The hip flexors support the pelvis and provide dynamic stability for the hips, legs, and spine. They are also a group of muscles that most people tend to neglect. Hip flexor stretches are an excellent way to increase range of motion and strength in this area, improving posture and reducing the risk of injury during activities such as running or climbing stairs.
Tonight I am coming to you from my holidays. I am on holiday here in the Victoria area of British Columbia.
My wife put the kids to sleep, and I headed outside to a local park to do this quick video. I wanted to chat about a Tweak to the Common Hip Flexor Stretch.
A common stretch that people end up doing and how I end up tweaking it to get more out of it is called the 90/90 Hip Flexor Stretch.
It is when you kneel, and the back leg, ankle, knee, and hip are at 90 degrees, and the front leg, ankle, knee, and hip are at 90.
90/90 Hip Flexor Stretch
From the side, you see it as 90/90, and then from the front. I want to ensure that I have the knee in line with the hip. The front leg, the back leg, and the knee are in line with the hip.
That ends up being the starting position that I want. I will brace the abdominal area to prevent any change in the curvature of my low back.
The curvature in my low back stays the same. It locks down my pelvis and allows me to get a better stretch, specifically through the rectus femoris or the most superficial quadriceps muscle. I am looking at getting that stretch in the rectus femoris. Starting with bracing through my stomach, then contracting my glute, and then bringing my hips forward.
What often will end up happening is people will not look at that back leg and how much that back leg is rotated in and out. Many people will end up having that heel inwards, and their thigh is externally rotated when they do the stretch. They won’t feel much from the stretch.
Give that a go the next time you do a 90/90 hip flexor stretch. You often end up moving into that comfortable position, that normal position, and then going into the stretch.
Bring that Heel Out During the Stretch
One other tweak you can do is bring that heel out during the stretch or even sometimes bring that heel in when doing that stretch. Sometimes that will move the stretch more into the vast medialis and adductor muscles.
I will show it to you from behind. When looking at the foot straight ahead, I have more rectus femoris, adductor, and vastus medialis contractions if I bring that heel in and stretch.
And if I bring that heel out, I have more of that vast lateralis, rectus femoris, IT band, and tensor fasciae late.
When you next perform the 90/90 hip flexor stretch, consider altering it to focus on different hip flexor muscles by bringing that heel in and out.
If you are looking for a program to help you with your tight hip flexors, you can look at the program that I called Fixing Tight Hip Flexors.
Take care and bye-bye.
Rick Kaselj, MS.