Tight hips flexors are the feeling of tightness that comes from tension around the hips.
As the name suggests, hip flexors allow you to flex the hip as you bend, squat, or raise your knees. Today, we often see more people have tight hips flexors, whether they are office workers or professional athletes. While some people are genetically born with tighter hips, they can also be caused by restricted movement of the hips.
Although we are all guilty of it, sitting for long periods can contribute to tight hip flexors. By constricting the muscles in this way can make them tighter, especially if you’re not incorporating hip stretches and strengthening into your routine. While having tight hip flexors may give you some discomfort, they can also increase your risk for injury. This tightness can further lead to cramping in the muscles of the upper leg, a tugging sensation in the front of the groin, muscle spasm and can cause lower back pain.
As our hips connect to our lower back, it’s important to remember the potential impact that it can have to rest of our bodies. Tight hip flexors can make it harder for your pelvis to rotate properly when moving, therefore causing our lower backs to work harder and potentially become strained or injured.
For our gym-goers, the glute is also more difficult to activate with tight hip flexors. As both the hips and glutes are opposing muscles, one cannot work effectively if the other is tightened. Therefore, in your squats, other muscles such as your quads become more dominant instead of your glutes, which can lead to additional pressure and strains on the leg muscles.
As you will know by now, tight hip flexors have the potential to cause further injury to the body. That’s why it’s more important than ever to stretch and strengthen your hips before any injury occurs.
Here are our top three favourite stretches to do to help with your hip flexors.
Seated butterfly stretch
Sitting up straight on the floor, place the soles of the feet together letting the knees bend outwards. Pull your heels gently inwards as the knees dropped further towards the floor. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
Knee to chest stretches
Lying on your back with both legs extended, pull your right knee into your chest, while keeping your left leg straight and your lower back pressing into the floor. Hold this post for 30 seconds then repeat on the other leg.
Lunging hip flexor stretch
Kneel on your right knee and place your left foot flat on the floor in front of you with your knee bent. Slightly lean forward, stretching the right hip towards the floor. While squeezing your butt, you should feel this stretch in your right hip. Hold this for 30 records then repeat on the other leg.
While stretching is always recommended, it is important you know when you should stretch and when you shouldn’t. When stretching becomes painful, stop immediately. Forcing the muscles to stretch can irritate the joint and cause you more pain.
If you are starting to experience muscle aches or pain in your hip, don’t wait!