Today I am wanting to talk about our Hip Flexors.
When we train in gym we normally place a lot of emphasis upon building up our total strength, cardio and general fitness etc.
Although we invest a lot of emphasis with building up our “appearance” , we frequently leave out our joints, tendons, ligaments and “basic need ” muscles. One muscle grouping of muscles that almost always gets left out a lot in strength training is the hip flexors. they are muscles still tend to get overlooked.
In point of fact there is not a lot of information out there to address hip flexor work. but here we are going to take a closer look at the hip flexors., their importance, and how to stretch and strengthen them.
The Hip Flexors
The hip flexors are a group of muscles that flex the thigh bone onto the pelvic girdle. To put it in easier terms, the hip flexors help control pulling the knee upward. The same function is responsible for the movement of the abdomen towards the thigh (for instance, a sit-up.)
The three major muscles of the hip flexor are the Psoas major, Psoas minor, and the lliacus muscle. Together they are better known as a group called the iliopsoas or inner thigh muscles.
Hip flexor muscles are also very important in other task of the hips such as:
Hip abductor: ( moving the hip outwards from the body)
Hip adductor: ( moving the hip inwards toward the body)
Hip lateral rotator: ( Rotating the hip away from the body)
Hip medial rotator: ( Rotating the hip around towards the body)
Spine lateral flexor and anti-rotator: (rotating and bending away)
Spine flexor: (bending)
Knee extensor: (straightening of the knee)
Knee flexor: (bending of the knee)
Importance of the Hip flexor muscles.
Hip flexors are very significant because they play a major role in daily hip mobility. Simple day-to-day activities like walking, running, Rugby, climbing a flight of stairs or any action Sport all involve the hip flexors. With a muscle group that is so involved with day-to-day activity, it is very crucial that we take care of them. The better the overall hip mobility, the more athletic ability you’ll have in general.
Appraising the State of Your Hip Flexors
One thing that appears somewhat in general when talking about the hip flexors is most people don’t really care about them until they have a problem with them. The two main common problems that appear to come about with people and their hip flexors are either they are 1.) really Tight and inflexible or 2.) Not very strong or durable.
Tight hip flexors are in all probability the most common of the two problems. Sitting for long periods of time can be a major contributor to this trouble. When a person sits for long periods of time the hip flexors in time begin to shorten.
This eventually leads to deficiency of range of motion and tightness in the hip flexors. Tightness in the hip flexors could bring on a whole horde of new problems. Hip flexor tightness can lead to the glutes not functioning properly, tight hamstrings, hamstring tightness and pulls, lower back problems, pelvic tilting, and several knee problems.
Weak hip flexors don’t seem not to be as common as tight hip flexors or possibly weak hip flexors are more of a case of people not knowing they are weak. Hip flexor strains and pulls seem to be getting more and more common everyday. people look to attribute this to simply tight hip flexors. Now whilst tight hip flexors can lead to shortening of the muscles. Strains and pulls are becoming more common even in people who regularly stretch their hip flexors. Muscle strains and pulls are also usually an indication of a muscle or group of muscles not having the endurance they should.
Hip Flexor Mobility Test
1.Lie on your bed on your back with your legs and feet dangling off the edge of the bed
2. Pull Your knee into your chest so one leg is curled up like a ball.
Slowly bring down one leg until a stretch is felt in that leg or the thigh comfortably rests on the bed with calf and foot hanging off edge.
Repeat with opposite side.
If you Pass:
If you could get your thigh all the way to the bed’s surface without feeling any sort of stretch, your psoas is not too tight on the side of the leg that was lowering.
If you Fail:
If your thigh ceases part way to the surface of the bed and you feel a stretching sensation in your abdominals or on the front of your upper thigh, your psoas is too tight on the side where you feel the stretch, and you should commit to on a regular basis stretching the psoas muscle on that side until you can pass this test.
Exercises For the Hip Flexors
Here are a few exercises you can do to help stretch and strengthen the hip flexors.
These exercises would be good if you have tight hip flexors and hip flexor mobility needs to be worked on.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneel on your right knee, cushioning your kneecap with a folded towel.
Place your left foot in front of you, bending your knee and placing your left hand on your left leg for stability.
Place your right hand on your right hip to avoid bending at the waist. Keep your back straight and abdominal muscles tight.
Lean forward, shifting more body weight onto your front leg. You’ll feel a stretch in your right thigh.
Hold for about 30 seconds.
Switch legs and repeat.
Lying Scissor Kick
Step 1: Lie on your back on an exercise mat on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your arms by your side, palms down.
Step 2: With knees slightly bent, raise your legs off the ground about half a foot for your starting position.
Step 3: Keeping your legs straight with your knees slightly bent, lift one leg upward until it is at a 45 degree angle and your toe is pointing to the ceiling.
Step 4: Lower the leg that is raised while raising the other leg that is lowered, keeping your heels a few inches off the ground at all times.
Step 5: Breathing regularly, continue to alternate legs in this scissor fashion for a complete set.
X Resistance Band Walk
Step 1: Take a resistance band and step on it with both your feet and then cross it over and hold the other end of it with your hands. (band should resemble the figure of an X)
Step 2: Bend slightly at the knees and move your feet so that they are slightly wider then shoulder width apart.
Step 3: Shuffle your feet sideways to the right for the desired amount of steps and then shuffle back to the left.
Reverse Lunge and Twist
Step 1: Stand tall with arms at sides.
Step 2: Begin exercise by stepping back with left foot while raising your left hand up so palm is facing forward and elbow is bent at a 90-degree angle.
Step 3: Now begin to lower into lunge and simultaneously twist your torso to the right (always twist to the side with the leg that is forward) Pause, then reverse movements back to starting position.
Barbell Step ups
Step 1: Starting Position: Hold a barbell on the back of your shoulders while standing up straight. Stand behind an elevated platform. The kind used for spotting behind a flat bench is ideal for this purpose.
Step 2: Put your right foot on the elevated platform. Step on it by extending your right hip and knee. Use your heel to lift the rest of your body and place your left foot on the platform, too. Exhale while you come up.
Step 3: Step down with your left leg. To do so, flex your right hip and knee while inhaling. Return to the starting position by putting your right foot next to the left one.
Step 4: replicate with your right leg for the desired number of reps and then repeat with your left leg.
Other exercises that can Help…..
Weighted Knee Ups
To Finish With this Note..
The hip flexors and pelvis are one of the most crucial muscle groups when it comes to the body and performance. No matter what type of physical activity a person does, the hip flexors will play a major role in their performance and mobility. Regrettably the hip flexors tend to get neglected very often.
Because the hip flexors are often neglected, people frequently suffer from tight or weak hip flexors.
This can lead to a assortment of troubles from restricted mobility to various muscle and joint problems. You should regularly test your hip flexor mobility and strength and if either is inadequate, perform stretches or exercises to sort out the problems.
That frequently neglected muscle group could be the difference between you and a more manoeuvrable and stronger you!
So there you go for this week..
Please look back at other blog posts as there are weekly workouts and more informative articles…
Until next time..
‘Learn to Love that Burn’
Disclaimer- This information in this article is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always consult a physician before you begin any new exercise program.