Did you know that there is a major group of muscles that is vital to our range of motion and everyday wellbeing? Most people forget about these muscles or aren’t even aware of their existence. When you forget to stretch them out, you can be left with lower back pain, trouble relaxing and poor posture. Can you guess what it is? It’s not your hamstrings, shoulders, or back… It’s your hip flexors!
As a new mom, your hip flexors can get especially tight. Not only can they get tight during pregnancy because of its relation to the pelvic area, but they can also be affected postpartum. On top of that, day to day mom activities can tighten or shorten your hip flexors. For example, when pushing one hip to the side while standing to hold your little one, the hip flexor muscles become tight and contribute to lower back pain.
The hip flexors are a group of muscles located at the front of the hip and buried deep beneath the abdomen. They are at the center of your body’s movement. Hip flexors help you flex or move your leg towards your body. One of the major muscles of your hip flexor is called the psoas. In fact, the psoas is the only muscle in the human body connecting the upper body to the lower body.
When the psoas functions well, it can help you:
- Improve athletic performance
- Improve strength training and endurance
- Increase Energy levels
- Sleep better throughout the night
- Metabolize fat
With that being said, it’s more common than not that your hip flexors are tight. In today’s world it’s typical to spend most of your time sitting, whether it be at your desk job or driving your car. Even the world’s most talented athletes suffer from tight hip flexors due to constant use of muscle, and most everyone becomes tighter from prolonged sitting. Tight hip flexors can be detrimental to both your physical and emotional health and it’s important that you don’t forget about them!
The most common symptoms of tight hip flexors include:
- Pain in the lower back, legs or hips
- Limited range of motion
- Walking with discomfort
- Poor posture
- Trouble sleeping
- Sluggishness in day to day life
- High anxiety
- Lack of explosiveness while working out
But I have some good news… You can do something about it! Incorporate hip flexor stretches into your daily routine and start noticing the difference! Make sure you are including more than static stretches into your routine in order to fully access the muscles. There are a number of specific movements beyond simple static stretching you can use to unlock and loosen your hips, legs and back.
1. Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch
2. Lunging with a Spinal Twist
3. Knee to Chest Stretch
4. Figure Four Stretch
5. Three-Legged Dog Stretch
Pro-tip: I personally recommend people NOT to cross their legs while sitting, (knee over knee, nor ankle over knee) because it changes the body’s alignment over time, and also increases the tightness to the hip flexor musculature and more.
Check out my customized ROM Stretch Therapy to learn more about how to unlock your hip flexors to improve your physical and emotional health. With my guidance, you can lengthen your hip flexors safely and confidently. My clients say it best; check out a testimonial here.