Many of us are forced to spend the majority of our working day in a seated position, in addition to sitting too much in general. Because of this, tight hip flexors are a common occurrence.
Decreased flexibility in the hip flexor muscle group can lead to low back pain and anterior hip pain. As I’ve mentioned previously, I believe it is important to change positions frequently throughout the day i.e. standing up, walking around the office, or working in a standing position in an attempt to keep muscles from getting too tight and stiff. I also recommend incorporating stretching into your daily routine.
1.Here are a couple ways to stretch the hip flexor muscle group. They are listed from least difficult and most gentle, to more challenging and intense. Supine stretch: Lay on back at edge of bed. Let leg gently hang off the side of the bed. Relax muscles and maintain position for a minimum of 30 seconds. Repeat with other leg on opposite side of the bed. Try to maintain neutral spine/natural curves of spine throughout. If you feel pulling in your low back, use short step stool to support hanging leg. If pulling in back continues, try one of the other options.
2. Prone stretch: Lay on stomach, relax as much as possible and maintain position for a minimum of 60 seconds. Laying on your stomach allows the muscles to gently elongate. If your muscles are very tight, this may be uncomfortable. Start with small amounts of time and gradually increase as tolerated for max benefits. (Arms can be wherever you are most comfortable.)
3. Standing stretch: Stand in front of a chair then place desired lower leg/foot on a chair so that thighs are even and knee is flexed so lower leg is resting behind chair. Stand up tall and gently engage buttock to bring hips forward and increase stretch as needed. Hold for minimum of 30 seconds then switch legs.
4. Kneeling/“Couch stretch”: Position self in a lunge position with torso as upright as possible, engage glute (butt) muscles and gently lean hip forward to open hip of the down knee. Hold for minimum of 30 seconds and then switch. If you need to intensify stretch, do against couch with lower leg of down knee against the front of the couch so that foot is pointed towards ceiling. *Always engage glutes to protect back- do not arch back.