Tight Hips? Tips To Loosen Your Hip Flexors

Pic: Mundoo

What’s long and hard and as stiff as a plank of wood? Get your mind out of the gutter…I’m talking about your hip flexors. Tight Hip Flexors can be a big problem, and so easy to get. Everyone gets hip flexor pain once in a while, but there is always a cure. In a previous post, Pain At The Desk, we saw how sitting down affects your hip flexors. I know when I sit at the computer too long, I tighten up very quickly, and after a long flight from Down Under to Europe I’m as tight as a drum. Hip flexor pain can result from tight hip flexors.

Where Are Your Hip Flexors?

The ‘Hip Flexors’ are a group of muscles that, well, flex the hip. There are quite a few muscles that actually flex the hip, but two that are specifically referred to as hip flexors. The Illiopsoas group consists of the Psoas and the Iliacus.

Pic: fitstep.com


Both attach to the femur. However the psoas attaches to the lower back, whereas the Iliacus attaches to your hipbone. Sitting down puts these muscles in a shortened position, and as a result leaves them pretty tight. The Psoas attaches to the lower back, if it’s tight, it can pull your back forward, and is a common cause of back pain. A tight hip flexor will also go a long way to inhibiting your bum, which means whatever work you are doing for it, you probably aren’t getting the desired results. No bum means you are susceptible to many more injuries, and have a lack of power in simple things such as walking.

What Can I Do To Loosen Them?

Well, there are a couple of ways to get these babies loose again, especially if you are feeling hip flexor pain. Massage, Acupuncture, Foam Rolling, Self Massage are all great ways to loosen up your hip flexors. These should always be accompanied with Exercises and Stretches.

Exercises

When you think of loosening a muscle, stretching automatically comes to mind. However, you can also loosen your hip flexors through exercises. It works by taking your muscles through their range of motion dynamically and helps get rid of hip flexor pain. I’ll outline some of my favourite exercises for loosening your hip flexors, there are a few more, and if you want to add your favourite, please leave a comment.

Overhead Lunges

This is possibly the best exercise you can do for opening up your hip flexors and reducing hip flexor pain. It is basically a normal lunge, but you hold a medicine ball, or a light plate above your head. Out stretch your arms, keep them straight, directly above your head, and complete the lunges. You have something that is called fascia; it’s basically a sheath that runs over your muscles. Your fascia is a big issue in hip flexor tightness, and often when that is loosened, the muscle is too. Holding something above your head whilst lunging stretches this fascia out, and you get the added hip flexor stretch and helps reduce hip flexor pain.

Reverse Lunges

Same as a forward lunge, but done in reverse! See this video of a Reverse Lunge.

When you step back into the reverse lunge, you are recruiting your bum. Recruiting your bum inhibits your hip flexors, meaning they will relax. Stepping back straight away puts the hip flexors on stretch, and as you do the exercise, you take them through a large range of motion, loosen your hips flexors and reduce hip flexor pain.

Overhead Squat

Performing a squat whilst holding a bar overhead, opens up your hip area, and promotes hip flexor range of motion. See this video of an Overhead Squat.
When most people attempt this to start, the lower they get, the more they will want to bend forward. If you picture the hip flexors, they attach from the upper thigh, onto the lower back, if these are tight, as you try to get lower, your hip flexors will pull you forward. By holding the bar above your head, you have to stay up straight, basically lengthening your hip flexors during a dynamic movement.

Stretches

Stretching is an obvious and essential way to loosen those babies and reduce hip flexor pain. I’ve just taken a picture of my favourite stretch. I’m not sure if I made it up or where I got it from, but for now until someone tells me otherwise, I’ll claim it. I often make up stretches just trying to pin point an area. Basically you get down on one knee, stretch your arms up, then try and touch your opposite hand to opposite foot behind you. Check these pictures to aid my terrible explanation.

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There are many variants of this stretch. That one is just my favourite.
Check out these ones too…

Elevated Hip Stretch

Kneeling Hip Stretch

Partner Hip Flexor Stretch

If you have tight hip flexors, start adding these exercises and stretches into your workout, and you will see a difference and you will reduce your hip flexor pain. If you have some favourite exercises for loosening your hips, leave a comment and we’ll discuss them.

Just another reminder we have moved, all old articles and many more new ones are located at www.laurensfitness.com

Comments

  1. very informative post.
    Keep it up.

    Thanks
    Kaash, Ash & You

  2. I was just wondering what your theory on saunas are? Are saunas good for your health?? I hear a lot of things relating to saunas and health, and I for one love them, I feel relaxed and wonderful after a sauna, surely saunas have to be good for your health?

  3. Thanks so much for this post…I have really tight hip flexors and I find that static stretching does not help my tight hip flexors. I really need to do some PNF stretching for them, or do this kind of active mobility stuff. other than that only a hip flexor release actually helps my hip flexors!

  4. Great blog faily easy to do well worth a try

  5. I have a lot of trouble with my hip flexors because I am constantly having to sit down and do work. it is really hard to keep them loose when you simply have to stay seated all the time. Hip flexors are a pain and one that are hard to deak with, but we must keep moving on I suppose!!

  6. I totally agree with you sitting down all day really does my hip flexors in…I have so much trouble! But we must simply get up and stretch a lot more. Makes you feel better too.

  7. What are the terms mentioned in Blog #3 referring to? Static stretching, PNF stretching, and active mobility. I have very painful hip flexors and keep wondering if I should quit my step aerobics class because of it.

  8. i have backpains after work. what i do is get some relaxing massage and yoga.*-`

  9. i have some slight back pain and stretching helps a bit to reduce its severity:..

  10. I believe I’m having this tight hips as you call it. I’ll give this exercises a try and see what relief it could give me. I was planning to see a physical therapist to see what’s wrong with my lower back and hips. I’ll postpone that for now. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. i am like addict on trampolines, they are very nice addition to you gaming stuffs`”`

  13. i suffer from sinusitis and there is no permanent cure for this disease;`-

  14. my kids just love to jump all day lon on trampolines, they are addicted to it;;`

  15. Stretching which we don’t do often has a lot of benefits to our muscles and bones. We have to try incorporating these to our daily routines. Thanks.

  16. Be careful when having way too much beer because it can end up in alcohol dependency. Ofcourse if you’re an enjoyer of life like i am then you may not care!

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