Hip flexor stretches
What are hip flexor stretches? They are stretches or exercises for the hip flexor group of muscles, located just beneath the hipbones and on the upper thigh. Hip flexor allows for the human body to bend at the waist or lift your knees toward your chest. Hip flexors are among the strongest muscles in the human body and include the thigh muscles, iliopsoas and the inner thigh muscles.
Because hip flexors are always in stress supporting the body, they tend to become tight and stressed. There is much stress put on the hip flexors when u sprint, kick or jump. Athletes like runners, martial arts practitioners and soccer players are very prone to injuries that bring hip flexor pains. For people who spend a lot of time in a seated position, like in an office job, tight hip flexors are a common problem. On a sitting position, hip flexors remain in a shortened state, and over time the hip flexor muscles become tight. This can result in hip pain, lower back pain or even injury.
This is where hip flexor stretches come into play. In order to maintain a healthy body and avoid injuries and pain in the hip flexor muscles u need to practice hip flexor stretches. Stretching exercises may increase flexibility of your muscles and improve the range of motion of your joints.
Before presenting each of the hip flexor stretches, we must point out that all hip flexor stretches are alike in that the person’s thigh is brought back into extension. This forms a line of tension that results in a lengthening and stretching of the anterior hip flexor muscles.
There are a number of simple hip flexor stretches that help the muscles avoid strain or become tight. To prevent strains, athletes do hip flexor strengthening exercises, but if u have a tight hip flexor problem u need to limit the amount of strengthening exercises and give time to the muscles to re-lengthen and focus on the stretching exercises.
In addition to the hip flexor stretches there are other thing one can do to help minimize the risk of hip flexor pain or injury, like warming up before workout, stretching at the end of the workout or walking a bit every hour if u work in a seated position all the time.
Hip flexor stretches:
- Hip flexor stretch. Kneel on your left knee, after cushioning it with a towel. Place right foot in front of you, bending your knee. Place your right hand over right knee. Keep abdominal muscles tight and your back straight. Lean forward shifting your body weight. You feel your left thigh stretching. Hold position for about 30 sec. Switch legs and repeat procedure.
- Lying Hip Flexor Stretch. Lie in your back. Have your feet and legs dangling off the edge. Pull one knee into your chest while other feet remains in original position. Hold about 15 sec. Switch and repeat.
- Standing hip hinge. Place hands in the small of your back to support your back while you lean back stretching the muscles in you groin.
- 3D hip flexor stretches. Get a chair. Place right leg on the chair by bending it at the knee. Twist your middle and place the outside of you left elbow on the right side of your right knee. Hold you left arm straight. Try to hold your spine as straight as possible. You will feel the stretch on you left thigh. Hold for a while, switch and repeat.
- Hip Rotator Stretches. Sit in a chair with back straight and knees bent in 90°. Lift your left ankle and place it above right knee. Put your left hand over left thigh and gently press down until u feel resistance. While keeping a straight back and chest up, tilt forward while exhaling. Hold for about 30 sec, switch and repeat.
Other hip flexor stretches are: floor hip stretch, hip short adductors stretches, hip long adductors stretches, hip extensor stretches, the standing hamstring stretch, iliotibial band stretches etc.
Yoga poses are a good source of hip flexor stretches. Many yoga positions help in relieving stress for the hip flexors and prevent strains. Some of the yoga poses for the hip flexor stretches are:
- Camel pose. This pose not only stretches the hip flexors but also increases spine flexibility and opens up the chest, tightens the waist, strengthens shoulders and arms.
- Garland pose. This pose improves balance and opens up the hips, increases flexibility in your ankles and thighs.
- Reclined bound angle pose. This pose stretches inner thighs and the groin, opens up the chest. This pose relieves mild depression, insomnia and fatigue.
- Perfect pose. This pose opens your hips, stretches your ankles and back. This pose can be held for as long as wanted and is used often for meditation.
- Downward facing frog pose. This pose opens the hips while you lower your body to the floor.
Other than stretches u can also do some simple everyday exercises to loosen you hip flexors. This consists in doing everyday moves in a dynamic range of motions.
- Overhead lunges. This is basically a normal lunge, but u hold a medicine ball or a plate above your head, keeping your arms straight while u do the lunge. Possibly the best exercise for opening up your hip flexor muscles. Holding a medicine ball above your head, helps to stretch your fascia of the hip flexors, which gives in turn added stretch to the hip flexor?
- Reverse lunges. Same as the above but done in the reverse.
- Overhead squat. While holding a bar overhead, perform a squat. This promotes hip flexor motion range and opens your hip area. Holding the bar overhead makes you stay straight, which in turn lengthens you hip flexors while performing a dynamic movement.
- Self massage. If you do hip flexor stretches, exercises or yoga, u loosen you hip flexors a lot. Adding to the practice some self massage will make all the work more effective.
When it comes to body and performance, hip flexors are among the most important muscles of the body. In all activities of everyday life hip flexors will play a role. Because people often overlook this group of muscles, very often people suffer from weak or tight hip flexors. Everybody should test hip flexors regularly for their mobility and strength, and perform exercises or stretches according to the need. Healthy hip flexors might mean the difference between you and a stronger and more mobile you.
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