These days hip flexors are all the rage! You constantly hear trainers and fitness bloggers talking about the importance of this muscle group. Well here’s one more post about it! 😉
What exactly are the individual muscles of the hip flexors?
The 2 main ones you should know are the Iliacus and the Psoas Major which are known as Iliopsoas. These muscles work in combination to flex the hip. The psoas connects the lumbar spine to the femur bone and the iliacus connects the illium, the largest pelvic bone to an insertion also on the femur.
Why should you care?
These are important because when they are tight, i.e. from too much sedentary living and sitting, they begin to distort your posture. Usually they can manifest as pain in the front of the hip, groin, leg or sometimes in your lower back.
What can you do about it?
The answer is obvious — stretch em’ out! If you have long periods of your workday spent sitting at your desk, the least you could do is stand up and walk around for 5 minutes, maybe once an hour.
When it’s time to train, add some of these stretches to your routine to help you liberate your hips!
Bulgarian Split Squat
This is a great squat variation that can be done dynamically for reps, or as an isometric hold. It is also a great way to build stability in your standing leg and ankle. All you need is a bench or a bar around knee height to help you get into position.
Stand in front a bar or bench and lift one leg, placing the top of your foot on the surface behind you. You may need to hop a few inches ahead on your standing foot to find the ideal distance for you depending on your height. If you are too close the front knee of the standing leg will trek too far ahead of your toes as you lower, so make sure you can visibly see your front toes at the bottom position. If you’re in the right position you should feel a big stretch in the hip flexor of the elevated leg. You can hold the bottom position for time or practice a few reps. Be sure to stretch both sides.
Dancers Pose on the Bars
This stretch may seem a bit “out there” but if you have a pretty good calisthenics foundation or yoga background, you may get it! Ideally you need to find some monkey bars in order to get into position. Not only is this a great hip flexor stretch, but it also stretches your shoulders, pecs and upper thoracic spine.
Start by hanging from the bars with a neutral grip and moving into the skin-the-cat position. Crush grip the bars, squeeze your abs and attempt to lift your hips and legs overhead as you lean back and extend your arms.
Once your hips are through your arms, place the top of one foot on the supporting perpendicular bar so it stays in place as you skin the cat the rest of the way through with the opposite leg. Allow your leg to extend down and forward as you squeeze your shoulder blades together and look ahead. You should feel a deep stretch in the upper body, low back, and hips. Reverse the movement, switching legs.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
For this stretch you may need a rolled up mat, or pillow for support. Face away from a wall and come into a kneeling lunge position with the mat or pillow supporting your back knee. Pick up the foot of your rear leg and back up towards the wall as close as you can get. For some people just picking up the foot of the rear leg may be intense enough, for others you may be able to back up til the rear foot is flat on the wall. Lean into your lunging leg enough to feel the stretch in the hip flexors of your back leg and be sure that you can see the toes of the front foot. Keep your back straight and your chest lifted. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
Thanks so much for tuning in! Til next time…peace ❤ & Ninja Kicks!