Yoga to Increase Hip Flexor-ibility

Focus on the Hip Flexor Muscle Group

yoga-1482810.jpgOne of the muscle groups that often experience the most tightness in our modern society is the hip flexors.  Sitting for long periods can cause these muscles to shorten up and become tight , leading to problems with posture and back pain. Several yoga poses are particularly good for loosening the hip flexors.

As a massage therapist, I often utilize yoga positions for helping my clients stretch while on the table, and often recommend clients with issues stemming from tight hips give yoga a try.  (Let pain be your guide: yoga should be approached gently. If your body says, “STOP!,” be sure to listen. And if you have any physical issues, it’s always best to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.)

English: Anterior Hip Muscles

The hip flexors refer to the group of muscles connected to the hip bone which collectively pull the femur up when we walk or run.  They are the muscles that raise the knee over and over when we walk, or any activity that requires the knee and upper leg to raise…and those hip flexors can get tight!  Sitting for long periods with the hip flexors in the shortened position only increases the problems we often see related to tightness in this set of muscles. And in our culture, we sit a lot, a posture in which the hip flexor muscles are at their shortest. While adding regular exercise is always a good idea, activities such as walking or running strengthens those muscles, but does not lengthen them.  If tight, this muscle group can become fatigued or achey when we take a long walk or run, because along with the muscles of the legs, they are doing some of the most important work in moving us forward!

I like to incorporate yoga poses into my weekly yoga sessions, which help stretch out the hip flexors. The video below is a favorite of mine. I practiced this Yoga for Runners flow (below) often while training for ultramarathons, and continue to find it valuable, even after injuries reduced my mileage from hundreds and fifties to 5K’s!  It’s a 25-minute routine produced by YogaDownload.  The instructions are clear with great tips for improving form in each of the poses.  It’s a great way to start of the week, so let’s get our yoga on!

Yoga for Runners by YogaDownload

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