As I’ve said many other times, the hip flexor is an area that has become more and more susceptible to tightness due to modern habits. A lot of people sit in a chair for 8 hours a day, and often a chair that does not allow you to keep good posture all day either. The result of this is that your hip flexors will become tighter and be at risk for a strain unless you perform stretches. Now ideally you should be performing these stretches every day for at least 5 minutes, if you can do up to 10 or 15 minutes even better.
Stretches Lying Down
This is a great stretch to start off with because it’s so gentle and natural for your leg. To perform it all you need to do is start off lying down on your back, try to take some slow, relaxed breaths until your body become relaxed. Once you feel ready lift up one of your legs, allow your knee to bend, then place both your hands just behind the knee and gently pull upwards towards your chest until you feel a good stretch. You can hold this stretch as long as you’d like, typically recommended is around 20 seconds and then try to go further after a short break. A key thing to note about this stretch is that if you feel any hip flexor pain, stop immediately.
Many people initially classify this as a groin stretch, but remember some of the Hip Flexor muscles are also considered groin muscles, which is partially why this is a great stretch. Secondly, if you have really tight Psoas muscles you will also stretch those in this position.
To perform the butterfly stretch sit on the floor with your legs outstretched. Begin by shaking out your legs and taking a few deep breaths. To initiate the stretch pull in both your legs until the bottoms of your feet are touching, this should force your knees out. Increase the stretch as needed by putting your hands on your feet and pushing down on your knees. Hold for 20 seconds then shake out your legs again and repeat once or twice more. **Note: Try to keep your lower back straight, you should not be rounding your back and hunching over during the stretch.
Stretches – Standing
Standing stretches are amazing at targeting the inner core muscles around the pelvic region. Here are two of the best stretches you should incorporate into your stretching.
You may have seen this one before because it is one of the best Hip Flexor stretches. The reason for this is that it works, and is worth reiterating.
Perform this stretch by standing upright initially, and then taking a large but comfortable step forward. Next, descend into a lunge position where your front knee is at an approximately 90 degree angle. Now push your lower hips forward until you feel the stretch and hold the position for up to 30 seconds. Just 3 sets of this stretch alone will do wonders for your flexibility.
This final stretch is similar to the lunge stretch above, but with an advanced twist on it. It will look very similar to a lunge, but instead you can allow your back leg knee to rest on the ground. Try to keep your upper torso upright and then lift the arm of the lowered leg over your head. You will know immediately if you are doing this correctly, as this stretch targets several of your muscles, even the hard to reach Tensor Fascia Latae.
This is a special type of stretches performed using a resistance band or tube that can be used both as a stretch and strengthening exercise at the same time. To perform you need to attach one end of the band to a wall or anchor point and the other end to your ankle. Next, lift up your knee as high as you can and hold the position for 10-15 seconds. You should not only feel a stretch, but also fatigue in your Hip Flexors.
Hip Flexor Stretches Summary
To recap, you do not need to perform every single one of these exercises every day. Listen to your body and how it responds after a week or two of stretching and adjust accordingly. If you stick to a good schedule I am confident you will see incredible improvements in your hip mobility doing just a few of these Hip Flexor stretches and prevent a potential injury.
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