Stretching Your Hip Flexors for Greater Stability and Pain Prevention - Chi Living

Stretching Your Hip Flexors for Greater Stability and Pain Prevention

15 Exercises to Loosen Tight Hips

Posted by Katherine Dreyer on Tue Feb 20th, 2018, 4 comments

Stretching Your Hip Flexors for Greater Stability and Pain Prevention

Fervent runners know how important it is to be fully stretched and prepped before hitting the pavement or cross-country ground, yet many fail to exercise the hip flexors fully. While it is easier to remember the hamstrings, calves and quads, we should also take the time to lengthen and loosen our hip flexors. In this post, we highlight the importance of this muscle group and suggest a few easy stretches.

What is the Purpose of Hip Flexors?

Hip flexors are responsible for flexing the hip joint, bending the trunk forward, pulling up knees, ensuring stability in the lower body, and moving legs from front to back and side to side.

When we sit for various hours on end, as occurs when we have desk jobs, these muscles can tighten, with various consequences for our health. For instance, problematic hip flexors can affect our posture, forcing us to arch our back more, which results in back pain.

Tight hip flexors also prevent us from carrying out exercises such as squats with the right technique. Finally, immobility of the hips can contribute to knee and even neck tightness and pain.

Unexpected Symptoms of Hip Flexor Tightness

The symptoms of tight hip flexors are not always what you would expect. You may feel a tightness when standing, a pinching sensation or pain in your glute area, or even have trouble standing up straight. Neck pain can also be caused by hip tightness.

The Connection between a Weak Core and Hip Flexor Tightness

If you notice that even after stretching your hip flexors, your hips continue to shorten, a weak core may be the problem. Core issues result in an inability of the spine to maintain a powerful foundation and a neutral pelvic position. If this is the case, it is vital to stretch your glutes through the rear elevated split squat and other traditional glute-centered exercises.

Easy Hip Flexor Stretches

By simply carrying out lunges and squats, you will already be stretching your hip flexors. Specific exercises include the half kneeling hip flexor stretch. Kneel down on one knee, with the other knee out bent before you at a right angle. Lunge forward towards the raised knee and feel the delicious stretch. Feel the slight ‘burn’ for a few seconds and repeat around five times Repeat with the other knee.

You can also try the seated saddle stretch. Just sit with your legs around four feet apart, with your knees and toes pointed straight up. Inhale deeply and as you exhale, bring your body gently forward. Rest your hands on your feet and hold the stretch for five deep breaths.

Because hip flexors are not visible, many runners and strength trainers fail to give them the importance they are owed. Improve your posture, avoid falls, and prevent pain in the neck, back and glutes, by taking just a few minutes a day to stretch this important muscle group.

4 CommentsLeave a comment below

David Eubanks Feb 21st, 2018 05:59pm

Thank you for this article. I was just looking for this kind of info and you sent this out. Excellent article and I can incorporate all these into my other leg stretches.

Felt the stretch. Thanx

Thanks for an interesting article. I was on a running workshop in London a few years ago and the coach talked about stretching, in particular hip extensor stretches. He said that a lot of runners have very tight hip extensors.
He quoted from a book by Jay Dicharry called “Anatomy for Runners” and suggested that for a stretch to have any effect, you needed to hold it for between 3 to 4 minutes and to do this every day for 3 to 4 months.
I found this very discouraging. What are your thoughts about this? Can stretching be effective without having to adhere to such a rigorous regime?
All the best
Robin Gott

Dear Katherine
Thanks for the opportunity for presenting my problem. To introduce myself, I am a 79 years old ChiRunner who met Danny in 2017 in Amstelveen in the Netherlands. A half marathon will be held on the 25th of march; I’m following the Pain-Free ChiRunning Program and every Monday I run the long slow distance according this program. Every distance longer than 15km (heart rates some 126 bpm) gives me a feeling being tired.

I always run with my iPod in my ears, following two hours or more to Danny´s instructions (lessons 1 to 105). It might sound a little conceited saying that I master most of the ChiRunning focuses, but I do. My Mantra helps me focusing every minute of my training: “GroundContactTime, a perfect Runficiency Indicator”.

This feeling of being tired, forces me (after 15km, running 7 min/km) to change Running for the Walk-Run technique. I never have pain or other sores in my muscles; no injuries are teasing me since I started with ChiRunning in 2013. My cardiovascular system is perfect, the yearly examination by a sports-doctor and a heart specialist is allowing me to run races of 10km and more.

What should I do, is my psoas or other pelvis related strong muscle overworked? What exercises should I execute to make my core stronger? Please help me, I have 5 weeks left and then my last half marathon before my 80th will be started. Give me your best advice and I will keep you informed.

Best regards from mielkal.

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