If I asked you what was the most common cause of modern discomfort what would you guess? By far the most common issue is tight hip flexors.
Causes of Tight Hip Flexors
Our habits are mainly responsible for this tightness epidemic. People sit all day at work and then come home and sit all night watching TV or using a computer. This may not describe you exactly, but chances are you are sitting too much. Before industrialization took place people would be on their feet all day, which was normal and vital to proper muscle length.
The reason sitting is so bad for your Hip Flexors is because it puts them in a shortened position. If you also sit with bad posture you set yourself up for additional lower back pain and anterior pelvic tilt, which are separate but significant issues for many people. Getting back to your hip muscles, they will slowly shorten to accommodate what your body believes is a new default position, which is sitting.
The Consequences of Tight Hip Flexor Muscles
It starts with some discomfort when you are simply walking around normally. Your Hip Flexors are being stretched with every step you take, and each tug on them causes some minor pain and discomfort. This can affect your posture and lead to significant pain issues up and down your kinetic chain.
The problems get even worse if you are an athlete. The faster you run, the more stress and tension is placed on your main muscles like the Iliopsoas. So when you’re pulling your foot off the ground, your muscles are approaching their maximum length and you are at great danger of damaging them and tearing one of your muscles.
Obviously this is a bad thing, so let’s look at how it can be fixed.
Fixing Your Tight Muscles
Depending on the exact state of your muscles, there are different things you will need to do in order to fix your muscles.
Start doing these Hip Flexor stretches regularly. These will help in the opposite way that sitting shortens your muscles. By extending the muscles close to their limit, you will start resetting them to their natural length.
Use a foam roller on your Hip Flexors. Sometimes tight muscles can be caused by tight fascia, which is muscle structure tissue that holds many parts of your body in place. A foam roller, or deep tissue massage if you can afford it, will release any knots or damaged tissue.
Try to prevent further Hip Flexor tightness. You can do this by improving your posture, finding ways to sit less, and by doing short stretch routines throughout the day. If you only have time for one stretch, this is probably the best.
If you follow these three steps you should see amazing improvements in a few days or weeks.
If you want even more stretches to do for variety reasons, here are three advanced ones you can incorporate into your routine:
Be careful not to overdo it, expect it to take time for your muscles to gradually loosen.