Hip flexors are the engine through which our body moves. They control balance, our ability to sit, stand, twist, reach, bend, walk and step.
Everything goes through the hips. And when our hip flexors tighten it causes a lot of problems in ordinarily healthy and active people, like us.
A clear sign of tight hip flexors is that your hip muscles starts feeling very tight. In order to loosen tight hip flexors, try stretching them and try not to move too frequently.
Tight hip flexor muscles can affect various parts of your body, so you need to be mindful of these signs:
- Tightness, stiffness or pain in your lower back, particularly when standing.
- Poor posture and you experience difficulty standing up erect.
- Neck tightness and pain.
- Pain in the glutes.
I encourage you to perform this test to examine hip tightness:
Rest your back on a table or bench, raise one knee up toward your chest and hold it steady. Allow your other leg to rest downward over the edge of the table. It will be great to have someone hold that leg for you so you can do it gently.
If your hip flexors are great, you should be able to fully extend your thigh parallel to the floor and be able to bend the knee 90 degrees without the thigh lifting up. If you experience difficulty with these movements, it shows you have tight hip flexors.
Recommended: Unlock Your Hip Flexors
What Causes Tight Hip Flexors?
Most times, sitting too long can cause tight hip flexors. When you sit for long hours at a desk, the iliopsoas, to be specific, shortens, causing the hip flexors to become tight.
Some athletes are also more liable to experience hip tightness. Runners use the hip flexors, particularly the iliopsoas, to raise the leg up with each stride. This frequent shortening of the muscle is not rewarded by a lengthening movement. Runners often end up with tight hip flexors for this reason.
Possessing a weak core can also be an issue that adds to tight hip flexors due to the fact that these muscles are connected to and stabilize the spine, they often take over when the core is weak. This can result to hip tightening and pain.
Stretch to loosen tight Hip Flexors.
Possessing a strong core helps strengthen hip flexors along with practicing good posture. Stretching your hip flexors muscles helps increase their length and prevent injury.
Dynamic stretching or stretching while in motion is an effective way to lengthen and strengthen the hip flexors muscle groups. A single leg squat is a great instance of a dynamic stretch to aid the hip flexors. Other stretches include:
- Standing stretch.
- Active stretch.
- Kneeling stretch.
- Supine stretch.
- Seated stretch.