Hit the Hip Flexors
by Mike Giunta, DPT, CSCS >> Request an Appointment
Hip flexor length is a constant issue for athletes of every sport. Due to the increased demand and pressure on this area when sprinting, it's extremely important to understand the best way to get them loosened. Unfortunately, stretching is not always the sole resolution. Typically, either a muscle imbalance or positioning issue is the reason preventing hip flexor improvement. The glutes and the capsule surrounding the hip joint need attention and strengthening these areas will address the root problem. As you will see in these videos, it's important to maintain a neutral spine position by rounding out the pelvis in order to achieve the proper stretch to this area.
Full Length Hip Flexor Stretch (3 x 1 min each side)
Start by rounding the tailbone under the body. Kneeling on one leg, lift the foot whose knee is on the ground. Use a ball, wall or chair to obtain the position. Pull the heel as closely into the back side as possible and squeeze the glute on the side with the knee on the floor. Once this balance is found, reach up with the same side arm to pull at the hip flexor from both ends.
Runner's Stretch (3 x 1 min each side)
Start with one leg lunging in front and your same side hand grasping your front foot. Flatten the back by tucking the pelvis under and lift the back knee off of the ground. Straighten the knee as much as possible. From that position, lift your chest and the opposite arm as the leg in front, creating length along the entire chain.
Hip Flexion Lift Overs (3 x 5 reps each side)
Sitting with both legs straightened, place a kettlebell on the inside of one foot. Activate the front of that leg by pulling the toe towards you and tightening the quad. Create tension through the body by lifting the chest and tightening the abdominals. Lift that one leg up and over the kettlebell and slowly place it on the opposite side, then reverse the motion. If the kettlebell is too high, place it on its side or use something smaller, such as a lacrosse ball or a shoe. Slowly progress by increasing the height.
Advanced Hip Mobility (2 x 5 reps each side)
Start in the 90/90 hip position and create tension through the body by elevating the chest and tightening the abdominals. Internally rotate the back hip to lift the ankle off the ground. Continue to lift the entire leg off the ground, straighten the knee and then swing it out to the front. Place it on the ground in front of you to release the tension and then reverse the motion back to the starting position.
Try these out and let us know what you think in the comments section!