Everyone seems to have tight hips these days. It makes sense—spending lot of time sitting keeps the hip flexors in a shortened position more than they should be. Constricting the muscles in this way can make them super tight, especially if you're not incorporating hip stretches into your routine.
Of course, you know what it feels like to have a tight muscle. But tight hips aren't just uncomfortable—they can lead to all sorts of other aches and pains, especially in the lower back. We tend to focus on the hips and say our hips are tight, but we don't always think about the fact that the lower back connects to our legs at the hip.
The Hip flexors are a group of 5 muscles that produce hip movement, 3 of which focus their efforts to bring the thigh to hip height and the remaining 2 lift beyond that and closer to the torso. The psoas is a deep-seated core muscle connecting the lumbar vertebrae to the femur. The psoas major is the biggest and strongest player in a group of muscles called the hip flexors: together they contract to pull the thigh and the torso toward each other.
Tight hip flexors make it harder for your pelvis to rotate properly, which can cause your lower back to overcompensate, and this can be a setup for lower-back injury.
Tight hip flexors can also make it harder for your glute to activate —since they're opposing muscle groups, when one is really tight the other becomes lengthened. When a muscle is more lengthened than it should be, it takes away some of its ability to contract. When your glutes are in this compromised position, it can cause other muscles to do more work than they should, making your workouts less efficient and sometimes, increasing your risk of injury.
Sitting habits aside, our hips take on a lot of impact every day. The hips are where our entire body sits, and that’s where the transfer of force happens. When you jump, run, or do any other high-impact activity, your hips absorb a certain amount of that impact.
The good news is that there are plenty of good hip stretches out there that you can do to relieve discomfort, decrease tightness, and increase mobility in your hips. Since your hips are involved in so many of the movements you make (both inside and outside of the gym) stretching them is a great way to keep them feeling good and ready to work for you.
Add this one hip stretches below to the end of your workout or as part of our daily routine to stretch and lengthen the psoas muscle by extending the hip.
Kneel on your left knee and place your right leg in front - ensuring that your knee at a 90 degree angle and is stacked underneath your ankle. You should feel a sensation at the top of your left hip crease. If you feel wobbly, support your balance with a chair. Kneeling on a blanket or mat can also be more comfortable for your knee.
Hold steady for 20 - 30 seconds, then swap sides. Repeat 2 - 3 times daily.