The hip flexors, where to start. Well, they are generally tight on almost everyone and tight hip flexors can contribute to a wide range of issues like low back, knee, hips, and pelvic pain. In this article we will explain what the hip flexors are, dive into some causes of possible tension, and share the best hip flexor stretch for improving your lower back and hip health.
What are Your hip flexors?
Your hip flexors are a group of muscles that connect your upper body (spine) and lower body (femur). Their function is to allow you to bring your leg towards your upper body. They also play a key role in your posture and stability. However, they can be the culprit of tension and pain you may be experiencing. We will cover more on that later. For now, the important thing to understand is your hip flexors allow you to walk, stand, bend, and live your daily life.
Why are hip flexors important?
With roles like walking and standing it is safe to say, your hip flexors are pretty important muscles. Your hip flexors work in tandem with your glutes (butt) to help propel you forward when you kick or run and especially come into play with daily mobility like when you are walking up stairs or up an incline.
As you may recall from previous articles your body is one big connected system. In this case we will focus on the connection of your hip flexors to your hips, lower back, and pelvis.
When one of these systems is tight or weak, the other’s feel it.
Tight muscles can be problematic and in certain cases lead to strain or imbalances elsewhere in your body. Your hips are particularly susceptible to becoming tight because they are constantly engaged from activities like walking, running, and even sitting.
In current times, most of us work from a desk all day. In fact, according to a recent study, people sit on average 6.5 hours per day.
All of this sitting can cause tight hip flexors and a common symptom of tight hip flexors can be lower back and hip pain. One of the reasons this pain occurs is because the group of muscles that connect the upper leg to your torso (hip flexors) get shortened with all of the sitting we do causing them to tighten up.
When the muscles are shortened and tension kicks in, the muscles start to pull on other areas of your body. In this case, your hip flexors begin to pull on your lower back and pelvis. When your muscles pull on other parts of your body sometimes your body compensates by stretching other muscles. However, if those muscles are not flexible enough many times the joints start to change angles, like arching your lower back or an anterior pelvic tilt. In return you begin to feel stress on your joints and muscles which can result in pain.
How do I prevent tight hip flexors?
It is important to stretch your hip flexors and release tension throughout. Sure, you always want to stretch your hip flexors prior to engaging in activities. However, it is good practice and can be highly rewarding to stretch your hip flexors regularly, combatting our modern lifestyle.
We find one of the best hip flexor stretches is the ISO-BOW compound hip flexor stretch for your hips and lower back.
Adding this stretch during your day or before and after activity will improve your mobility and flexibility. In correlation, relieving tension on your muscular systems which can reduce pain you may be experiencing.
Why do I need to stretch my hip flexors?
You might be saying I am not experiencing any pain so why do I need to stretch my hip flexors?
Your body is an incredible machine and responds to the environment you put it through. Constantly getting stronger or weaker. If you are not actively training your body, your body becomes weaker.
In the case of sitting for significant amounts of time throughout the day the fact is, your hip flexors are shortening, tightening, and getting weaker. Even though you are not feeling pain, these weaknesses are occurring and can lead to injury if you do not properly address it with options like the best hip flexor stretch we mentioned above.
Loosening up your hip flexors will help with the common anterior pelvic tilt. In return, you will experience better posture while sitting and standing. The better posture we have the more we can mitigate muscular imbalances.
The best hip flexor stretch for tight hips and low back.
Place one leg in front of you on a curb or step.
Bend forward from your waist.
Raise your hands as you stand up.
Push your hips forward like you are trying to place your hips in front of your body.
Conclusion: The Best Hip Flexor Stretch for Tight Hips and Low Back
Many of us find ourselves sitting for long periods during the day and our hip flexors begin to tighten causing other areas in our body to compensate.
Taking a few seconds out of your day to stretch and loosen your hip flexors will help you reduce your risk of injury, improve your posture, and release tension and/or pain in your hips, lower back, and pelvis will be well worth your efforts.
Give it a trial for a week and let us know how you feel.