Tight hip flexors are a common posture fault. Knowing how to stretch your tight hip flexors is a crucial for improving your posture. Tightness in these muscles can effect the lower back, the hip joint and the position of the pelvis.
Hip flexors refer to five muscles that start from the lumbar spine or the pelvis and insert into the leg. These muscles include the Iliacus, Psoas Major, Psoas Minor, Rectus Femoris and Tensor Fasciae Latae.
Psoas Major, Psoas Minor and Iliacus combine to form one insertion into the thigh bone (Femur). The Tensor Faciae Latae inserts into the Iliotibial Band (ITB) that runs down the outside of the thigh and inserts into the shin bone (Tibia).
The Rectus Femoris is a two joint muscle, meaning that it crosses both the hip and the knee joint.
Watch the video to learn how to stretch the hip flexor muscles.
Method one is a gentle stretch for very tight hip flexors. Lie down on your back. Pull one knee up to your chest keeping the other leg on the ground. You may also have to recruit your abdominal muscles (draw your belly button into your spine) to stabilize the pelvis.
The second method involves you kneeling in a lunge position. Tuck the front of your pelvis up towards your head and lunge forward. You should feel a stretch at the front of the hip on the leg that you are kneeling on.
The third method is performed standing. It focuses more on the Rectus Femoris by incorporating both the hip and the knee. Stand with your back to a kitchen counter. Place one foot up on the counter. Tuck the front of your pelvis up towards your head. Make sure your knee is directly below your hip. You should feel a good stretch in the front of your thigh.
Hold each stretch for 10-20 seconds, repeat 3 times, do twice a day.
Do not perform this exercise if it gives pain. Stretching is OK but pain is not.