When we talk about Hip and Hip Flexor mobility, it essentially refers to the flexibility of the joint, which is highly related to the tightness of the muscles involved in Hip flexion. Poor mobility can lead to discomfort, long-term pain and can impact athletic performance, but can be fixed fairly easily.
Causes of Poor Hip Flexor Mobility
As briefly touched upon, having tight muscles can make it difficult to achieve a great range of motion of your Hip. Another common cause is tight or damaged fascia. Fascia is like a sheath of muscle tissue that hold other structures like veins and vessels in place around a certain area. Your Hip region has many large fascial components. These can restrict your movement if they become malformed or if they are damaged from repeated trauma.
Improving Hip Flexor Mobility
We are going to tackle Hip mobility with a combination of stretching, strengthening and soft-tissue work, but in a different way than treatment for most Hip Flexor injuries.
1. Rolling on a Ball
Find a lacrosse ball, baseball or anything similar to use here. There are two methods you can use here, I recommend trying them both. Either:
a) Roll on top of the ball over your Hip Flexor muscles, as shown below in the video
b) With a tight muscle sitting on top of the ball, perform some gentle relevant Hip Flexor stretches. This is very similar to active release technique (A.R.T.), a very effective way to improve soft-tissue.
2. Spiderman Stretch
Here’s a stretch that resembles a common yoga asana that is great for stretching the Hip joint, called the spiderman stretch. Start by getting into a lunge position and then slowly coming forward onto your hands, or if you can manage your forearms. Try to keep your Hips relatively level to feel the stretch.
3. Full Squats
Here’s a way to combine both stretching and strengthening to improve your joint mobility. Start with full bodyweight squats, which are great by themselves, and progress to add weight if desired later. It not only deepens the stretch, but is a great general strengthening exercise as well. To increase the stretch, place your elbows on the insides of your thighs/knees and gently press out.
If you regularly do all of those three things, you will notice a marked improvement in your Hip Flexor mobility. As always, take it slow and be patient with the results, it will take several sessions to get the results you want.