Did you know that a portion of your hip flexors attach onto your lower spine? When they become tight they don’t just pull your hips up, they also pull your lower spine down, increasing the arch in your lower back. As a result, when you perform a typical hip flexor stretch, it is easy to end up pulling on your low back more and stretching your hip flexors less. So how do you prevent this from happening?
Keep your abdominal muscles engaged throughout the stretch. Squeezing your abs and your tummy tight will counteract the pulling of your hip flexors on your lower spine and keep you more stable. This will allow for the stretch to be redirected to your hip flexors. So how do you know if you are doing this properly?
The easiest way is to complete this stretch in a doorway, with your back flat against the wall. If your back does not stay flat against the wall while you stretch, you know that your low back is arching and you are pulling on your low back instead of your hip flexors. So if you keep your abs squeezed, your tummy tight, and your entire back against the doorway wall, you will feel a much greater stretch at the front of your hip and thigh, right where your hip flexor is located. Be sure to hold your stretch for at least 30 seconds and complete several repetitions!
The physical therapists at Castle Pines Physical Therapy offer one-on-one wellness sessions where they will create a routine to help you get back in shape safely. In these sessions, your physical therapist will show you the proper way to warm up before your workout and cool down after your workout so you avoid injury. This includes how to stretch properly. Contact us today at 303-805-5156, or visit our contact page on our website to make an appointment.