T Nation

Hip Flexor Stretch - Need Some Tips...


#1

I sit for 300 hours a day and feel like my hips are tight as fiz. When I stand up, there are times I can't even posture up to vertical comfortably/smoothly. When I walk, my gait doesn't have much range of motion. Here is what I've been doing: Chad Waterbury's hip flexor stretch a-la "marriage proposal stance." After hanging out there for a minute or longer (I've worked up to 3), I have to get my la-maz on to breath my way out of the stretch... I feel like it's super weak! I also notice when I get in this position that I have to flex my glutes to keep my lower back from cramping. Interesting side note - my left hip is sore, but I feel like I cannot isolate the stretch on the right side well?

Most noticeable - playing basketball I cannot gather on the run to jump off of my right foot... when planting the left, it's like I'm sticking down a Pirates of the Carribean peg leg instead of a loaded spring to transfer my weight for the right foot to take off. I've been surfing the net like Patrick Swayze in Point Break (I couldn't think of a pro surfer, get off me!), and can't find anything beyond, "if it's tight, do this split stance stretch."

WHAT COMES NEXT FOR THIS? I'm working on Hip Flexor 101, but I think I need the next level!


#2

PS - I appreciate any tips, but please skip the "basics:"

1 - I foam roll and warm up... which by the way I have to sadly admit I'm at a 24 Hour Fitness where I'm the only one stretching and people look at me like I'm from Twilight when I start doing dynamics. They have only one squat rack... on the other hand, I'm happy to admit that Monday's are National Bench Day there, so I do legs and have that whole area to my lonesome... I digress :wink:!

2 - Been working 3rd World Squat... I notice with this and leg sled (AFTER squats - had to throw that in there for the street cred.) I cannot get "depth."

3 - Glute activation

4 - Core is in check. I could be a Trex deck sales rep b/c I've got planks on lock down!

Other than that, fire away as I'd love to outsmart this issue! ... got the dedication, need the education! Thanks all. -T


#3

I apologize if this counts in the "basics", but I've had great results from using a swiss ball to stretch. Not a joke. I put my foot on a swiss ball behind me and then plant my knee on the ground (a towel helps to reduce the pressure). This flexes the knee joint while also extending the hip. I also keep my spine upright instead of leaning forward and I really hit the flexors hard this way.

Interested to hear more feedback from the nation on this one.

Cheers,
Technoviking


#4

Thanks Techno, that is a new one for me. So the front foot is not planted?... I need to be on the knee (on a towel)? I think I'm going to have to use a swiss ball the size of a golf ball to pull this off (kidding man)? I will have to try it out and let you know after a few days/weeks. I didn't mean to offend anyone either w/ the "basic" comment, I'm sure there are some "basics" I'm missing. I should have said, xyz is what I'm already doing, does anyone have any other ideas :wink: ?

Thanks again for the advice!

Cheers,

Teewhy


#5

Yeah sorry I left that out. Front foot is planted and back knee is planted. It's essentially the same stretch you outlined with the addition of the ball, which serves to really flex the knee and extend the hip on the back leg.

Hope it helps!


#6

One thing I've added in that I think is helping is kettlebell swings. It is too early to say that it's "the answer," but it doesn't seem to make things worse/tighter, and I think it's improving my posture a bit. I've decided to go the repititious route over heavy weight (as I expect my form is more important than the weight... and I'm new to the bell thing, so don't want to have my back and arms cheating me out of putting the work on my hips). Just a thought for others to try... and I'm doing it w/ a dumbbell, not kettlebell, so no excuses!


#7

Have you thought about ART?


#8

I went to a P.T. a few times and he dug in to my psoas... seemed to help some. Any idea how I hit this area on my own, or is this not safe (organs, arteries, nerves, etc)?


#9

Glute bridges and x band walks supersetted with Rectus femoris quad stretch.

then progress to hip thrusts supersetted with the same stretch or a psoas stretch. throughout the day squeeze the shit outta your glutes while you are just standing up.

Are you training abs properly?
Anti-rotation/anti-lateral flexion and anti extension movements?


#10

I drive for a living, so I feel your pain. What's helped for me is frequent stretching (2-3 times a day), dynamically during the day and statically at night. When I stretch my hip flexors, I use the same side hand to flex the knee (I was told this helps rectus femoris) and I flex the glute hard, and try to force the bottom of the pelvis through and up (hope that makes sense). Single legged bridges are a barometer for me, I use them as part of my warmup. If you're sitting for a long time, you're probably experiencing tissue creep, so get up as often as possible (15-20 minutes if you can), stand up really straight, and flex your glutes as hard as you can. When I do finally get a chance to walk, I really try to really push my hip range of motion, I feel that this has helped immensely.


#11

Thanks guys, I will implement all suggestions.

Possibly related? I deadlifted this evening at the gym, and notice that I have a very hard time getting to the bottom position. I'm leaning forward and am scraping the heck out of my shins with the bar on the way up. I feel like I could pull a ton more weight than I have been able to... trying to sit as far back as possible and really push through my heels, but I just can't seem to go vertical. I feel like if I was using a trap bar, this would eliminate the scraping, BUT would not solve my poor flexibility and posture. I'm still able to pull w/ a neutral spine (not bad enough forward to have to round my back to get it), but not from a position where I can really load up the bar.

Do you guys think more reps and just taking more time will help to improve my flexibility (vs. being counterproductive until I am more flexible and able to perform them better)? I was stretching hip flexors between sets and had done a few 3rd world squats to loosen up prior to my workout (amongst other warm up exercises).

Thanks again. I haven't cured my issue yet, but I sure have learned a lot and appreciate all of your time!


#12

Also - when I was going to PT, I failed the crap out of the Ober Test (repeatedly, even upon being done w/ my final session there I was still hovering about the table). We worked:

1 - Core strength
2 - knees to chest stretch
3 - marriage proposal stretch
4 - IT Band strech
5 - Glute stretch
6 - Foam roll IT & Glute.


#13

i've had chronic hip flexor tightness since I started lifting as well. I would highly recommend investing in a LACROSSE BALL...put it on a hard floor and pin it between the floor and your hip flexor. Roll it around the tight spots (and make sure no one's around and your shades are shut cuz it'll look like you're humping the ground.) Foam rolling is peanuts to the type of deep tissue work you'll induce with a lacrosse ball this way.

Also, add these. Who says you can't increase ROM while you're actually lifting?


#14

awesome, thanks! I hadn't considered the bulgarian split (I have a hard time dropping down in a regular lunge when my left leg is the trailing leg), I'm sure this will help!