There are 3 common mistakes that people make while stretching their hips. These mistakes make the stretches less effective and can make you more prone to injury. These are easily corrected mistakes and will allow you to take your stretching routine to the next level, lessening hip pain and increasing range of motion. Tight hip flexors are an extremely common source of back pain, so stretching them out properly is very important. Make sure to check out these 3 common mistakes and check out your form the next time you are stretching!
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#1 – Toeing Out
In a lunge position, pointing the toes out to the side makes the stretch ineffective and can lead to knee injury. This position will not give you the stretch that you are looking for in your hip flexor area, and is potentially dangerous for your joints. The shear stress on the knee joint can create lasting pain and injury that is easy to avoid by keeping both sets of toes pointing forward.
Both sets of toes should be pointing straight ahead as you come down into a lunge position.
#2 – Not Contracting the Glutes
Contracting your gluteus (bum) muscles will help to bring your hips forward and relax the hip flexor muscle. When we stretch, we want to contract the antagonist, or opposing muscle (in this case the glute muscles) in order to stretch the target muscle. If you do not feel a stretch while in a lunge position, try contracting your glutes. This should intensify the stretch on the front of the hip.
#3 – Misaligned Pelvis
Your pelvis should be in proper alignment to get more out of the stretch. This is called “squaring the hips” and means both hips should be pointing forward. Try placing your hands on your hips, and notice if one hand is further forward than the other. Usually, you need to pull the hip of the back leg forward in order to square the hips. This will help intensify the stretch and also protect your joints.
Try to avoid these 3 common mistakes to get the most out of your time stretching and to protect your joints. These alignment tips are not only helpful for stretching your hip flexors, but are good rules of thumb for all exercises. Keeping your hips square helps keep the body in alignment and protects your joints. Our glutes are often weak from sitting, and consciously contracting them can help balance out the muscle activity in the body and keep our joints healthier. Follow these 3 simple tips the next time you are stretching your hip flexors to get more out of your stretching routine.
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