Why Exercise Your Hip Flexors?
When you think of exercising, you may think of major muscles, arms, legs, core. And as you are reading this you may be wondering what Hip Flexors are, why they should you care if they get tight?
First, let’s explain what flexors they are. Flexors are any muscle whose contraction bends a limb or other part of the body. These muscles can be in the arm, hand, leg or foot.
So, Hip Flexors basically help move your legs front to back and side to side. If you sit at a desk all day, your hip flexors can become tight and stiff. What does that matter? In a word, Pain.
The hip is a very stable ball and socket type joint with an inherently large range of motion. The hip contains some of the largest muscle in the body as well as some of the smallest.
Most people lack mobility due to a relatively sedentary lifestyle. Periods of prolonged sitting results in tightness of the hip flexors and hamstrings. Tightness in the muscles and ligaments can created joint forces that result in arthritis, postural problems, bursitis, and mechanical back pain…
The compensatory pelvic tilt that accompanies tight hip flexors also predisposes the individual to postural problems and back pain…
Important – Always Check with your Dr. before starting an exercise routine! What we’re sharing here is what works for us for light to moderate exercising and that doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone.
Over time, these muscles get tighter and that creates additional health problems as J. Eveleigh mentions above. Making them more flexible will help alleviate those health threats and the pain that they can cause. Bottom Line? You’ll feel better. So, how can you make them flexible and loose again?
We’re glad you asked – this is exactly what the hip flexor stretches are great at! I wanted to share these with you because I sat at my desk for years and my flexors became tight and painful. Then after years of sedentary lifestyle – from my desk during the day to the couch to relax at night, I began to exercise again.
With that, I noticed the pain started to subside. Now I have my favorite Hip Flexor exercise that I have to do every 2-3 days to keep my flexors loose and pain-free. I’ve found a few exercises that work for me (can you guess which one is my favorite? ) that I’d like to share with you and hopefully they’ll help you too.
So, print them out, do them 2-3 times a week then let us know if they helped you. Let us know your favorite and I’ll share mine! Here’s a great site for how to perform the hip stretch – https://mikereinold.com/true-hip-flexor-stretch/. Mike has a video also. We are always adding more exercises to our website, so visit us often for fresh workout routines.
As you read above, tight hip flexors are attributed to lower back pain so if you who are experiencing back pain, take some time to stretch the back and the hip flexors to strengthen these muscle groups.
Exercise List for Hip Flexor Stretches
Standing Hip Hinge
- Support your back with your hands and bend your upper body back. You will basically be bending backward to look at the wall behind you.
- Hold for 15-20 seconds and return to the starting position.
To add more intensity kneel on the floor and perform the same exercise. Kneeling will stretch the hip flexors and the quads as well. This is one of the best exercises for back pain and tight hip flexors.
Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexors will quickly become tight if you spend a lot of time sitting. Tight hip flexors can often be an indirect cause of back pain when walking. If your knees get sore or stiff, put a cushion or two on the floor.
- Get down on your right knee and put your left foot in front of you flat on the floor. It may help to do this next to a chair or bed for stability.
- Put your right hand on your right hip, keep your chest up and push your right hip forward. Don’t lean forward – keep your chest up.
- At the fully stretched position your right knee should be behind you. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Repeat this on the left side.
Don’t bounce. More benefit is achieved if you don’t bounce.Note: If you have sore or painful knees definitely consult your Dr. or physical therapist before attempting this exercise.
Downward Facing Frog Exercise
The Downward Frog pose helps open up the flexors as you go down to the floor. To simplify the position, place a pillow or hand-towel under the knees and ankles. If you still don’t find the position comfortable and you strain your ankles, push them towards each other instead of letting your feet around the sides. Check out how to perform a downward facing frog exercise.
- Get down on the ground so you’re supporting yourself on your elbows and knees. Your palms should be flat on the ground and your hips, shoulders, and knees should be aligned.
- Inhale and walk your knees out as far apart from each other as you can. Your ankles should be in line with your knees and your feet should be flexed to protect your ankles.
- Exhale and press your hips back. You should feel the stretch in your hips and thighs, but try to relax a little if you feel any pain in those areas. Hold this position for the recommended amount of time, breathing evenly throughout.
- Bring your hips forward and push your arms into the ground to lift yourself up. Bring in your feet and have your knees align with your hips to get into table pose and rest there for a moment before repeating for the desired number of reps.
Do this exercise for 30 seconds to 2 minutes per set. Repeat until you’ve completed 3 sets.
Once you’re ready to make this more challenging, you can try tucking your chin into your chest and stretching your arms further away from you. This will give you a fuller stretch than the regular version, but be careful of neck and shoulder muscle strains.
Standing Forward and Backward Leg Swing
- Standing straight, put your right hand on the back of a sturdy chair for support and your left hand on your left hip.
- Swing your left knee towards your chest then swing that leg behind you as high as you can.
- Repeat these slowly for 12 reps.
- Switch sides so your left hand is on the back of the chair and your right leg is in motion.
Enjoy your workout! Wishing you the best of health!
PS. Let us know if you find it helpful for us to provide YouTube links to show you ‘how to’ exercise. I know this can save lots of time for you and we’d be happy to provide them. Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to visit us and be sure to visit our website for more exercises!