THE HIP FLEXORS

WHAT ARE THE HIP FLEXORS

Arguably some the most overlooked, key muscles in our body are the muscles of the hip flexors. When you lift your knee towards your body you are activating the hip flexor muscles that include:

  • the iliacus and psoas major muscles, also known as the iliopsoas.
  • The rectus femoris, which is a part of the quadricep group.

The hip is a lot like the shoulder joint in that there is a great range of motion. Unfortunately, with great range of motion comes great risk for injury. The hip flexors are very susceptible to strains from overuse, muscle imbalances due to improper form or movement, and the oh-so-common muscle tightness. The hip is meant to be a very mobile joint. However, if we do not give the proper attention to detail, we will lose that mobility.

WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT

A major public health topic is the shift of disease from infectious to chronic disease and illnesses. Part of this is due to the fact that the majority of individuals have adopted a sedentary lifestyle. With this new lifestyle consistent of sitting more and being less active, we see many individuals losing their functionality. This public health shift to a more sedentary lifestyle results in many problems – for simple day to day movements, we see the lack of a proper function squat. While this is a very interesting topic, I do not want to go off on a tangent. The fact of the matter is that we all neglect the muscles groups that deserve attention for us to maintain our functionality. Whether you’re a bodybuilder, runner, or “average joe,” it is very important that you give your hips proper attention, so you do not lose that mobility and functionality.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE HIPS THAT ARE TIGHT

Tension around the hip flexors are responsible for that tightness. Spending several hours a day sitting will contribute to tight hips. This will increase risk of injury by placing increased demands on the tissue that is not moving properly. Think of it this way – your hip muscles are “firing,” meaning the muscle is contracting more and shortening its length. If you might recall to our blog on corrective exercises and posture, this would throw you into an anterior pelvic rotation, which can lead to back pain and other issues. Our bodies are like this huge chain of reactions, and if we do not take care of them properly, we will have a negative impact. Therefore, the hip flexors need to be worked in order to prevent tightness. 

SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT OR CORRECT THIS TIGHTNESS

 

  • Foam Roller Stretch
    • Use the foam roller to loosen up the tight hips by lying face down with the roller beneath the hips.
    • You can isolate the left or right side by only placing the roller beneath that specific side.
    • Slowly move back and forth on the roller.
  • Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
    • Kneel on one knee – almost like a lunge.
    • Drive your hips forward to lean into the lunge position.
  • Spiderman Stretch
    • Begin in the push-up position
    • Step forward with one foot, bringing it to the outside of the hand on the same side.
    • Repeat on the other side.
Hip Flexor Exercises to try!

Psoas March

Hip Flexor Hovers

Straight leg Hip Extension

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