In my experience as a fitness trainer, I've observed that athletes often prioritize stretching before engaging in more demanding parts of their workouts.
Recognizing the potential relief for tense muscles through a lying hip flexor stretch post leg or core workouts, I conducted a week of research with my physical therapist to master the proper execution for optimal benefits.
This article compiles our findings, demonstrating how this simple stretch can provide numerous advantages for both hips and legs.
- The two lying hip flexor stretches are the standard lying hip flexor stretch and the reclined hip flexor stretch.
- The lying hip flexor stretch is one of the easiest ways to relieve tension in the upper thigh and hip muscles after a tough workout.
- Research from the National Institute of Health indicates that tight hip flexors can cause pain in the lumbar spine, potentially impairing performance.
- In my opinion, incorporating these stretches on your rest days can be beneficial in alleviating lower body and hip pain, especially if you spend extended hours sitting at a desk.
Best Lying Hip Flexor Stretches
Our team has discovered two highly effective lying hip flexor stretches. Start with the standard stretch; if you find it manageable, consider trying the advanced variation.
1. Standard Lying Hip Flexor Stretch
This is the basic method that is suitable for beginners.
Here's how to do it:
- Lie down on a yoga mat with legs extended and arms by your side.
- Lift your left leg, bend it at the knee, and bring your foot closer to your buttocks.
- Gently pull your knee toward your chest, feeling the stretch along your hamstring into your glutes and hips.
- Slowly release your upper thigh and return to the starting position with both legs extended.
- Switch to the opposite side and repeat the process.
2. Reclined Hip Flexor Stretch
This is a slightly more advanced but also more effective stretch.
Here's how to do it:
- Lie on your back with feet on the floor and both knees bent.
- Lift your left knee and place your foot on the opposite thigh close to the knee.
- Gently pull the opposite thigh towards you, doing so slowly.
- Feel the stretch in your hips, glutes, and even the inner part of your upper thigh.
How Do You Stretch Your Hip Flexors When Lying Down?
You can stretch your hip flexors while lying down by pulling your upper thigh to your chest. This static stretch involves holding the tension briefly before switching to the opposite thigh.
According to research from the National Institute of Health, stretching your hip flexors while lying down enhances mobility and range of motion .
In my training experience, when athletes focus on improving hip flexibility, it enhances their movement, decreases the risk of injury, and improves the effectiveness of their workouts.
There are four key benefits to the lying hip flexor stretch.
1. Reduce Lower Back Pain
If you spend extended periods sitting at a desk, the lying hip flexor stretch can alleviate pressure and tightness in the lower back. This stretch not only reduces pain but can also enhance your sitting posture, according to the AAOHN Journal .
2. Reduce Hip Pain
The lying hip flexor stretch pulls the upper thigh toward your body, extending the hip joint beyond its natural range. Research published by the National Institute of Health indicates that this can loosen the muscles and alleviate pain and soreness .
“Sitting for much of the day, as most of us do, contributes to tight hip flexors. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle is associated with weakness in the hip muscles.”
- Elizabeth Wolkin, PT
3. Improve Flexibility
The lying hip flexor stretch, along with the mentioned variation, positions the upper thigh to maximize the angle of the hip joint. With consistent practice, you can expect to improve your hip mobility over time.
4. Boost Athletic Performance
As a fitness trainer, regularly incorporating the lying hip flexor stretch into your routine can enhance the range of motion in leg joints for athletes. Gaining this enhanced flexibility, like the ability to lower your upper thigh further in a squat, can amp up the effectiveness of your workouts.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Tight Hip Flexors?
The symptoms of tight hip flexors are cramping muscles, sharp pains in hips, decreased strength, and lower mobility. It’s a common issue and one that you can fix with regular stretching.
How Long Does It Take To Loosen Up Tight Hip Flexors?
It can take anywhere from two to four weeks of regular stretching to loosen up tight hip flexors. Doing our recommended stretches twice a day can get you there faster.
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