Hip Flexor Stretches
Last month we worked on lengthening the hamstrings, this month we will look at another group of major hip muscles – the hip flexors.
There are quite a few muscles that fall in to ‘hip flexor’ camp – psoas being one of the major ones. Together the hip flexors contract to pull the thigh and torso toward each other, so they get used a lot in the gym – squats, deadlifts, sit ups, to name a few. They can also get locked short + tight if we spend a lot of time during the day sitting. Like the hamstrings if the hip flexors get chronically tight they can begin to affect our pelvis, lower back and posture. Because of this its a good idea to build a couple of stretches in to your workout, here’s a few to get you started:
1. Passive Hip Flexor Release
This one’s a nice passive stretch so can be held for a little longer. It also requires props so a good one to practise at home.
Elevate the hips (about 2-4 inches) by placing a support under the bum. I’m using a yoga brick but a couple of thick books will do.
- Draw the right knee in to the chest and extend out through the left leg.
- You should feel a gentle stretch the front of the left hip.
- Hold for a couple of minutes and repeat on the other side.
2. Kneeling Lunge
Tight hip flexors can pull the pelvis forward so lifting through the front of the hips will help bring the pelvis back to neutral and give you a deeper stretch in this pose:
- Bring the right foot between the hand’s, stacking the knee over the ankle.
- Bring the hands to the hips and lift up on the hip points (the bony bits on the front of the pelvis.)
- For a slightly deeper turn the toes under on the left foot and push down through the ball of the foot.
- You can also add a shoulder opener by interlacing the fingers behind the back.
- Hold for 6-8 breaths and repeat on the left side.
3. Reclined Hip Flexor + Quads
This last stretch will target the hip flexors + quads. If you can’t hold the foot, loop a belt around the foot and hold that instead:
- Lying on your front, legs hip width apart.
- Lengthen the lower back by drawing the tailbone towards the heels.
- Bend the right knee and holding the outside of the foot draw your heel to your bum.
- Keep both of the hip points on the mat.
- Hold for 6-8 breaths before repeating on the side.