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How To Relax Hip Flexors – What You Need To Know
Want to learn how to relax hip flexors? In this post, we’ll go over a few easy techniques you can do to relax your hip flexors. First, what are hip flexors? Hip flexors are a group of muscles that run along the front of your thigh. They help keep your legs in line with each other when standing or walking.
That’s not all they do though! These muscles also help stabilize your pelvis and can even aid in breathing exercises like yawning, deep breathing, and laughing. You’ll likely feel some resistance when these muscles contract, so it’s important to take care of them.
By doing these simple exercises regularly you’ll find yourself feeling less pain and discomfort throughout your hips and lower back as well as better posture.
Simple Ways To Relax Hip Flexors
Most people have heard that stretching is one of the best ways to keep your muscles healthy and flexible. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know exactly when you should stretch and which parts of your body are most in need of a stretch.
For example, many people ignore their hip flexors because they do not consider them to be very flexible. However, these muscles are just like any other muscle in your body and require stretching for optimal health. Though not as easy as a simple backstretch or forward bend, there are several ways to stretch hip flexors effectively.
How To Stretch Hip Flexors
You tend to hear this most often from yoga practitioners and fitness enthusiasts. This style of stretching allows you to learn how to hold your hip flexors in a position where they are lengthened by your body’s own natural movements.
By learning how to keep the muscles of your legs functioning together and shorten them properly, you will be able to reduce pain and stiffness that could obstruct movement. There are two basic ways you can stretch hip flexors: standing and lying–both performed on the floor or mat.
Some health professionals have even recommended using a foam roller for those who want a more dynamic version of this stretch, but you must check with your healthcare provider before trying these techniques.
1. Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
Stand in a relaxed position with both feet pointed forward, hip-width apart. Lift your right foot to a comfortable height and place it behind your left foot. When you lift your foot, shift all weight onto the left leg. The right knee becomes bent while the left leg keeps both feet flat on the floor.
Make sure that you do not lean over towards your right leg so that you can still keep your hips squared forward. If this is too difficult to balance on one foot, then try raising both legs off the ground.
Gently rotate your pelvis forward and try to feel a stretch through the center of the thigh toward your knee cap (do not overstretch). Shift your weight onto the foot you are lifting and reduce the rotation of your pelvis. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then release and repeat on the opposite side.
2. Yoga Hip Flexor Stretch
This stretch is often combined with a backstretch to help loosen up your hips from top to bottom, but it’s great on its own as well! Stretch in a standing position with feet pointing forward and hips squared off towards the side where you’re leaning.
Bend one knee and place it directly behind you at hip level or slightly higher. You should feel a slight stretch in the front of your thigh near your knee cap. Place one hand on that leg below your knee or at ankle height for support. Keep your spine tall and your arms swept out to the sides of your body.
Slowly bend forward, feeling a stretch in your hip flexors as you do so. You want to keep your hips squared forward so that you are maintaining a straight line from the back of your head down to the small of your back.
Don’t lean over or allow the leaning leg to swing away from another leg in front of you–this is not how a true hip flexor stretch works. If it’s too difficult for you to maintain this line, try resting both hands on a wall for support just below shoulder height–this will allow you to maintain both hands on one side and one foot on the floor behind you without leaning over as much. Hold the stretch without bouncing or hurrying for 10 to 30 seconds, then switch sides.
3. Foam Roller Hip Flexor Stretch
For this stretch, you can use a foam roller for added benefit, but it’s not necessary! Just make sure your body is comfortable while doing these stretches as this style generally requires you to stay in one position for several minutes while you let the muscle tighten back up before repeating it on the other side.
Some workout centers even have specially designed foam rollers that come with handles or straps so that you can hold them in place as you squeeze them together. Place your hips on the ground and rest them onto a rolled-up foam roller (or any rolled-up soft object like a thick book). If you’re worried about cushioning the roller under your hips, you can place a small pillow or rolled-up towel on top for padding.
Rest the outside of one leg against the roller with your toes pointed up towards your body. As long as there is enough pressure to make your thigh muscles bunch up, adjust the position of the roller closer to one side until you feel a good stretch through that hip. Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
4. Yoga Hip Flexor Stretch – Extended Version
Begin in a relaxed seated or standing position with both feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart and knees bent. If you’re sitting, place your hands on your knees or lap. Lean towards the side where you want to feel a deeper stretch by either taking a deep inhale and exhaling while leaning towards the side with your breath or just placing your hand on the ground for support and leaning over with little to no movement in the opposite direction.
Squeeze your inner thighs against each other and try to feel a big stretch all through your hip flexors. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then release and repeat on the other side.
5. Yin/Yang Hip Flexor Stretch
Lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other. Rest the hand that is furthest from your head onto a yoga block or other supporting surface below shoulder height. Lift the top leg until it’s aligned with the hips and not resting in between them.
Keep your hips squared forward as much as you can, but if it’s too much for you to maintain this alignment throughout this stretch, place one hand on the ground in front of you for support.
Hold for 5-10 seconds, then repeat on the other side. If necessary, hold onto something stable like a wall or post so that you don’t fall over when leaning forward into this position.
Remember: you can do all of these stretches before or after your workout, not while you’re in it. Your body is already in a compromised position during strength conditioning exercises, and adding pressure to it during the workout will only make you weaker. Save these stretches for after a good warm-up and cool-down. You’ll avoid injury and you’ll see a lot more progress in your workouts and in your flexibility.
Best of luck with these exercises! If you have any questions, feel free to post them below! If you’re looking for some extra guidance, individualized instruction, or one-on-one yoga session, please check out this awesome home yoga course!
Even if you’re not ready to make a significant time commitment to strength conditioning or yoga just yet, keeping a few of these exercises in mind can make a big difference in your flexibility and overall balance.