You think I’m kidding about this but it’s true; they are deviant little monsters that can wreak havoc on someone’s routine. When kept in line, they serve their purpose and will allow you to lift more and move better, but these attention needy hussies NEED CONSTANT love because as soon as you back off keeping them in check, then we notice some issues:
- lower back pain
- limited trunk function (ever wonder why you feel your legs when you do ab work)
- rounded spines (think upper back hump “kyphosis”)
If you have tighter hip flexors you may notice when you try to exercise, you’ll notice that in certain motions, most notably squatting patterns, you’ll feel this “pinch” or “pull” in your groin area. This alone is INCREDIBLY uncomfortable… epically when you are trying to build some sexy legs or an impressive squat number.
A bit of Nerdy Anatomy
To really understand how to keep these lil deviants in check, we really need to get an idea of what the hip flexors are and what they really do.
What a lot may not know is that your hip flexors are not one muscle but TEN different muscles.
I did a bit of thievery from Wikipedia 😉
As you can see, the hip flexors are more than just one muscle. These include muscles in your glutes AND even one of your quadriceps muscles so this is a very powerful group of muscles.
The main responsibility for these muscles include pulling your knee UP, think of sprinting; and flexing/extending your hips forward, an epic pelvic thrust as you close the utensil drawer in the kitchen (oh I know I’m NOT the only one lol).
These muscles respond to daily life just like any other. You don’t use them, they atrophy; you don’t stretch them, they tighten.
There are many stretches that can be done but below I included a few of my favorites.
I generally will have my clients do this for 1-2min each leg either before or AFTER the workout depending on the individual.
-Banded Hip Flexor Stretch-
-Static Psoas Stretch-
***I have found that the psoas muscles is one of the primary culprits when it comes to tight hip flexors, so this stretch alone will hip alleviate a lot of hip flexor pain for most individuals***
Just like in the above video you want to make sure that your knee is behind your hip and that you are taking that hip and driving it forward and down.
To really target that psoas muscle you will want to take your OPPOSITE from the knee that is extended and raise it up over your head. From there lean back slightly at about a 30-45 degree angle… or until you begin to feel a deeper stretch in your hip flexors.
Let’s say that you have REALLY tight hip flexors and it will take some time to loosen those things up, that doesn’t mean that we don’t train. We simply find ways to work around it.
In the video below you’ll find one of my favorite exercises for those that have notoriously tight hip flexors.
-Dumbbell Reverse Lunge–
The hip flexor group is a love-hate relationship kinda like what you have with your trainer; they love to hate you until you give them attention.
If I could give one piece of advice, I would recommend that you stretch your hip flexors daily; yes, it may seem like I’m asking a lot but TRUST me guys… this alone will make a world of difference in not only how your body develops, BUT also how you feel as well.
In Health and Awesomeness,
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other letters behind the name) is the Owner of Rowlett Transformation Center in Rowlett, TX.
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