The hip flexors weaken once we sit an excessive amount of – however easy stretching and strengthening workout routines could make you much less stiff

I’m sure you’ve been told you should get up and move out of your workplace or use a standing desk if possible. One of the main benefits of this exercise is activating and stretching the hip flexors.

But what are the hip flexors, and why are they so important – and what if we let them become weak and stiff?



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What is hip flexor?

The hip flexor is a strong muscle located in the front of your hip. These include:

  • major psoas and minor psoas, connecting the femur to the spine, and

  • iliacus, which runs from the pelvis to the femur.

The hip flexor is the muscle located in the front of your hip.
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The hip flexors are activated when you pull your knee toward your chest. They are important for walking and running.

They’re also important in sports, as they flex the hips and work with the quads to extend your knees when you need to sprint or kick.

An athlete with an injured hip flexor will have great difficulty running or kicking.

The hip flexors also work with the glutes and other muscles of the torso to stabilize the spine – which makes them important for posture.

What happens when they are weak or stiff?

Weak hip flexors can make climbing stairs, running, or even walking on flat surfaces difficult or painful. It can also make it difficult for other muscles in the area to work to compensate. This changes your gait (the way you walk).

Tight hip flexors can make it difficult to walk and stand because they pull your spine down. This causes you to lean forward, putting stress on your lower back muscles (which work in reverse to keep you upright).

An imbalance between the hip flexors and the opposing muscles pulling your torso in the opposite direction can lead to lower back pain.

Flexing your hips too tightly can reduce your knee’s range of motion. This can lead to a stiff knee gait, the knee not bending as much as it should. After a while, it can lead to knee pain.

In general, weak or overstretched hip flexors can cause your joints or muscles to function incorrectly, and this can lead to injury.

How can I keep my hip flexors in good shape?

As with all muscles, the hip flexor loses strength and mass due to lack of movement.

Another contributing factor is sitting for long periods of time, which causes the psoas muscles to relax in a short position for a long time.

This is especially important for those of us sitting at a desk for long periods of time, and that’s why many healthcare professionals recommend taking a break from sitting or choosing a standing desk.

The hip flexors need to be kept both flexible and strong.

Stretching exercises to improve hip flexor flexibility include:

  • Lie on your side and pull one leg up to your butt, keeping your knees close together

  • Step forward in a lunge position, lowering as far as you can while keeping your torso upright.

Some examples of exercises to help stretch the hip flexors.

Both will make you feel a stretch along the front of your upper thigh.

Stretches should be held for about 30 seconds and repeated two to three times on each side. They can be taken daily or at least three times weekly to gradually improve flexibility.

If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try to do some stretching during short periods of the day.

To strengthen the hip flexors, you can lie face down on the floor and perform straight leg lift (one leg at a time), while keeping the arms on the floor along the torso.

This puts less strain on your lower back and is easier to do one at a time to begin with.

Another great hip flexion exercise is called Mountain climbers. For this exercise, do push-ups and bring each leg up to your chest. This can be done slowly to start or quickly as you gain strength and fitness.

Strong and flexible hip flexors

Therefore, hip flexors are relatively easy to do. If you’re doing any of these exercises, you’re likely already keeping your hip muscles strong and flexible.

If you don’t exercise, the exercises mentioned earlier will give you a place to start.

Combine these moves with gentle stretches of other muscle groups and some aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, biking, or swimming.

Remember to start gently and gradually increase the intensity, duration, and frequency of your sessions.

Not taking care of your hip flexors can lead to altered gait, posture problems, injury, and back pain.



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