Why You SHould Do Hip Flexor Stretches Daily
Sitting way too much is causing your tight hip flexors and some of that pain in your hips and lower back. Use these 4 hip flexor stretches to reverse the problem.
It has almost become annoying hearing people refer to sitting as the new smoking, but it's true. Not only does sitting do horrible things to our circulation and contribute to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease; it also contributes to a host of hip, knee, and lower back issues.
Other things that can cause tight hips include imbalances in your workout routine (e.g., too much cycling and squatting) and sleeping on the same side in the fetal position.
When your hip flexors are tight they can negatively affect the position of your pelvis, contribute to pain and injuries, and pull the thighs and upper body forward.
Hip flexor stretches are important for opening up the front of the body to improve posture and for relaxing the hips and pelvis.
Hip flexor stretches are some of the most important stretches you can do, as they can have a cascading effect on the rest of the body, especially the hips (obviously), but also the spine and knees. Make sure to stretch them daily or at least weekly.
4 Hip Flexor Stretches for Healthy Hips and Posture
Hip Flexor Stretch #1: The Standard Hip Flexor Stretch (Pictured Above)
The standing and kneeling hip flexor stretches are probably the stretches most people are familiar with when it comes to the hip flexors. In fact, they are probably one of the first stretches you learned in gym class growing up.
These classic hip flexor stretches are great for focusing on one side of your body at a time. Often referred to as the forward lunge pose in Yoga, this great stretch can be modified easily to target the hip flexor muscles from different angles.
Some easy ways to modify the stretch include bringing the hind leg up to the butt to work the quad, or to add a twist to work the spine.
Hip Flexor Stretch #2: Pigeon Stretch
The Pigeon Stretch is one of the more advanced hip flexor stretches, so it is best to master the Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch and Superman Stretch (twisting version of the kneeling hip flexor stretch) before attempting the Pigeon Stretch.
The last thing you want to do is injure yourself while attempting to prevent injuries. Like all things fitness, it is best to build up overtime as your skills increase.
However, once you are ready, the Pigeon stretch is arguably the best hip flexor stretch for opening up the extended side of the body. It is also a great stretch for the leg tucked under the upper body and does wonders for the glutes and IT-bands.
Hip Flexor Stretch #3: Camel Pose
The Camel Pose is one of the 5 rites in Tibetan Yoga and is an amazing hip flexor stretch for opening the entire front of the body.
This hip flexor stretch can be performed as a static hold where you lean back and hold the heels of the feet, or as a dynamic stretch where you lean forward, hinge at the hips, and then lean back to stretch.
When doing the active version of this hip flexor stretch, go slow and try to keep the hips from rotating to either side.
Hip Flexor Stretch #4: Upward Facing Dog Pose
The Upward Facing Dog Pose in yoga is an easy hip flexor stretch that also opens up the hip flexors, as well as the chest and abdominal muscles.
A great way to perform this stretch is to do the "body pump" exercise created by Steve Maxwell. When doing the body pump you alternate between Down Dog and Upward Facing Dog, essentially creating a "body pump" that stretches and improves mobility on both sides of the body.
Another great way to increase the benefits of this hip flexor stretch is to drive one of the hips into the floor and to look over the opposite shoulder. This modification stretches the obliques and also adds an element for opening the spine.
Conclusion: As mentioned above, hip flexor stretches are important for opening up the front of the body and fixing imbalances in the spine and pelvis created by too much sitting and other bad habits like squatting too much.
The 4 hip flexor stretches are great for relieving pressure in these muscles and should be incorporated into your recovery routine regularly.