Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Self Help for the Hip Flexors

In my line of work, I see alot of hip flexor issues...too tight, too weak and each condition plays havoc on the functionality of the lower body.

The hip flexors are some of the most used muscles in the body. Whether walking up stairs or bending to tie a shoe, the hip flexors are responsible for the forward flexion of the body. Hip flexion of course is the movement in which the angle between the thigh and the trunk decreases.

The major muscles of hip flexion include the psoas major, the iliacus together called the iliopsoas and also include the rectus femoris of the quadriceps, the gracilis and the sartorius which are also located in the medial aspect of the anterior compartment of the thigh. Also, defined as secondary hip flexor muscles are the pectineus, adductor longus and adductor brevis of the medial thigh and the TFL (tensor fascia latae) of the lateral hip.

Often my clients will have weak hip flexors in relationship to the quadriceps and abdominal muscles. The hip flexors are often neglected during strength training regardless of the vitally important role they play in athletics. Due to this weakness, the pelvis rotates forward, often putting too much pressure and strain on the lower back (lumbar) region and increases the potential for low back pain.

To improve hip flexion and to increase power from the lower body, focus should be placed on specific exercises that will increase flexion in the axial/lower body so that strength and flexibility can be improved. Here are some suggestions;

Self-Care Techniques

1. Camel-Cat Pose
2. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
3. Pigeon Pose
4. Groin Stretch
5. Single Leg Windshield Wiper
6. Scorpion
7. Piriformis Stretch
8. Downward Dog

1. Walking Lunge with twist
2. Drop Lunge (lords)
3. Russian Hamstring
4. Knee Tucks on exercise ball
5. Mountain Climbers
6. Gate Swings

These are just a few of my favorites and should get you started on the right path to stronger hip flexors, improved posture and a healthier back as well. Enjoy and until next time.

Peace and Health to you.


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