Stretching the Hip Flexors
Hip Flexors and Lack of Flexibility
Tight hip flexors are one of the hottest topics in our classes. So we are putting together a blog series on hip flexors. It’s no surprise that tightness in your hip flexors may be from lack of flexibility. Tight hip flexors can also be a weak core and lack of spinal stability or underdeveloped hamstrings and glutes. Today we are just going to focus on lack of flexibility in the hip flexors.
Here is a cool chart of the muscles involved in the hip girdle.
Your hip flexors attach to your spine and into your legs. Meaning the are highly important and involved at the largest joints in the body, the hips. They tied in closely to the activation of the core muscles, leg muscles and gluteus group. Here is a little animation on this area.
Why do you have tight hip flexors?
1. Sitting at a desk
Sitting all day keeps our hips locked in a flexed position. (Try to walk around or move from your desk every hour and add yoga or stretching into your weekly workout routine).
Our favorite cardio activities make us tight, examples are running, cycling, hiking, and skiing, just to name a few. Stretch after you do your workout. I know it sounds better to get a beer, but give your body a reward with stretching after then go get a beer.
When we lift we are often flexing at the hip joint and loading the hip flexors in compound movements. Squats, snatches, lunges can all create strong legs and tight hip flexors. On lifting days I take at least twenty minutes after a workout to stretch.
Three Great Hip Flexor Stretches you should be doing.
Yes, the photos involve restorative aerial yoga, but you can do all these stretches without a hammock. The hammock is about 10 to 12 inches off the ground. You can do these stretches on the floor without the hammock too.
Place one leg into the fabric with the foot popped out and the fabric over the knee into the lower thigh. Keep the hips and knees in alignment and gently walk the floating leg out wide. Hang out for at least 30 seconds. You can place the forearms on the floor for a deeper release.
Come to a reverse ankle trap with the back knee resting on the floor (double up the padding). Keep the front knee over the ankle at 90 degrees. Think about squaring the hips to the front of the mat and releasing the hip flexors down toward the mat. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
Listen to your body on this one! Touching your head to the floor is not the goal, stretching the hip flexors and quads is the point. Only go back to where you feel mild discomfort not pain! Keep the knees in alignment with the hips and using the hammock slowly lower back to where you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. This is a very intense stretch, be body aware.