I want to show you today one of my kind of simple, but favorite exercises, for working on those bothersome hip flexors.
A lot of people talk to me about their psoas or the iliacus or whatever and you know “sitting is the new smoking” and everyone has tight hip flexors and all that. Maybe. Right, we’re still learning a lot and if you know anything about our brain-based approach, we don’t get hyperfocused on specific muscles often although obviously, they do contribute to movement issues.
So we have to look at them in the overall context. However, that said, I do know I’ve had many clients in the past, particularly after hip injuries, or hip surgeries, who did have some chronic issues with what we would consider hip flexor tightness and one of the best ways to really work on lengthening, those hip flexors, in a way that promotes long-term change is through what’s called dynamic eccentric lengthening. Which basically means that we’re going to put it under a little bit of load, and stretch it a little bit or mobilize it as its lengthening, as opposed to shortening.
So most people have already done versions of this particular exercise, but I want to show you a banded version. The way that we’re going to do this is I want you to do some pre and post-testing. So first thing you want to do is you just want to get an idea of how tight those hip flexors are. You can get into a kneeling lunge position. Remember, get, nice and tall, tuck your pelvis, so posterior tilt, drive forward, go forward as far as you comfortably can while maintaining that upright spine. Get an idea of your level of tension, check that on the opposite side.
So again come in posterior tilt, stay nice and tall, drive forward, adjust the foot if necessary to get an idea again, of what your right and left side hip flexors, currently feel like. Here’s the exercise. You’re going to use again a band. It doesn’t have to be a long band like this. This is just convenient for our setup here, but we really like this one. The way that we’re going to do this is we’re going to do a standing version of a dynamic eccentric lengthening process. We’re going to do that by adding some overhead load to this with the band. So I’m going to focus on my left side, all right? So in order to set this up, my left leg will be behind me. I’m going to try and keep the knee straight. I’m going to step into basically an anterior 45 lunge. Now from here, I’m going to get nice and tall and I’m going to posteriorly tilt the pelvis. So once again, do a posterior tilt. Should begin to feel some challenge or stretch in my left, in this particular case, my left hip flexors. Now what I’m going to do next is I’m going to take the band. It’s on my shoulder. I’m going to drive it forward and up over my head. All right, now once I’m in this position, I’m going to slowly drive forward to the count of five. Three, four, five. Tilt to my right one, two, three, four, five. And then rotate to my right. One, two, three, four, five. I’m also adding in some spinal extension. And then I’m going to pull this down to come out of it. So we only add the stress of the band as we are lengthening. Whenever we’re ready to come out of it, in other words we’re going to shorten, we want to take the band stress off.
All right so we’ll set that up one more time, nice and tall. Step forward, posterior tilt, band to the shoulder, push up and forward. Drive forward to the count of five. Tilt to the right, rotate, add some spinal extension. And we’re doing all of that quite slowly. Pull the band down to come out of it. So the total exercise should take you somewhere between 15 maybe 20 seconds you want to do that two or three times. You then go back and recheck your hip hip flexors. So posterior tilt and drive forward. And for most people, what they’ll find is that they have significantly increased their range of motion. Here’s the big key. Set a timer and check it again in 30 minutes. That’s why I like this particular exercise.
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