Repetitive motions over time can change the positioning of your body. When a muscle contracts, it shortens bringing the two points closer together. It is only when you rest, the muscle returns to its normal length, and the two points move farther away.
Your hip flexors are a group of muscles (mainly, your iliopsoas, sartorius, pectineus, tensor fasciae latae and quads) that run down the front of your hips and thigh, and attach to your spine, pelvis and femur. They allow you to lift your knees to your chest while maintaining a stable spine and pelvis. However, when they get tight, those muscles not only become less effective, they also cause the opposing muscle group — aka the hip extensors, made up of your glutes, hamstrings and other hip muscles — to slack off. Long hours of sitting leave your hips in a “flexed” position. Therefore, the muscles that flex your hips are in a shortened state. We probably spend at least a third of our day sitting down.
Think about how much time those hip flexor muscles stay shortened. A lot. Over time, they become tighter and tighter. So you need to perform the stretches mentioned below to avoid pain.
1. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Drive your hip forward and your knee into the ground. Your iliopsoas muscle, one of the main hip flexors, is a deep muscle that requires isometric activation to stretch it.
2. Pigeon Stretch
Bring the heel of your front leg to the pants pocket on your other leg. This will align your hips and allow you to drive them into the floor, accentuating the stretch.
3. Spider-Man Stretch
Take a wide lunge stance and drive the hip of your down leg across your body when you rotate.
4. Hip Flexor Mobilization
Press the foam roller or lacrosse ball into the crease of your hip. Apply pressure as needed and roll the roller or ball back and forth to break up the tissue. When you find a spot that’s tender, focus on it and apply even more pressure to help release the tightness.
5. Leg Swings, Forward & Lateral
Hold yourself against a wall or rail. Swing your leg forward and laterally, maintaining good posture. Focus on dynamically stretching your hip.
Take note: If one of your hip muscle isn’t working the right way, your body is going to adapt to it. You’ll use different muscles, your gait and posture may change. And as a result, you put yourself at risk of aches, pains and potentially more serious injury.