This week we’ll be looking at a stretch – quite possibly the most important stretch for modern day life and as the title says, we are stretching our hip flexors.
The hip flexors are a group of muscles that start in the hip and pull on the thigh bone, so whenever you take a step, run or squat, your hip flexors kick into action. It’s also a vital muscle to stretch as we spend most of our time sitting – when we drive to work, at work, in front of the telly, the hip flexors become chronically shortened and weakened, which can lead to all sorts of issues with your lower back and knees.
Here’s a simple three stretch sequence I use all the time to stretch my hips. The key points to be aware of are:
- Keep the lower back in a neutral position. This means that you’re not arching it or leaning forwards. There is a tendency to really arch your back when stretching the hips and this takes the focus away from the stretch
- Keep a tall spine. Imagine someone is pulling your hair up towards the sky and the rest of the body will fall into correct position
- The hip flexors are a complex muscle group. Stretching the quads in conjunction to the hips will greatly increase the effectiveness (see Hip Flexor Stretch, Position 2)
- Hold each position for 15-30 seconds. Do both legs. Then repeat one more time!
- Be gentle. If your muscles are very tight, start with 5-10 seconds and increase time as you progress.
Hip Flexor Stretch, Position 1
Hip Flexor Stretch, Position 2
Hip Flexor Stretch, Position 3
And here’s a quick video sequence showing how to flow from one position to the next