Sore Hip Flexor
Hip flexors are among the most important group of muscles in the body.
Their health and well being is essential for mobility and stability, especially in the lower body. They also play a key role in the prevention of the lower back, hip, and knee pain and injuries.
If hip flexors are uncared for, they become weak or stiff. This is usually a result of neglecting exercises that are aimed at building the hip strength. Many people with weak and tight hip flexors never realize it until it becomes a cause of health and mobility problems.
Hip flexor muscles
Hip flexors muscles are a group of seven body muscles that allow you to lift your knees and bend them towards the waist. The muscles also affect your ability to sit, bend, walk, run, kick and stand. The seven muscles include psoas, iliacus, adductor longus, adductor brevis, Sartorius, pectineus and rectus femoris.
The muscles form a bridge between the upper and the lower body. However, the psoas is the only muscle that actually connects the upper body to the lower body. It attaches to the vertebrae of the lower spine, goes through the pelvis and then attaches to the top of the femur. It is also attached to the diaphragm and is adjacent to major organs in the body.
A healthy psoas is vital because it supports hip stability, abdomen, the lower spine, and neutral pelvic alignment. It’s at times referred to as mighty psoas because of the critical role it plays in the activity of the body. When the psoas becomes weak or tightens, there can be serious health and wellness issues throughout the body.
The number one cause of unhealthy psoas is prolonged sitting. When you sit, your hip muscles are flexed, and knees are bent. Sitting for a long time may cause the flexed muscles to shorten and tighten. In addition to sitting, poor sleep posture and stress can also cause the weakness and shortening of the muscles.
A tight psoas muscle is a bigger problem than you may realize. First, it causes the lower back to curve inwards pushing out the stomach. This is one of the reasons you will find that some people have a protruding stomach despite regular exercise and a good diet. Second, a tight psoas muscle sends signals to the brain that you are in danger.
Under normal circumstances, the muscles tighten when want to run or are in danger. The tightening is facilitated by the release of adrenaline. Therefore when psoas is constantly tight, the adrenal glands are forced to overwork. This will affect the immune system which in turn activates the fat storing mode in the body. The third effect is that it pushes the hips forward and this pulls the lower back leading to decreased blood flow to the hips and surrounding areas. This can lead to poor sexual health.
Hip Flexor Exercises
The psoas muscle is buried deep inside your body and this is why most people neglect it when exercising. Since the muscles run deep, simple stretches are not effective in keeping them healthy and relieving tightness. However, you can easily achieve this with a variety of exercise techniques that touch on the muscle. Some of the movements that can be helpful include
Unlike traditional stretches, fascia stretching focuses on a large network of muscles, tendons and ligaments. The aim of this technique is lengthening and loosening the fascia.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching
PNF stretching is a form of flexibility training that focuses on stretching and contracting muscles. For hip flexor exercises, PNF stretching involves activating specific muscles so as to relax the muscles around a stiff joint. Caution should be taken with PNF stretching because if it is done wrong, it can cause add more stress to the targeted muscle.
Muscle Activation Techniques
Muscle activation techniques are good for increased strength, improved flexibility, and coordination. When you sit for long hours, the muscles stop working properly. This technique focuses on activating those muscles that are not working properly.
Mobility exercises improve range of motion for joints and muscles. It’s basic movements and exercises that will help the joints move more freely.
Dynamic stretching involves warming up a joint before moving it through a full range of motion. Doing so activates the muscle, improves range of motion, improves body awareness, increases endurance and enhances muscular performance.
3 Dimensional Core Stability Exercises
The human body is designed to work in 3 dimensions, sagittal, transverse and frontal. 3-dimensional core stability exercises target the muscles in all planes leading to increased strength, more stability and reduced risk of injury.
Proper functioning of hip flexor muscles is not only essential to prevent pain, but for the overall body wellness. When the muscles function well, you will be able to perform at peak, lose the unwanted body fat, maximize your workout routines, gain strength faster and improve your sexual health.