As much as it is bad for health, we really can’t avoid sitting especially while working long hours in the office and this sitting behaviour leads to tightening of certain muscle groups often resulting in poor posture and joint pain. Today, we cover an important stretch for one of those muscle groups called hip flexors (opposite to hips, in front of body, function is to lift your leg up towards your torso). Tightness of hip flexors is further facilitated from common cardio exercises like running, cycling and swimming and games like football and can ultimately lead to low back pain. The good news is there’s no need to quit doing the physical activities you love. The stretch we cover today is called the kneeling hip flexor stretch which is quite effective especially for iIiacus and psoas major (2 major muscles of the hip flexor muscle group) along with your quads (front of your thighs).
The Big Mistake:
Although this is a very common stretch, there is one big mistake people make and their “experienced” trainers ignore like it’s normal to do so. If you look at the pic on the right, the girl’s form looks decent while performing the stretch (Guys! Focus on the stretch, not the girl) but look closely and you will observe that she has a lumbar arch (curved low back) and an anterior pelvic tilt (forward tilt of hip bone). This comes naturally when you first perform the movement as your body tries to put more load on your spine (more mobile) rather than your hip flexors (less mobile) and thus you lose tension from the muscles you intended to stretch. The best way to avoid this mistake is to flex your glutes (buttocks) and engage your abs to maintain a neutral spine (like an ‘i’, not a ‘c’) and then move slightly forward. The way she is holding her leg from the back is not necessary but it does make the stretch more effective.
Here’s a good video demonstrating it correctly:
- Watch the video a couple of times to let all the info sink in your head. You’re not Sherlock Holmes.
- Put something like a mat or a towel beneath your knee for protection. You’re not Iron Man either.
- Hold the stretch for a minimum of 15-20 seconds for each leg. Don’t try to be The Flash during your stretching routines.
- If you already have awesome flexibility like Mr. Fantastic, try keeping your rear leg’s ankle on a bench or a sofa while performing the stretch to further add intensity
Include this stretch on a daily basis after your workouts and/or meetings and we hope this helps you unwind some tension in the lumbo-pelvic region. It may seem useless to you if you are young but it is very crucial for long term health, especially if you want to continue running or play any sport. Contact us if you have any questions.
In Lucem Scientiam