Leg day is my favorite day. My upper body doesn’t take much to stay in pretty good shape, but my lower body is a different story. (Thanks, genetics!) After all of those hard leg days, my right hip started to cramp and hurt at night and that’s when I realized…stretching is important.
Tight hip flexors can bring many problems, including terrible back pain and mobility issues. Even if you are an active person, your hip flexors may be tight.
The hips play a key role in stability and strength, and stretching them is vital. These stretching exercises should be included in your workout routine encourage hip mobility and protect your lower back from unnecessary strain.
Tight Hip Flexors #1: Open Lizard Stretch
Similar to a lunge, this exercise focuses on loosening hip flexors and outer hips, the latter being hard to target by other movements. You need to start in a low lunge position, with one knee forward and the other behind you, placed on the floor. (You do NOT have to go as low or deep as the picture. Just do what you can do!)
Once in this familiar position, both hands need to go on the floor as well, lowering the chest and creating pressure to maximize the stretch. Your hands can be on either side of your knee, or they can both be on the inside of the forward knee. Stay in that position for15 to 30 seconds before changing legs and repeating.
Tight Hip Flexors #2: Head to Knee Stretch
Sit down on the ground and stretch your legs in front of you.
Once in this position, bend one knee and bring the sole of your foot against the other leg’s inner thigh.
With the sole of your foot in position, try to reach with your hands to the foot that is in front of you. Don’t worry if you can’t reach the foot. Instead, you can grab your shin and stay in that position, with relaxed shoulders, for 15 to 30 seconds before changing legs and repeating the stretch.
Tight Hip Flexors #3: Butterfly Stretch
Sit down on the floor and put both legs in front of you. Then, take your feet and place their soles facing each other, placing them very close to your torso. If you have tight hip flexors, your knees may stay very high in the air. At that point, try to get the knees closer to the ground by placing your hands on your knees and pushing gently down, or lean forward and push your knees down toward the floor. This stretches the inner thighs and hips.
Tight Hip Flexors #4: Deep Squat Stretch
Finally, we recommend the deep squat stretch. Even if you are used to doing weighted squats at the gym, this stretch can help you further. As expected, the starting position is the same as the regular squat, except your feet should be wider than shoulder-width apart. Lock the abs muscles, and maintain a straight back.
Once in position, you need to go down as closes to the floor as possible. Engage the leg and hip muscles, almost touching the floor, and push your knees back gently with your elbows. Wait a minimum of 15 to 30 seconds before going up slowly.
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