A generation ago, few people worried about tight hip flexors. Workers spend less time sitting at their desks and less time on wheels, with only TVs and computers on the screen, which are nothing more than video typewriters. But in today’s sedentary culture, where sitting takes up most of the workday and leisure time, tight hip flexors have become an epidemic. You need targeted hip flexor exercises.
When the hip flexors are tight, the body closes the hips and reduces the efficiency of the hamstrings. The gluteus maximus muscles, which work with the hip flexors, are deactivated by prolonged sitting. Tight hips can cause lower back pain and cause knee overcompensation, which can lead to knee problems. Some knee and hip replacements originate from tight hip flexors. Fortunately, strengthening, stretching, and stabilizing with these 10 hip flexor exercises can easily make up for a sedentary, hip-tight lifestyle.
1. Glute bridge
This is one of the best moves for relaxing the hip flexors and improving the activation pattern of the gluteus maximus. Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent 90 degrees and your feet on the ground. Squeeze your hips and connect your hips to the ceiling. Only your shoulders and feet remain on the ground. Hold for two seconds, then lower your hips toward the ground without touching. Repeat a total of 10 times.
2. The greatest stretch in the world
Called “the greatest stretch in the world” by renowned trainer Mark Verstegen 20 years ago, this full-body move hits everything and is a great measure of how tight your hips are. Start by lunging forward with your left foot. Place your right forearm on the ground, place your left elbow on the inside of your left foot and hold the stretch for two seconds. Then, place your left hand on the outside of your foot and push your hips up with your front toes facing up. Return to standing position, then step out with right foot to repeat. Continue to alternate for a total of 10 reps.
3. Knee Hugs
From a standing position, lift your right knee to your chest and grab your hands below the knee. Bring your right knee as close to your chest as possible while squeezing your left hip. Return to standing position and repeat on the other side. Alternate 10 times on each side. This move stretches your hip flexors, as well as your glutes and hamstrings.
Like a wall climber, you are using your hip flexors and abs to “climb”. Start in a push-up position with your feet on the ground. Alternately push the knee forward toward the corresponding arm for 30 seconds. Keep your hips down throughout the movement for 30 seconds.
5. Romanian Deadlift
You can measure RDL progression by hip mobility. You won’t get very far without it. But as you progress, you’ll gain a greater range of motion. Start with a set of lightweight dumbbells, held in hand at thigh height. Keeping your spine straight and your knees slightly bent, push your hips back and slowly lower the weight to your feet. Then, push your hips forward into a standing position. Form is the key to getting the full benefits of RDL. Instead of thinking of the exercise as bending forward, push back with your hips and move forward instead of staying upright.
6. Quadruped Swing
This is an effective way to engage your glutes while working your lower back. Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Pull your navel toward your spine while maintaining the natural curve of your lower back. Move your hips back until you start to feel your pelvis rotate. Return to the starting position and continue to do 10 reps. You should be able to breathe normally. Try to keep your pelvis still throughout your range of motion.
7. Straight Leg Raise
This improves hip flexibility and stability. Lie on your back on the ground with your legs straight and your arms by your sides. Bend your right knee at a 90-degree angle. Squeeze the quadriceps of the left leg and lift it to a 45-degree angle while keeping it straight. Hold for three seconds. Repeat these moves on one side and switch legs.
8. Dove Pose
This familiar yoga move is one of the best hip openers, although it takes some practice. From plank position, bend right knee. Lift your right foot and pull your right knee to your right elbow as if stepping between your arms. But instead of placing your foot on the ground, rotate your right knee outward, placing it on the ground on the outside of your right hand. Hold for five reps, then switch legs.
This strengthens the hip flexors while also testing your quads. Squat down and hold that position for 10 to 30 seconds, depending on your ability, for the prescribed number of repetitions. Think of sitting with your hips back and down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. The back should be straight and straight, not hunched.
10. Sumo squats to hamstring stretch
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend at your waist, and grab your toes. Put your hips on the ground, lift your chest, and pull your hips forward until your torso is vertical. While keeping your back flat, push your hips up and back until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
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