5 Exercises To Release Tight Hip Flexors
Having tight hips can be an impediment to any workout from boxing to running, weight-lifting and everything in between. Thanks to prolonged periods of sitting and not stretching correctly, over time most of our hip flexors begin to experience tightness and shortness. This in effect, impacts us not only in our workouts but in everyday life as it can affect our posture, which inadvertently can contribute to back pain. Fortunately, there are strengthening exercises and stretches you can do every day to rectify the tightness in your hips. Try these five exercises to release your tight hip flexors.
Please always remember to consult with a professional before attempting any new exercise or stretch in case you have a pre-existing condition or have suffered from an injury.
For anyone who has ever taken a yoga class you may be familiar with something called the ‘Butterfly Pose.’ The Butterfly Pose has an array of benefits from releasing tight hip flexors to stretching the lower back, to loosening your hamstrings and helping to alleviate menstrual cramps. Start in a seated position with your feet extended in front of you. Then bring your legs toward your body so that the soles of your feet meet and your knees fall to the side. Clasp your toes with your hands and gently pull yourself forward toward them. Allow your head to hang down. Hold for 10-20 seconds and release before repeating 2 more times.
A bridge pose is a stretching and strengthening exercise that can be done just about anywhere you have enough space to lay down. This pose not only stretches your hips, neck, and spine but it simultaneously strengthens your hamstrings, back, and bum. Also, it improves the blood circulation in your body and can aid digestion. Lie on your back with your arms by your side, your knees bent and your feet planted on the ground. You should be able to touch your heels with your fingertips. Press down into your feet and lift your hips off the ground toward the ceiling- squeeze your bum while doing so and push your shoulders as close together as they will go beneath your body. Hold for a few seconds and lower back down onto the ground. Repeat 5-10 times.
Happy Baby Pose
While a ‘Happy Baby Pose’ may look a little funny, it feels amazing and has a ton of benefits. This pose not only stretches and opens up the hips, groin and inner thighs, but it also releases the lower back and stretches an individual’s hamstrings. Lie on your back and bring your knees into your stomach. Grab onto the outsides of your feet with your hands and open your legs so that your knees become slightly wider than your torso. Gently guide your opened legs up toward your armpits. Make sure that your ankles are in line with your knees and your shins are perpendicular to the floor as your flex through your heels. Push your feet into your hands to create more of a stretch. Hold for 20 seconds and release. Repeat 2-3 times.
Lunges are a great way to strengthen your hip flexors while toning your bum and legs. Stand with your feet slightly apart and take a large step forward with your right foot. Bend your right knee and lower yourself into a lunge position so that your right knee is directly above your right ankle, your right thigh is perpendicular to the floor, and your left knee is hovering above the ground behind you. Step back into your original standing position and repeat on your left leg. Do 20 lunges on each side.
If you have ever taken a class at Big Hit, you are probably well acquainted with mountain climbers. But for those of you that aren’t, mountain climbers are excellent for exercising several joints and muscle groups at once, which improves your mobility as well as strengthens your hips, glutes, legs, and hamstrings. Start in a push-up position with your arms extended to the ground, your palms planted in line with your arms and your legs extended behind you. Bend your right knee toward your chest then bring it back and plant it next to your left foot, then draw your left knee into your chest. Alternate your legs for 1 minute and pick up the speed as you begin to feel more comfortable. As you get stronger, you can increase the duration of this exercise.
Title image via: www.yogatwins.ca