In this tutorial, we will go over the target muscle, setup, form, and more for the Hip Flexor Stretch. For more workout tips, tricks, and information, follow me on Instagram @daniellehamlinor visit the Exercise Library :) Enjoy the video!
HIP FLEXOR STRETCH
Multi-Joint Movement Joint and Joint Type Involved: Hip (ball-and-socket joint)
Main Muscles Worked: Gluteus Maximus worked. Psoas Major, Iliacus, Rectus Femoris stretched.
Equipment: A mat
Prerequisites: Ability to contract the Gluteus Maximus to produce hip extension without pain, problems, or arching at the low back.
The hip flexor stretch is a static stretch that attempts to lengthen the group of muscles that cross over the hip joint. To get the most out of this stretch, it is imperative to contract the Gluteus Maximus. Engaging your Gluteus Maximus during this stretch will trigger reciprocal inhibition in the hip flexors and allow them to relieve as much tightness as they possibly can. This is going to feel as if it is a huge stretch! You may even notice that you cannot lean into the stretch as much with the glutes engaged. That is perfectly fine. Engaging your glutes will be more beneficial to the move. Before you attempt to do this exercise, be sure you can adequately contract your Gluteus Maximus to extend at the hip and not at the low back. Once you have demonstrated that you can sufficiently contract your glutes without any problems, you may be ready to contract your Gluteus Maximus against the resistance of your very own hip flexors. For this exercise, you will need a mat or something comfortable to kneel on.
1. To get started, drop to a kneeling position with one foot out in front. Make sure the hips, knees, ankles, and toes are all aligned. In this position, you may notice that you do not have the ability to balance. If that is the case, hold onto something to perform this move. The primary goal of this move is not to balance so do not waste your time and energy attempting to keep from falling over. Focus on the stretch in the hip flexors and focus on engaging the glutes only.
2. Establish your working range. Your range will only be as far as you can go with your glutes engaged. If at a certain point the stretch is too intense and you feel that you need to release the glute contraction, shift back to take some of the tension off of the hip flexors so you can maintain that glute engagement.
3. Stabilize. Before you begin the stretch, be sure to stabilize everything as much as possible. This will ensure that you are in alignment and focusing on lengthening the hip flexors.
Areas to stabilize:
- Brace with the abs to stabilize the spine and keep it in a neutral position. Do not let the lower back arch.
-Engage the gluteus maximus before leaning into the stretch. This will make sure that you are not going out of range.
-Utilize a chair, a wall, or anything else to eliminate any wobbling that may occur in this staggered, kneeling position.
4. To initiate the Hip Flexor Stretch, contract the Gluteus Maximus and begin to shift the hips forward. This is not a “leaning forward” move so do not attempt to collapse your torso to your thigh. Instead, keep an upright torso and think about scooping your tailbone underneath your body and toward the heel of your front foot. Focus on maintaining the contraction in the glutes.
5. Pause at the stretch to confirm the end of your range where you still have tension in the Gluteus Maximus but do not experience any pain, joint discomfort, or alterations in form.
6. Hold for 30 seconds and attempt to squeeze the glutes tighter and tighter as the seconds go by.
7. Once complete, switch sides and repeat these steps on the other leg.
If the kneeling position is too intense or your quads are too tight, you can modify this move by standing and keeping the feet closer together. Maintain the same hip position as you would if you were kneeling. Engage the glutes, keep an upright torso, and think about scooping the tailbone under and toward the heel of your front foot.