Hip flexors are a group of muscles that connect the pelvis and spine to the femur or tibia. In other words, your hip flexors are used when you bring your knee or leg up toward your hip, or also when you bend forward at the waist. You engage your hip flexors when you walk, run, ride a bike…or do pretty much anything. So you can imagine why it’s important to keep your hips as healthy as possible.
It’s really not uncommon for people to have weak or tight hip flexor muscles because if you sit for any decent amount of time in the day, you’re already doing some damage. In a sitting position your hip flexors are constantly being tightened and shortened, which = tight and weak hip flexors. You can also injure or strain your hip flexor muscles through accidents, not warming up properly, having bad sitting posture, etc.
To begin with, having a solid core and strong glute muscles will help support your hip flexors. They’re all connected, so if something is weak or tight, it often leads to muscle imbalance and sometimes injury.
The good news is that there are plenty of great stretches and exercises that you can do during the day to help with your hip mobility. I’d also recommend doing yoga since a lot of yoga poses/practices are great for opening up your hips. Try to add these to a morning routine, do them throughout the day when you take a break from sitting, or do them after a workout. It’s always worth it to make time to stretch!!
- Standing Quad Stretch
- Seated Butterfly
- Half Pigeon
- Frog Stretch
- Supine Knee to Chest
- Lunges–regular lunges, lunges with a spinal twist, kneeling lunges, etc.
The other benefit of having healthy hip flexors is that when it comes to physical activities and sports, your hip mobility matters way more than most people realize. In boxing for example, it affects your balance, power, stability, and footwork.
If you sit a lot and often feel strain in your lower back or knees, definitely try these stretches or look for your own hip mobility routine–just make sure you do something because stretching your hips can provide relief and if you do them consistently, you’ll find that you can move more freely.