Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves….everyone has heard of these muscles and their function, BUT have you heard about your hip flexors, adductors/abductors, and the gluteus maximus?
If so I applaud you! Working out these “forgotten” leg muscles can relieve back pain, improve balance, prevent injuries, AND (drum roll please) increase your power in explosive leg movements!
Where to begin….ahhh the hip flexors! The hip flexors connect to your lower spine, come around the front, and connect to your femur. Many people’s hip flexors are strung as tight as a banjo…or, in other words, they are tight.
Many athletes, gym goers, and everyday Joe’s feel tightness at the front of their legs that inhibits them to complete movements effectively and
stunts their ability to compete. Tight hip flexors can also be a cause of lower back pain because the muscles are putting unnecessary stress on the lower lumbar!
More often than not people try to solve back pain with other remedies rather than fixing the very thing that is leading to the pain!
Along with hurting your back, tight hip flexors can also lead to bad posture. Tight or weak hip flexors can also lead to anterior pelvic tilt.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding what exactly causes tight hip flexors, but one thing they all agree on is that they are tightened and are shortened from harmful activities. From my research, I concluded that it is not one activity that causes tight hip flexors, but instead many (such as the ones listed above).
It differs from person to person, but what I did find is that stretching and strengthening these bad boys does wonders and usually fixes the tightness after a few weeks (for others it may take more time), and can also help with anterior pelvic tilt as well as help with running and walking mechanics (A).
Power and speed. Athletes and gym rats
search for these gems far and wide. Look no further, for you have found the answer. Squats, deadlifts, and power cleans are hands down the best ways to develop power and speed, but if you’re trying to get that extra edge strengthening and stretching your hip flexors can help you get ahead.
(B) In a study, runners did a hip flexor resistance program for 8 weeks and after the 8 weeks the individuals in the study increased their hip flexion strength by 12% and decreased their shuttle times by 3% and 9%. Yup. Hip flexors are amazing.
Here are some stretches to help “un-glue” them. These are some of my favorite stretching routines! They helped relieve pain in mine after a week!
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Stretching is just half of the solution, strengthening your hip flexors can improve balance, prevent injuries, and make you more explosive and faster.
Having weak hip flexors can lead to instability in the pelvis (causing it to tilt), may cause knee problems, may lead to other lower extremity injuries (especially athletes and runners) and causes tons of other problems!
Save yourself the pain and make sure you work them out!! Luckily for you, I’ve got a free 1-week strengthening routine you can try out that has a great hip flexor exercise! Subscribe NOW to get a free hip flexor strengthening program for 1 week!!