Part of maintaining a healthy amount of looseness in your hips is regularly doing Hip Flexor stretches. Overall though, stretching simply corrects issues you have developed, and if you didn’t develop them in the first place, stretching in theory would not be needed. This article will cover how you can minimize the need of stretching by preventing tight hip flexors.
Background: How Muscles Become Tight
All muscles have a natural length that they should be. This allows them to maintain a good combination of flexibility and strength, which is balanced by their opposing muscles.
But when muscles are held in a shortened or lengthened position for a period of time, they have a tendency to increase or decrease in length accordingly. This can lead to an imbalance where one muscle is tight and the opposing one is loose. Imbalances lead to pain and injuries, and can take a long time to correct.
Also note that the more stress applied at that unnatural length, the faster this process will happen. This is why you don’t stretch just a little bit, but you stretch to the limits of discomfort (being careful not to cross over to pain).
Hip Flexors in particular primarily become tight from sitting for extended periods of time, because those muscles are in a shortened position. This is all too common in our modern lives, especially for those that have office jobs and then find themselves sitting in front of a computer or television afterwards.
Prevent Tight Hip Flexors With Good Habits
If you really want to have healthy Hip Flexors, you’re going to need to dedicate some effort to develop good habits, especially at work.
Here are some actionable things you should begin doing:
Take a break every 30 minutes or less of sitting and walk around for at least five minutes. Stretching is encouraged if possible, but even taking long strides will help.
Avoid slouching over; this puts the Hip Flexors in an even shorter position and will encourage tightening. Good posture is key.
Regularly perform hip flexor exercises with a full range of motion. As mentioned earlier, more stress at extreme muscle lengths will speed up the desired lengthening process.
Stretch often, even if it’s just for a few minutes a few times a day.
Minimize your sitting time. If you have the option for a standing desk or can find something to do at home other than sitting, you should take it.
- Use a foam roller on your Hip Flexors. A foam roller will break up any scar tissue and loosen deformed or tight fascia that is limiting your flexibility.
If you do all of these things, or even just a few, you will be on your way to healthy Hip Flexors that rarely get tight and cause you discomfort or pain.