The nature of most jobs today requires people to stay seated for most of their waking hours. This has quite a few negative effects, with the most direct one being on your hip flexors.
Hip flexors are a set of muscles that make hips movement and almost every other kind of full-body movement possible. These muscles connect your lower body to the rest of your body.
Sitting for too long has the effect of shortening or tightening your hip flexor muscles. This can be remedied by doing stretches that target these muscles. You may not have a workout day to focus on hip flexors, but it’s especially important if you sit for long hours to pay attention to them once or twice a week for a few minutes.
Let’s look at some exercises you can do to stretch out those muscles.
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3 Hip Flexor Stretches to Help Loosen Your Hip Flexors
Hip flexor stretches come in handy when your hip flexor muscles are tight or shortened. Here are some you can try.
This stretch helps stretch one of your vital hip flexor muscles, Iliopsoas, that runs from your core to your hips. Here is how it’s done.
- Get into a kneeling position on a mat or the floor.
- Move into a lunge position with one knee on the mat and the other at a right angle, with your thigh parallel to the floor.
- Keep your hips and your upper body facing forward.
- Tighten your glute muscle on the leg with its knee on the floor and lunge forward. You should keep your upper body leaning back so that you can give the muscle the maximum stretch. Hold that position for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Come back to the neutral lunge position.
- Repeat 3 to 5 times on both legs.
Prone hip flexor stretch
This prone stretch is also a great way to stretch your hip flexor muscles. Here is how to do it.
- Start by lying on a mat on the floor or just the floor if you don’t have a mat.
- Fold your left leg and raise your right leg so that your foot is in the air.
- Reach out with your hand and pull your foot, raising your leg in the air while relaxing your neck. Be sure to keep your head on the floor on your other arm to avoid injuries.
- Raise your leg as far as you can and hold this position for about 30 seconds.
- Release and bring back your leg to rest on the ground.
- Repeat this stretch for 3 to 5 times on both legs.
This stretch requires you to be a bit flexible. If you are not, you may not be able to hold your foot to pull it. You can solve this by strapping your foot with a band or a rope to bridge the gap. This way, you pull onto the rope attached to your foot instead. In this variation, you still pull your leg off the ground as far as you can and hold the position for 30 seconds.
Seated butterfly yoga pose
Yoga is one of the best ways to stretch any muscles in your body and your hip flexors aren’t any different. If your hip flexors muscles are short or tight, this stretch will greatly help loosen them a bit. Here is how to do it.
- Start by sitting down on the floor on a mat.
- Get into a full lotus position. Don’t worry if you cannot cross your legs on top of each other.
- Draw the soles of your feet together.
- Keep your hips, shoulders, and chest aligned by sitting in a straightened back. Don’t round your back.
- Reach forward and hold your feet with your hands and pull them inwards as you tilt your chest up. If you can, bring your forehead to touch your feet. As you are doing this, inhale and hold your breath.
- On the exhale, lean back and straighten your back.
- Do this for 10 to 15 reps.
You can also choose to lean forward and hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds instead of relying on your breath to form the rhythm. If this works better for you, then do that 3 to 5 times.
With these exercises, you have what you need to stretch out tight hip flexor muscles. You should dedicate some time at least two or three times per week to stretch out your hip flexors if you don’t want your hips to be too tight. This can cause hip and back pain in the long run, but if you start stretching now, you may be able to prevent it from happening.
Foam rolling for hip flexor muscles
Some hip flexor muscles are very hard to get to, so another effective way to stretch them is by foam rolling. You can also foam roll before doing these exercises, which loosens the muscles you are targeting and makes it easy to stretch.
To do this, you will need to get a foam roller. You can easily find one you love on the market. Here is how to foam roll.
How to foam roll
- Put the foam roller on the floor.
- Lie down on the floor with the foam roller under the muscle you are targeting.
- Rollback and forth on the foam roller using your body weight.
When you are foam rolling your hip flexor muscles, remember to make small targeted movements instead of large ones. This is more effective in loosening those muscles.
Hip flexor muscles are a very important part of human mobility. Most people do not remember to exercise or stretch out these vital muscles, but now that you’ve learned how to stretch them, you can add hip flexor stretches to your workout routine.
If you want to keep being agile, just pay a little attention to your hip flexor muscles. A few minutes two or three times per week will do it!