
  • Remember: you’re attempting to PIN a piece of your fascial system to that roller with your body-weight, and then STRETCH it through movement. With that in mind, please make sure you’re not just rocking your hips on the roller, which won’t do much other than give your quad a nice massage (hey, feel free to do this after as a reward!)
  • Move around as much as you need to in order to find those KNOTS or balls of fascia; but once you find them, stay there! (30 seconds to a minute should be good). If you have ANY of the issues listed in this blog post, I can almost guarantee you have those knots. But it might take some hunting to find them. Your subconscious will want to avoid those spots and may try to hide them from you! If you’re flexing your quad muscles the whole time you probably won’t find them, so make sure your quads are relatively relaxed the whole time. Or…
  • Try my method of bypassing the subconscious, by flexing your quad muscles and then relaxing them. Often this reveals the lumps (when you relax). You can do this with a straight or bent leg. Why not TRY BOTH?
  • Remember to BREATHE!!!
  • Try this for 3-5 minutes per leg per day for a week. Unless you get sore, then back off.
  • If you find that one leg is more tender/painful than the other, do that leg MORE.

Give this a try and let me know how you feel after a few days or a week! A LOT of people get instant relief – tell me below in the comments if that’s YOU, let’s inspire others to get the pain relief they’re looking for :))

If you liked this post please “like” and share it!

  • Varsha says:

    I have so stiffness in my back, have some pain in tailbone mostly felt when i lie on my back.
    When i foam roll different muscles, it goes but after sometime all muscles like chest, ribs, uppr back, abdomen, around hip bones and around spine becomes tigther again, m facing difficulty passing bowels too. Also facing sometimes urine incontinence too..

    Could quads be the culprit?
    Already got released hams, psoas and abductors from physio.

    I also have my pelvis tilted to back on right side and right leg has become little shorter than left.

    Pls advise.. m not sure what direction i should move further.

  • Pam says:


  • Charlotte says:

    I’m suffering from a lot og pain, and it seems it is because of my fascia.
    I live in Denmark and there is not that big of a focus on fascia yet, and its quite new.
    I noticed that this er from 2015. I just wanna check if this is still your recommendation or if you have developed a new and even more efficient method?
    Hope to hear from you.
    Charlotte from Denmark

  • Thank you for this article! And thank you for mentioning the hamstrings and glutes being weak as being part of the problem. I always try to train clients’ posterior chain as a Pilates teacher. The hip extensors are too weak on most people! Much appreciated! Why, though, and what causes that hamstring Charlie horse in certain clients when performing a pelvic tilt in supine position? Is that because the iliopsoas isn’t performing properly? Or because of hamstring weakness? Curious.

  • Esther says:

    I have been reviewing all of the information on your website and I am convinced that you have found the core issue for most pain. I have tightness in my left neck and shoulder blade area (no pain) and it sometimes feels like something is pulling me down on the left side. I viewed this clip on quad release and tried it. My right quad was good but left quad had knots along my entire quad. I am beginning to think that this is contributing to the tightness on my left side.

    Amazing information! Thanks!

  • Kristen says:


    I have found your videos and blogs to be extremely helpful. I am one of those people that says they have “tried everything” to relieve my back pain but obviously that’s not the case because I never understood about fascia until now. I have recently been working with an Egoscue therapist and had very good success but then I plateaued and seemingly regressed. I am confident in the Egoscue theory and method but couldn’t understand why I wasn’t progressing. Now I believe I have the answer as my left leg from the knee up and left glute have many very sensitive areas. One question: I followed your video on the quads and have tried rolling 3 times now. There is a definite improvement in my back although it is torture trying to get through a session. One thing I noticed is that when I get about halfway down my thigh (about 6 inches from knee) there is a definite nerve engagement and my lower leg and foot get pins and needles. Is this normal and should I continue? There is a knot there that I feel like I want to work on but any significant pressure on the roller in this area (middle of front of thigh) causes this sensation almost immediately. As I mentioned I am definitely feeling progress toward my back but do not want to injure any nerves. I have both a high density roller and a softer one and both give the same effect. Thanks for all you do – and the time you put into making your videos- I have watched quite a few of them and they have motivated me to continue on my path toward healing and living!

  • Cheryl says:

    Thanks so much for this video. I am buying a foam roller, and trying your techniques. Have so much pain and inflammation, and doctors, chiropractors, have not been able to help. I pray this does, and will let you know. Thanks again. I have never heard of facsia until today, and I’m 74 years old, almost immobile. I miss walking and being able to get out and hike, and enjoy God’s beautiful creation.

  • Biki says:

    Hi Elisha,

    I am suffering from pain in my right knee and right hip (also Psoas is very tight on the right side I guess) and this just started a few months ago, out of nowhere!
    Do you have any tips to get a release?
    regards, Biki

  • Bojan says:

    Hello, Elisha, I’m glad I found this page. I have back pain, which I think are from cycling and sitting (desk job). I need to test this technique only on one side
    Sincerely yours, from Bojana (Slovenia EU)

    • Hi Bojan, I’m glad you found me too! Let me know how you feel after tryin the technique!

      • Bojan says:

        First, I need to buy a softer roller. My is too hard and not smooth. And I need to find a “worse leg”. I do not know exactly which one is; I only have more pressure and the painful muscles on my right leg (maybe I find it even stronger). Otherwise, I have an initial discs degenrtaion in the lumbar region, but it seems to me that I also have a muscular imbalance. I’m 54 years old.

  • Bonny McKendrick says:

    You caution not to have your quads flexed while rolling the hip flexor. How does one stop the quad involvement?
    Thank you!

    • Hey Bonny – What I mean by don’t “flex” is don’t contract your quad muscles, try to keep them relaxed. Think about making a relaxed fist. You can then squeeze your fist, but you can make the shape without squeezing your muscles tight. Hope that helps! – Elisha

  • TJ says:

    These are great. How many times per day would you suggest doing these? Right now I’m doing them 2-3 times per day for 2-3 minutes…

    • Stefan Cox says:

      Hi TJ,

      Yeah I would say that’s plenty. Eventually when your fascia gets a little more optimized you shouldn’t have to do it as often.
      Thanks for the feedback!


  • Dan says:

    So glad I stumbled across your website! I’ve had pain in my glutes, hips & lower back for ten years which has progressively got worse & more often. Being an active person, it’s really held me back in my sports the past few years. I’ve tried expensive physio, dry needling & every stretch going, all targeting my glutes, hamstrings & hip flexors. Stretching my glutes would often result in worse pain the next few days. I’ve tried your advice & after only two sessions of foam rolling my quads…ouch!…I feel more pain free & looser than I have for years. Thank you for sharing this Elisha!!

  • Marie says:

    I rotated my SI joint and it became an exterior pelvic tilt. Are there any other areas that should be stretched/released to correct the tilt, or just lengthening these muscle groups, is all it really needs? I also do squats, as I know that helps the whole area as well.

  • Jesse Sidwell says:

    can tight abductors cause groin pain and if so what can i do in order to fix this..thank you

  • michael says:

    Question: I have been working with physical therapist for months but recently I am getting increased tightness from hip through my lower legs into my foot causing severe pain at top of heel especially when I push off. Most the tightness in the leg is outside edge of leg and when I use a lacrosse ball in the hip especially the top of hip seems to provided temporary relief to the hip and lower legs and even my foot pain. Hip flexors are tight and tender but have improved after different PT noticed left hip overotating along with right hip but left hip was more severe. I noticed some improvement after she did some adjustment to my hips but still an issue.

    It sounds like it either hip or pelvic related

    Any suggestions?

  • Alanna says:

    In absolute agony with my side of my quad and hip flexor – will be trying this tonight!

  • Joe Pugh says:

    Just came across your video. My right quad is sore just to touch so getting on the foam roller was very intense and I was not able to apply full pressure. I have been rolling my glutes for some time because they are also very painful. I had a L5 S1 spinal fusion in November of 2014 and haven’t been able to get back to full activity because of periodic set backs. I consider myself fairly athletic and have been trying to start cycling again but it is causing me knee pain. When I try to touch my toes I can only get to about ten inches off the floor and feel the burn in my hamstrings so I have been focusing on stretching.. I have almost constant pain in my gluteus medius on my right side. I am hoping by focusing on quads I can finally get back to normal.

    • Good luck Joe, and keep me posted! The quads are definitely your best bet right now for relief!

  • johan says:

    Greetings from sweden!

    Incredible!!!!! I tried it but only for 1 minute because i was late for work and I only did it on my right side that is stiff but the left side of the hip and lowback is the hurting side. Im a right handed tabletennis player and really been struggling with hip and lowback issues especially during training and competition during the last year. Today I finished practice with no pain at all and a new freedom of movement i thought I have lost to different injuries!!!!

    In 1 minute I made more progress than over 3 month of different PT:s, stretching and foamrolling both sides (as i have been instructed to do) and Deep tissue masssage of the glutes wich made me feel like hell a few days after .

    I followed your advise to not touch the glutes and only did my right quad and BAAM did it work.

    Thank you, thank you!!!!!

    Forever greatful!

    • Hi Johan – YAY!!! You may be one of the few who actually read the post and followed my advice to ONLY do the more restricted side and NOT touch the glutes! Your results are a testament to the theory, so I thank you for sharing with me and anyone else who may read your comment and be inspired to try something different. Hope you continue to feel pain free and enjoy your table tennis! Elisha

  • Matt Garcia says:

    I’m so glad I came across this post. I’ve been dealing with a hip flexor issue for a few years now and it just so happens I bought a foam roller just a few minutes ago. Time to put it to use!

  • Karen from Kansas says:

    I am a runner. I have had high hamstring issues for 2 years – nonstop. And issues with IT band, knees, and hip (tailbone, big toe…I could go on) periodically. I did this quad release and it’s the best I’ve felt in months! Thank you!

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Elisha,
    I’ve used this quad/hip flexor release with much success, thank you so much for your videos and tips, I really do love them! I recently had knee surgery (2 months ago–MCL and PCL reconstruction) and was in a straight-leg locked brace for 6 weeks, just starting PT and range of motion exercises, and also walking and moving more (leg braced). The consequence: a very sore lower back and hips due to uneven gait and difficulty getting up and down. Because of the surgery and brace, I cannot get down on the ground to foam roll. Do you have any suggestions for fascia release in a seated position? Much appreciated! 🙂

    • Hi Lisa – I don’t have anything easy to point you towards online (no video or post of mine covers this). However I do believe I can help you via Skype. Here’s a link for more info if you’re interested in that: http://www.mobilitymastery.com/skype-sessions

      We could cover a lot of territory in 30 minutes as far as what to do for the best possible recovery, to ensure you return to a balanced gait pattern and modifying techniques to fit your current situation.
      Good luck with the post-surgery recovery whichever route you go 🙂

  • George says:

    Hello, I currently suffer from some serious quad pain. I have difficulty running for longer then about a couple before feeling pain in the quads. It hurts climbing upstairs, running, playing any phisycal acitivity, even push-ups, and doing abs can hurt. So idk what to do? just keep massaging it out as mentioned above? No sport is fun for me anymore. Seems like my quads just want to contract and not release.

    • Hi George – it sounds to me like your quads are working for one or possibly many other muscles and are totally fatigued, though it could certainly be something else entirely and possible not fascia related. It’s difficult to suggest anything specific for you without knowing a lot more. This is a scenario that would require a Skype session with me for me to really help you. Here’s a link for more info: http://www.mobilitymastery.com/skype-sessions

  • mark says:

    Being an athlete all my life and having endured multiple knee surgeries due to blowing out ACL’s in both knees, I later started to develop a hip issue in my right hip due to the years of wear and tear.
    These days I’m stronger and faster than ever and still competing in sports.
    This site fb.me/7iW9sE50u/#/_EXERCISES_FOR_HIP_FLEXORS/ gave me the ability to perform at my highest level as a coach and regain the athletic ability I had lost over the years from wear and tear (Y)

  • Paul says:

    Elisha, I suffer from PF and tight everything. My question is simply what size foam roller(s) are you using? Does it matter? Thanks for the tips!

  • Eliza says:

    Hi Elisha!
    I’m loving these stretches/releases you are sharing! Do you have anything that could help release tight glutes?

    • Hi Eliza – I will be posting probably several episodes of my new Mobility Mastery Monday YouTube video and blog post on glutes. It’s one of the most commonly asked questions I get, and I always hesitate to just give you a glute release technique. MOST of the time glutes that FEEL tight and/or are involved in low back pain, piriformis pain etc, are NOT the problem and stretching/releasing them will make the situation worse. SOMETIMES…they are genuinely tight and need to be released.

      So to answer your questions, yes I will be addressing this but not until I feel confident that people won’t just run with the glute release and end up in more pain.

      To help you out now I would need to know if you have glute pain, if you THINK you have tight glutes but they don’t feel tight to you, or if they just feel tight but you have no history of glute pain, SI pain, low back or hip pain. If you have pain anywhere I mention I would recommend using the quad/hip flexor release as suggested in the blog post first, along with the IT band and hamstring release if you have time. If you don’t get relief using those techniques, it could be the adductors (inner thighs), but I don’t have that out yet. It’s coming in a few weeks!

  • Jason says:

    Great stuff Elisha. Tried this earlier then went for a run. Felt much better.

    This one spoke directly to me. I always have right leg HF and high hamstring issues. I felt strong during today’s run and hit the roller again after.

    Stay amazing my friend.

    • Great to hear Jason!! I’d love to get an update on the high hamstring issue after a couple weeks of doing this technique. Happy running!

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