Hip flexor tightness and hip joint stiffness can lead to low back pain, hip pain and knee problems. This is an advanced hip flexor mobility exercise that also stretches the quadriceps and tibialis anterior. Essentially all structures on the front of the leg. I highly recommend this technique for anyone looking to improve hip flexor flexibility for athletic activities and for preventing injuries.
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Hey guys, this is Manu Kalia, physical therapist and herbalist. So I’m going to show you a stretch to open up the front of the hip and also get your hip flexors. Hip flexors in the front of your hip that help you bring the thigh up towards you. And we’re going to use a couch. You can use a chair, anything essentially that’s stable and where you can put your foot up on.
Now, what you want to do is you want to start with ideally your knee as far back as possible, but if not, if you don’t have enough mobility, you can bring it forward too. The foot is up here in this position. So I like to stretch because it really gets everything in the front part of the thigh and the leg. And we’re going to do two different variations of it so this way you can get the front hip capsule as well as your hip flexors and you can get your quads also, front of your thigh muscles.
So the first part you want to do once you get yourself set up in the position is, and this also helps protect your low back, you want to squeeze your butt muscles. When I tighten up my glutes, remember your glutes are opposite of your hip flexors and glutes help you do hip extension, bring your leg or thigh bone back, so when I tighten up my glutes I am taking away some of the load off my low back. I’m targeting this area. So as I tighten up and as I get my pelvis into a little bit of a posterior tilt, so when I tighten up my glutesand I’m going to lean forward in this position while I maintain the glutes in a tightened position – so the first variation of the stretch is I tighten the glutes and I shift my body weight forward. So as I bring my body weight forward onto that front leg, I’m really getting a good pull right in the front of that hip and even in this area, the slightly lateral side. So as I bring my weight forward, I’m going to stretch that front capsule, get some of the hip flexors, and I’m going to lean and I’m going to work at finding the sticky spots, stiff areas, and I’m going to oscillate back and forth. So hang out in that position, once again, while you maintain your glutes in tightened position and/or putting the pelvis in a slightly posterior tilt. So that’s the first part of it. And of course, it’s also helping my low back stay in a relatively neutral position.
So the second part is where I want to target and I want to get more my quads, the front of the thigh, too. So for that I’m going to lean back so I’m an upright position. Now, in this position, same thing: I tighten up my glutes again and I bring myself into more an upright position. Now I’m really getting a lot of pulling that’s taking place in the front of the thigh, and as I maintain the posterior tilt or that glute contraction and I lean back further, I get even a stronger pull right in this area.
One other thing that I like to do is I like to take my hand if I want to guide myself to maintain a better position, I’m going to place my hand right here above my glute. So what that does is it reminds me not to hyperextend, not to arch backwards because that’s not going to get you as much range from here. You’re going to be getting it hinging at your low back and getting the range from this region. So when I place my hand here, tighten my glutes and I glide that hand forward, so when I do this, that really hits this area. I’m giving myself a reminder that this is where I’m trying to hinge. This is where I’m trying to get the range. So same thing, you glide yourself forward, hang out, try to hit it from different spots. While you maintain, you might want to lean back a little bit more. So try to get it from different spots. Spend about four to five minutes really searching for those sticky spots so you can work at mobilizing, opening up that tissue. Make sure you don’t feel any discomfort in your low back, so really kicking your abdominals also. So kicking your abdominals, your glutes, your pelvis in a posterior tilt position, that’ll really help you isolate this region.
So spend, as I said, four to five minutes really working on those tissues. Make sure you try out both sides and see how it feels.
I just showed you a powerful mobility exercise for the hip joint, hip flexors, quadriceps and anterior tibialis muscles. If you need further guidance on mobility exercises to prevent injuries, my Build Better Knees recovery kit can show you lots more.