This very important muscle is sometimes the cause of many problems. These groups of muscles assist in moving and flexing around the lower part of our bodies. The hip flexor muscles are located deep in the front of the hip and not easy to get hold of. When these muscles are overdeveloped, tight, stiff, and weak or short it can lead to pain and disfunction.
A lot of office workers that are mainly sitting during the day might experience stiffness and pain around the lower back or hip areas. This obviously can be very uncomfortable and even painful. This can also lead to bad posture, discomfort with walking, and sleep trouble, digestive problems, blood circulatory issues, always being tired with lack of performance in sport and many other conditions. There can be tightness, which will lead to a limited range of motion in the hips and lower back. Hip flexor tightness pulls the pelvis into a forward tilt which then pulls the lumbar spine out of its natural alignment. This in itself is a major issue for any individual.
Part of assessing posture is to analyze gait. Problems experienced with standing and walking for long periods, many times originate from weakness in the hip flexor muscles. Due to the stabilizing effect of the hip flexor group on the lower body, problems with posture as well as balance is the result. The hip joints and lower back areas are at risk when tightness or weakness, in the hip flexor muscles, are present. We are all aware that our entire system is connected and one problem can lead to many others. Many times when someone complains about a neck or shoulder problem, we can work our way down into the hip flexor muscle range.
Making sure we maintain a balanced preparation and training regime, is of utmost importance. the combination between pnf stretching, mobility exercises, fascia stretching, muscle activation movements, dynamic stretching, core stability exercises to name a few, needs to be well periodized and executed, to ensure safety and peak performance.
Obviously every day activities and lifestyle play major roles as in most of these muscle related problems. It is very clear that at the beginning of any exercise program an assessment needs to be done. Sometimes individuals merely follow instagram training programs without realizing who they are and what their bodies need. The millennial way of thinking is, if they can do it and look hot, so can I. My success with hundreds of football players and other athletes can be tracked back to their initial body assessments. Each individual is different, with different backgrounds, different hereditary aspects as well as training histories.
Next time we will be looking at some of the basic exercises and ways to ensure healthy hip flexors that are functioning properly.