Over the past 12 years, I’ve easily taught 20k fitness classes and private training sessions. If there’s one common theme that most people need to focus on >>> it’s the hip flexors, whether that’s stretching, strengthening, or both.
The hip flexors are the center of the body. Their primary job is to stabilize the pelvis and they absorb a lot of force when you walk, jump, or run. When they’re tight and/or weak, it can cause lower back pain, deactivated glutes and core, poor posture, and so many other body issues. It’s important to keep these muscles supple and strong. A lifestyle that promotes hours of prolonged sitting and inactivity are counterintuitive to doing that.
So, how can you counteract hours of sitting at work? Read on for some stretch and strengthening exercises to increase hip flexor mobility.
- Back-lying Half Wind
Lay on your back, draw one knee to the chest while extending the opposite leg long. Be sure to flex both feet. Hold 30 seconds and switch sides.
- Back-lying Figure Four
Lay on your back with both knees bent. Cross the right ankle over the left knee. Keeping the left knee bent, lift the left leg off the ground and pull it towards your chest. Be sure to keep both feet flexed. Hold 30 seconds and switch sides.
- Reclined Bound Angle
Lay on your back with both knees bent. Bring feet together and let the knees fall apart towards the floor. A block could be a great prop to place under the thighs for added support. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Kneeling Mermaid
Start seated with the right ankle by the right hip and the left ankle by the right knee. Bring the left hand under the left shoulder. As you exhale, press the hips forward and reach the right arm up. Hold 30 seconds and then switch sides.
- Step-back Lunges
Begin standing with feet parallel. Step the right leg back and bend the knee towards the floor. Press off the back leg to rise back to a neutral, parallel-leg position. Repeat on the other side. Complete 2 sets of 12 on each leg.
- Bulgarian Split Squats
Begin with your left leg elevated behind you on a bench or chair and your right leg directly under your hip. Bend the standing right leg and then slowly rise back to a standing position by pushing the floor away. Complete 2 sets of 12 on each leg.
- Sliding Mountain Climbers
Begin in a plank position with each foot on a gliding disc. Draw the right leg toward the chest and then extend and draw the left leg to the chest. Complete 2 30-second intervals.
- Stability Ball Leg Lifts
Begin seated on a stability ball with your hands on your hips. Be sure your calves aren’t touching the ball. Lift the right foot off the floor and hold it up for a 2-count. Then repeat with the other leg. Complete 2 sets of 12 on each leg.