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Stretch Your Hip Flexor the Right Way!


You've probably had this before... the front of your hip feels really tight- pinchy almost- and it makes walking uncomfortable because it pulls with every step.  You might even have pain when you squat, and it gets even more pinchy!

If you've ever felt this, you may be dealing with some irritation in your hip flexor muscle. There can be many causes for this-but many times that muscle may just be telling you it needs some more mobility and stability.  

Now I'm sure you have tried stretching your hip flexor muscle before- and I bet it looked like this ⬇️⬇️⬇️

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Now... I am not saying this is a bad stretch for the hip flexor- it is usually just executed poorly. This is because your body will try to avoid some uncomfortable positions and move the way it is used to moving.  Check out this video detailing a more effective way to stretch the hip flexor muscle. I bet you will feel it MUCH differently!


Best Way to Isolate the Hip Flexor when Stretching


Now just doing this stretch isn't the only way that you're gonna be getting rid of this pain in the front of your hip.  But this is where most people stop.  Now we need to actually teach the muscle how to work and stabilize properly.  This is actually the hardest part of the process, so if you can get this part down-you're in for more relief from that nagging pain, and you will be sure that this pain doesn't come back!

There is 1 exercise that I always go back to, just because it's so darn effective and you don't need much in terms of equipment.  The hip flexor eccentric really nails down your ability to control that movement-which if you remember is the key to staying pain free.  But like the stretch we worked on above, there is a very specific way that you need to do this exercise so you actually get the benefits of it. I typically have people perform 8-10 total reps of this exercise. And as you can see in the video, your focus should be performing the movement really slow.  If it takes you a minute or less to get through 10 reps, then you are going wayyyyy to fast.

Of course there are other options to strengthen the hip flexor muscle, but this exercise forces your body to go through a full range of motion and use a little bit of resistance to do it, which really helps your body build up that strength and stability.


Hip Flexor Eccentrics


Usually that exercise is much harder than people think, and definitely contributes to a good stretch.  But another amazing exercise that will build a lot of strength and stability is the half kneeling hip flexor lift.

This exercise works the other end of the motion in your hip flexor-whereas the previous exercise worked on the ability to elongate and stretch, this exercise helps your body develop the ability to shorten and flex towards end range.  

Don't worry if your leg doesn't want to lift very high with this exercise. What you want to really focus on is keeping your chest high and prevent your low back from rounding-it should not feel like your are flexing your abs to try and lift your knee higher.

Typically I will have people hold at the top for 1 second, and perform 2 sets of 8-10 reps on each side.


Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Lifts


And what kind of teacher would I be if I didn't include ANOTHER one of my favorite options to target that stubborn hip flexor.  This one combines some isometric stability with an accommodating resistance of the band, so we can gradually introduce a little more difficulty to the movement. 

Like the other exercises, our focus should be purely on working the hip flexor muscle, so avoid any use of crunching your abs or arching your back, we should be stable through our core throughout the whole exercise.

This can be performed for higher repetitions-typically 15-20 per set as long as your form holds up.


Hip Flexor Marches with Band


Now these exercises are always a great jumping off point, but sometimes they don't always fix the issue.  Who knows... maybe it's not even your hip flexor that is the problem! Sometimes we get pain is one area that is caused by another!

I always suggest an in person evaluation so we can assess the whole body and determine the root cause, so that all the treatment will be focused on your issue specifically! If you seem to be in pain and can't do the things you love, book a free 15 minute phone call to see if we would be a good fit!



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