Let’s Start With Some Basic Anatomy
The hip flexor group is a group of muscles that attach from either your
- lumbar spine
- femur (thigh bone)
> These muscles are vital in maintaining a strong, mobile and properly aligned low back and hip girdle.
The hip flexors are comprised of
- the Iliopsoas group made of the Psoas and Iliacus
- the Rectus Femoris,
- Adductor group (brevis, longus, magnus/minimus)
> as you can see many muscles make up this very important group.
Now that the boring anatomy part is more or less coveted, -(well, I find it exciting)-let’s get into the:
Implications of Tight Hip Flexors.
The hip flexor’s main function is to help the hip joints move properly through their full range of motion.
Their main job in a movement sense; is to draw your legs toward your torso – and fold you up like a suitcase, right at the hip crease.
They are also involved in moving your legs from side to side, and – some what paradoxically – healthy hip flexors will even assist in hip extension.
The hip flexor is the muscle group that connects your legs to your torso,
> allows your legs to move in conjunction with your torso,
> and serves to stabilize your hips and lower body – keeping the joints of your pelvis and lumbar spine stable.
If the hip flexors are overdeveloped, or tight, or too stiff, or too short – you may experience referred pain in the hip or back.
You may experience:
- Limited range of motion in the low back and hips– as a result of the hip flexors pulling your pelvis into an unnatural (anterior tilted) position
- this will put your lumbar spine in jeopardy, and increase the likelihood of chronic pain.
Since the hip flexor group is the major stabilizing factor in the lower body,
- If one of them are weak – you will experience a lack of balance (which is strength) – and potentially some postural issues as well.
- You may experience trouble standing, walking for long periods or problems with walking and running gait cycle.
Keep em’ healthy – with a constant combo of strength and mobility work
needs to be done DAILY…
….since there are so many separate muscles in the hip flexor group, and because there are several different directions of muscle fibre insertion / origin and alignment,
there are also many subtle angle changes and position changes that can be utilized in order to address all issues related to this muscle group.
For an in depth list of these exercises stay tuned for future blogs!
A few examples:
- hanging leg raises
- Active straight leg raise
- ‘kneeing sprinter stretch’
- various ‘Flow-Movements‘
One thing you must keep in mind-
Simply doing an exercise, or holding a certain posture or stretch will not magically make your hip flexor issues disappear!
– This is because there are a myriad subtle coaching cues and virtually imperceptible changes in body position and mindset that can make or break your hip flexor stretch or strengthening exercise.
On that note,
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