The tricky thing about having tight hip flexors is that we often don’t realise that they are tight! For years I trained in gyms doing loads of squats, burpees and any other exercise I could get my hands on! Over time, I started to get really sore knees and assumed that there must be an issue with the mechanics. I had a sports massage booked and as I explained my sore knees to the therapist, she politely asked if I stretched much and if the front of my thighs might be tight. I always did the token hold your foot to your bum at the end of a good sweat session so I replied that I did often stretch! Well…when her forearm gently pressed into the tops of my legs, I almost leapt off the couch with pain! They were indeed very tight!
Bottom line here – the 20 second foot to bum stretch whilst standing post-training a few times a week will not suffice! You need longer and more focused stretching time to balance out the countless hours we spend sitting everyday.
What causes tight hipflexors?
The main contributor tends to be sitting for hours of the day or doing bursts of activity and then sitting! Other things that may be relevant is pregnancy – if you have ever been pregnant (even if it was many moons ago) then this can change your pelvis position for the rest of your life if you don’t do the correct conditioning work to bring yourself back to neutral. Lower back injury or discomfort can also result in an anterior tilt in the pelvis ie. shortened tight hip flexors!
What else can I do?
As discussed in my tight hamstring blog, weak hamstrings and glutes often come hand in hand with tight hip flexors so be sure to strengthen them. Working on pelvis mobility and in particular, compound movements (movements that require groups of muscles to work together) that activate the back chain of muscles is also key: Make straight leg deadlifts your new best friend!
In between stretching, conditioning and mobility work be sure to keep active and try to avoid long periods of sitting. Get up and put the kettle on, walk around the garden or do some yoga in your lunch break 🙂
Work out what is realistic for you in terms of quantity and then try to repeat the same routine for 4-6 weeks and then see how you feel. If you want postural changes then take a photo now and then again at the end.
If we can support you in anyway then check out our training packages here. It could change the way you move for the rest of your life 🙂
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