Sitting Down A Lot? Stretch It Out With This Hip Flexor Exercise
The unfortunate truth is most of us sit way more than the body was ever intended to sit. And this can lead to all sorts of aches, like stiff hips, lower-back pain, and poor posture. For an easy way to help mitigate the effects of sitting, it's super important to work in hip flexor stretches—such as this one, demonstrated by certified personal trainer Danielle Gray.
How to stretch the hip flexors:
- Start in a kneeling position.
- Press your right heel into the floor bringing the leg to a 90-degree angle. Tuck the toes of your left foot under, with the left leg also forming a 90-degree angle.
- Tuck your pelvis slightly forward and engage the core.
- Squeeze your rear glutes, and imagine you're dragging the front heel and back knee closer together.
- Reach the left arm up as high as you can and lean slightly toward the right.
- Maintain engagement. Hold for 1 minute.
- Repeat on the other side.
Tips to keep in mind.
- Try to keep the hips as square as possible.
- Keep the front knee straight in line with the hip.
- Squeeze where the hamstring meets the butt for some extra glute action.
What are the benefits?
When we sit for prolonged periods of time, our hips are constantly in "flexion" mode, or forward and up. This can shorten the psoas, or the muscle that connects your lower back to your upper thigh. (Hello, lower-back pain!) But when we do this stretch, our hips are able to extend, helping to loosen them up.
Not only can this help reduce hip tightness and lower back pain, but it can also loosen up the knee joints. If you deal with hip pinching or popping, it helps with that, too. And for the athletes among us, regular hip flexor stretching can help you get into the splits, achieve longer strides, and decrease your risk of injury.
However you choose to stretch out your hips, just be sure to do it regularly—especially if you sit a lot. This stretch is super simple, takes only a couple of minutes, and has a ton of benefits. Keep it in mind next time you need to take a break from your desk.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.