Following on from last week’s Blog on calf stretches, has anyone ever asked you to stretch out your hip flexor? It is a very commonly tight area of the body, especially for those that sit all day, which can cause negative effects on other areas of the body.
Often, we see people in a very deep lunge, which when not completed correctly can create rotation through the hips and some strain through the lower back. It’s important to only progress a far as your body needs. Depending on how flexible (or tight!) you are will depend on the level you should aim for in this stretch.
There are two muscles that comprise of the hip flexors; Psoas which comes from the lower vertebrae in your spine and Iliacus which comes from the inside of your pelvis. They then attached together to the femur (thigh bone) where they are referred to as the Iliopsoas muscle. Their main action is to contract and flex the hips.
Here is how to effectively target your hip flexors for a deep stretch;
- Starting in a kneeling position with your targeted knee on the floor and opposite knee in front. Both knees bent at 90 degrees. Place a pillow under your knee if you have any knee pain.
- Brace your abdominals by drawing your belly button towards your spine, to protect your lower back.
- Slowly tuck your sit bones underneath you by tilting your pelvis upwards
- If you feel a medium to strong stretch in the front of that hip, then is far enough for you.
- If you are unable to feel a stretch at this point, then simply bring your arm on the same side up over year head.
- To increase again, slowly and evenly with both sides of your hips, lean forwards toward your front foot.
- Ensure you keep your torso upright and your ribs drawn down to prevent arching into the lower back.
- Only move forward far enough until you feel the stretch come on.
You may or may not require your arm still above your head for this stretch.
- Move back to a neutral position with the hips and bring your arm behind you.
- Bend your back knee and grasp your ankle/foot.
- This will increase the stretch by creating length through the front of your thigh.
You can then slowly tuck your hips back under and move forward as required.
If you have lower back or groin pain or would like to learn more, book online now with an Osteopath or Remedial Massage Therapist for an assessment.