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3 Best Hip Flexor Stretches

Published: 02.08.2021
Reading time: 19 minutes

An approach to increasing hip flexor elasticity

Everyone who practices any physical activity faces various fitness questions that need to be addressed, whether it's intermittent fasting techniques, techniques for doing hard workouts, or techniques for building up speed in the running.

Along with the above, one of the most common problems is chronically "hamstrung" hip flexors. Quite a few people complain that they don't know how to stretch these muscles, avoiding lower back pain. So today, we are going to talk in general about the approach to increasing the elasticity of the hip flexors and about special exercises for this muscle group.

Let's start with the typical mistakes that are most often made when stretching the hip flexors. The first one is to resort to stretching these muscles very often in the hope of getting a satisfactory result. Another one that doesn't quite work is spending more time testing the hip flexors, stretching stiff, unyielding muscles.

Both the first and the second methods are unlikely to produce the desired results. And this is explained by the complexity of the anatomical structure of the hip flexors, which requires more jewelry work when stretching this muscle group.

Functional Structure of the Hip Flexors

The main components of the hip flexors are the iliopsoas muscle, the lumbar muscle, the tailor muscle, and the rectus femoris. The iliopsoas muscle is attached to the upper part of the thigh bone and inside the iliac crest (inside the pelvis). The lumbar power is attached to the ends of the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae, holding the spinal discs in a straight position.

The rectus femoris muscle begins at the anterior superior iliac spine base and extends down to the kneecap. At the same time, the tailor muscle starts in the same place as the straight thigh muscle but runs along the medial side of the knee, intertwining with the hamstrings.

You can observe the work of the hip flexor group muscles by bending the leg at the weight of the knee. When your feet are in contact with the ground, for example, when walking, the hip flexors work slightly differently. And the degree of anterior pelvic tilt (spine flexion) is an indicator of the coherence and correctness of this work.

The point here is again in the anatomy. For example, the iliopsoas muscle keeps the spine from excessive flexibility, provides lateral flexion of the spine, and participates in various back-to-back movements. Thus, the iliopsoas muscle is a significant factor in stabilizing the spine and the entire lumbar spine.

The lumbar muscle performs a similar function. It has solid fascial networks (namely medial ligaments) attached to the pelvic floor and the other end directly to the diaphragm. This is one of the reasons why it is so essential to adhere to proper breathing techniques during hip flexor stretching exercises.

Thus, the lumbar muscle also plays a unique role in stabilizing the position of the back. Anyone who has not been fortunate enough to suffer a lower back injury has been able to experience firsthand the importance of the normal functioning of this muscle.

From this, we conclude that stretching chronically inelastic, strained hip flexors alone will not solve the problem. It is essential to apply a whole set of exercises that help to strengthen and stabilize the spine and develop the abs (abdominal muscles).

Hip Flexor Stretching Exercises

Isometric balance holding with an elastic expansion band

Stretching the hip flexors should be approached very carefully. First, it should be considered that these muscles can retain an increased stiffness, provoking an excessive pelvic tilt forward. In this case, dynamic stretching of the hip flexors can lead to the fact that very quickly, the muscles soon become short again and return to their previous position. And this threatens to cause more pain in the lower back.

This exercise trains the ability to fix the spine in a straight position. This is not an exercise for the shoulder muscles, so there are no arm movements involved. All that is needed is to keep the expansion band taut for the maximum amount of time while maintaining the technique.

The Plank

Having strong abs is another crucial aspect. The fact is that weak abs can lead to severe hip flexor dysfunction. Weakened abs are not only an inability to do enough twists. They are also a threat to the stability of the spine.

When doing the first two exercises, it is highly desirable to stretch the muscles under load to the limit. Try to achieve a position where you feel the hip flexors (especially the straight thigh muscle) exceptionally clearly. The tension and effort when performing should be severe. Ideally, you will walk with difficulty for a few minutes after completing the exercises.

Lunges with the position of the back leg on the bench

Pressing in tone provides a strong foundation for holding the pelvis in a neutral position and also allows the large gluteal muscle to work more efficiently during forwarding body movements.

Therefore, one way to effectively "stretch" the hip flexors and level out the spine's excessive forward flexion is to train the gluteal muscles actively. At the same time, it is essential to remain mentally focused on the work of these muscles and feel a painful burning sensation.

If the bundle of the three suggested exercises do not give the desired results, try to work harder on the abs and gluteus muscles - to increase the stabilization of the spine.

In addition to the plank, it is advisable to use other exercises that focus on resistance to external force, such as bending or rotating the body under load.

When pumping the gluteal muscles, the most appropriate exercises, in this case, will be the deadlift and gluteal bridge. They will help to strengthen the lower back and compensate for the weakness of the abs during movements. At the same time, it is necessary to work with sufficiently large weights.

In this material, we have listed the essential tips on proper strengthening and increasing the elasticity of the hip flexors. We hope you found them helpful. If you liked this article, please like it and share the information about a healthy lifestyle on social networks!

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Jerry M. Vaughan
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