How to Stretch Chronically Tight Hips

The topic of chronically tight hips has come up. In this case, the hip flexors are excessively tight. The hip flexors are also the quads, or quadriceps, but in a different place. People talk about the quads when they mean the belly, or bulgy part, of the muscles. When people talk about the hip flexors, they usually mean at the top of the thigh. This is the origin of the quads or the top end of the attachment to bone.

In this case, the hip flexors are attached to the ASIS (anterior superior iliac spine). The ASIS is part of the pelvis. The hip flexors start here and flex the hip or, actually, the thigh bone relative to the pelvis through the hip joint.

This is a case of knowing how to properly stretch a muscle. If you want to stretch the hip flexors up near this origin site, then you have to set up the stretch correctly.

One way to do this is through a lunge position.  First stand with your feet parallel and hip distance apart and keep your pelvis in neutral or slightly tucked under.  Then move one foot forward about two feet but in line with its starting position.  If the forward foot is directly in front of the back foot, there’s no base of support and you’ll lose your balance.

Now bend the front leg, keeping the back leg as straight as you can, and push the hip joint of the back leg forward while lungeing.  Be sure to keep your pelvis tucked under throughout the stretch.  If you don’t maintain your pelvic position or alignment, you won’t get the stretch.  You can hang onto something to maintain your balance.

This can also be done in a doorway.  Stand with your back to the doorjamb facing the other side of the doorway or other doorjamb.  The standing foot needs to come away from the doorjamb about 15 inches or so.  Keeping your lower back flat and pressing into the doorjamb, reach back with the other foot and curl your toes under.  Then, keeping your lower back touching the doorjamb and your pelvis tucked under, press your back heel back, away from you.  The doorjamb gives you tactile feedback so that you know if you’re in the correct position or not with your pelvis tucked under.

Bending the front leg more and sinking closer to the floor can deepen the stretch.  Make sure that your knee is directly over your ankle so that the ankle joint is never less that 90 degrees.  If your knee goes too far forward over the ankle or, worse, over the toes, you’ll put too much strain on the ankle.

About Laurie Higgins

I play with clicker training - with my horses, dogs, and cats. I also attempt to grow vegetables with the hope of one day being able to feed my family from my garden. My daughter and I are learning ballroom dancing. Well, we were. But she left me for a paying horse job, so now my husband and I are learning ballroom dancing. I'm also now helping Peggy Hogan, of Clicker Training Horses (and The Best Whisper is a Click) to teach people how to train their own horses using "clicker training".
This entry was posted in Fitness, Pilates, Pilates, Riding & Fitness, Riding Fitness, Riding Pilates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to How to Stretch Chronically Tight Hips

  1. Pingback: A Little Slice Of Heaven « consumedbywanderlust

  2. hunterjudge says:

    Laurie. Thank you for this complete explaination of the muscles and how they work and how to improve their working abliities.

  3. You’re welcome! Not too much anatomy? 🙂

  4. Thanks for this reminder Laurie,

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