4 HIP FLEXOR STRETCHES TO ADDRESS ACHING HIPS AND TO HELP AVOID INJURY TO OTHER PARTS OF THE BODY
It’s no secret that sleeping in a strange position will cause aches in the body; and for side-sleepers those pains often turn up in the hips. “To avoid injuries from happening in the first place, side sleepers should place a pillow between the legs at knee level to keep the body aligned and avoid injury,” says Dr. Todd Sinett, a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist.
For those suffering already though—whether your hip pain is caused from sleeping or another incident— Dr. Sinett stresses the importance of addressing the issue immediately.
“When the hip flexors get tight, they pull on the pelvis, creating pelvic and hip instability. This can result in knee, hip, and lower back pain,” Dr. Sinett notes.
For immediate help, Dr. Sinett created the below hip stretches in tandem with the Backbridge fitness tool.
What are Hip Flexors?
The hip flexors are a group of skeletal muscles that act to flex the femur (thigh bone) onto the lumbo-pelvic complex, so that you can perform motions like pulling your knee upward. There are two parts:
1. Iliopsoas or inner hip muscles
2. Anterior compartment of the thigh
–Rectus femoris (part of the quadriceps muscle group)
4 Stretches for Hip Flexors
#1 Illiopsoas and Illiacus Stretch
Straighten one leg over the Backbridge so that the kneecap rests on the highest point and the top of your foot touches the mat. Position the other leg in front of the Backbridge, bending your knee at a 90-degree angle in a lunge position. With your hands on the mat on either side of your forward foot, lean your body weight forward to stretch the hip flexors in the front of the back leg.
#2 Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch
From the last stretch, lift your torso up and raise your arm opposite your bent knee above your head. Arch back, looking towards the ceiling. Maintain the action of reaching your tailbone to the mat to avoid crunching in the low back. Repeat both stretches on the opposite side.
#3 Pigeon Pose (Hip Flexor and Piriformis Stretch)
Using level 1, 2 or 3 of the Backbridge (level 3 giving you the deepest stretch), place one leg, below the knee, on the Backbridge keeping it extended straight behind you. Bend the oppo- site knee beneath you in front of the Backbridge. The closer the shin is to parallel with the front of the mat, the more intensely you will feel this stretch. There are three different variations of this stretch: 1. sitting up tall, 2. leaning forward onto your forearms, and 3. lying forward with your arms stretched out. Try the different modifications to see which variation works best for you or use all three. You can also move the Backbridge closer to you, placing it under the buttocks and thigh of your forward, bent leg (as pictured in the second series below). The higher the level of the Backbridge in this position, the easier the stretch will be. Repeat on the opposite side.
Place levels 1 and 2 of the Backbridge under one knee and levels 3 and 4 under your other knee. Your knees should be a bit wider than hip width, depending on your flexibility. Bring your feet off the floor and click your heels together in the air behind you. With your body in a modified push up position, lean forward to stretch the front of your quadriceps and hip flexors.
Want more rewarding stretches for the rest of your body?
Refer to Dr. Sinett’s book The Ultimate Backbridge Stretch Book.