If you spend much time sitting, chances are you have tight hip flexors.
When you hold your body in a “flexed” position — with your body bent at the hips to sit — those muscles can get really tight, paving the way for all kinds of issues.
I have a 30-second fix that can help.
In fact, there are two stretches I do every single morning for my tight hip flexors but they can be done at any point of the day.
Two 30-Second Fixes for Tight Hip Flexors
To do these exercises, you will need a heavy duty rubber band, which you can get on Amazon or at almost any fitness store.
1. Floss those hip flexors
You want to start this exercise — called “flossing” — in a standing position.
Wrap one end of the rubber band around something stable, like a sturdy table leg. Facing the table, wrap the other end around the top of your upper left thigh.
Then, get into a lunge position, with your left leg extended back behind you. Kneel with your left knee on the ground behind you and your right knee in front at a 90-degree angle.
Next, sit back nice and easy and allow your hip to be drawn forward, feeling a stretch along that left hip flexor.
As you’re doing this, make sure your back remains flat and upright. The key thing is to make sure you’re squeezing your left glute.
Why? Because when you squeeze the glute, it’s going to relax the tight hip flexor. You can sit back and allow your hip to be drawn forward several times to deepen the stretch.
To make the movement more advanced, get into an actual lunge with your rear knee elevated off the floor, and drop down and up.
Do about ten reps of the flossing movement on each side.
Immediately, you’ll feel those tight hip flexors open up. It’s amazing.
2. Couching It
Here’s a second stretch that will target those tight hip flexors.
First, kneel on the floor facing away from your couch. Plant your right knee on the floor, with the right foot up against the couch, getting the knee as close to the base of the couch as you can.
The more flexible you are, the closer you will be able to get your knee to the couch.
Keep your torso tall, core engaged and squeeze that right glute muscle.
If you want to take things a little bit further, you can do a little PNF — or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation — which is a fancy way of saying, “contract and relax.”
To do PNF on these muscles, push your foot into the couch and contract your quadriceps (front of the thigh) muscle. Then relax and sit back a little more. Keep repeating: contracting, relaxing, contracting, relaxing.
As you become more flexible, the gap here will shorten so that, ideally, your foot will be near your glutes. Hold this position for as long as you can: two minutes, four minutes; the longer, the better.
A second way to do this PNF stretch, if you don’t feel comfortable on the floor, is to put a pillow underneath your knee, or you can use the crease of your couch.
To use the crease of your couch, simply place your knee there and press your foot into the back of the cushion.
Otherwise, it’s a similar stretch. Sit back into it nice and tall, your core and torso engaged, squeezing the glute.
It shouldn’t be painful. You should feel a stretch, but you shouldn’t have tears coming out of your eyes.
Do a minimum of 30 seconds on each side.
Give it a shot and let me know how it goes!
Happy flossing! Your hip flexors will thank you, trust me.
Stiff and Sore to Loose and Limber
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Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.