If I were to ask you where the hip flexors were located, many of you would point to the spot in the front of the hip, and you would be mostly right.
But the group of muscles we call the hip flexors are actually made up of five different muscles that connect the knee, the hip and the lower back via the pelvis. These muscles are active everyday and are critical for movements like walking and squatting.
But when they become weak or short, it can compromise your body’s ability to perform. As you age, sit for long periods of time or train without recovering properly, the hip flexors begin to tighten. As they tighten, they can pull the front of the pelvis down, creating what is called an anterior pelvic tilt. This tilt puts pressure on your lower back, leaving it in a compromised and weakened position.
To stay healthy, you should stretch the hip flexors daily. Stretching doesn’t need to take hours to be effective, but you do need to set aside about 20 minutes each day. These eight yoga poses, which progress in their difficulty and intensity, will target the group of muscles that make up the hip flexors.
Use these tips for each of the poses below:
- Start by slowly breathing in and out through the nose. Keep the breath flowing through the whole stretch.
- Stay in each pose for up to a minute.
- Perform the poses in this order, as each builds on the next
- Once you feel a stretch, stop. Don’t try to force yourself deeper into the pose as you will end up over-stretching and hurting yourself.
Tight Hip Flexor Stretch #1: Pigeon with Hip Flexor Stretch
From downward facing dog, draw your right shin forward. Your right knee should be to the right of your hip. Extend your left leg behind you. Roll towards the front of your left hip.
Bend your left knee and grab your left foot with your left hand. Draw your left heel towards you.
Tight Hip Flexor Stretch #2: Low Lunge
Start on your hands and knees. Step your right foot forward and come into a lunge. Sink your hips down and square them forward.
Tight Hip Flexor Stretch #3: Reclined Knee To Chest on Block
Lie down on your back and place a yoga block under your hips. Bend your right knee and draw it into your chest. Extend your left leg out and onto the ground.
As you continue to pull your right knee in, extend your left heel away from the block.
Tight Hip Flexor Stretch #4: Extended Low Lunge
Start on your hands and knees. Step your right foot forward and come into a lunge. Sink your hips down, square them forward and reach your left arm up.
Continue extending that arm as you lean to the left.
Tight Hip Flexor Stretch #5: Prone Quad Stretch
Lie down on your belly with your forearms on the ground. Bring your legs together. Bend your right knee and grab your foot with your right hand.
Keep the knees together as you draw your right heel towards your right hip.
Tight Hip Flexor Stretch #6: Twisted Monkey
Start in a low lunge with your right foot forward and back knee down. Bring your hands inside of your front foo. Allow your right knee to fall out to the right. Bend your back knee and grab your foot with your right hand.
Use a band or strap if needed.
Tight Hip Flexor Stretch #7: Low Lunge on Block
From a low lunge position, place your front foot on top of a yoga block. Sink your hips down slowly and square your hips forward.
Tight Hip Flexor Stretch #8: Crescent Lunge with Hip Tilt
Start in a high lunge position with your right foot forward. Place your feet about hip-distance apart. Place your hands on your hips and bend the back knee so the kneecap points down.
Turn your tailbone down as you pull the front ribs in. Lock the pelvis in this position and slowly straighten your back leg.
How To Unlock Your Tight Hip Flexors Forever
Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you’re hammering the core exercises every day? It’s a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
The real cause is likely to be tight hip flexors (from sitting too much) , which cause the lower back to curve pushing out the stomach. When your hip flexors also known as the psoas works properly it pulls the abdomen back tucking the tummy in, giving you a strong flat stomach.
That’s why some people can look fat with a bulging stomach even if they’re not fat.
If you sit a lot (which causes tight hip flexors) and have a belly you want to get rid of, forget about dieting.
Instead I recommend that you incorporate these 10 Simple Moves into your day. They take less than 15-minutes to complete.
Give it a try, you’ll bring vitality back into your life so that you can be strong, active and energetic for yourself and loved ones.