top of page

Why You Should Pay Attention to Your Hip Flexors and Hamstrings

yoga class

Chronic Shortening and Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Persistent shortening of hip flexors can lead to an increased anterior pelvic tilt, particularly harmful to the discs, especially in the L5-S1 region. The tight iliacus muscle and other hip flexor muscles contribute to this anterior pelvic tilt.


Workplace and Home Dynamics

Extended periods of sitting may cause fatigue and discomfort in the lower back. While people often recover quickly from temporary discomfort, prolonged inactivity or excessive activity can lead to muscle imbalances and chronic lower back pain.


Hamstrings: Culprits of Lower Back Pain

Tight hip flexors or hamstrings often trigger lower back pain. Tight hamstrings hinder smooth pelvic tilting during forward bends, leading to compensatory bending at the back.


woman stretching

Challenges of Stretching Hamstrings

The major hamstrings—biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus—are challenging to stretch and require dedicated effort, time, and patience for long-term results.




Lifestyle Impact on Hamstrings

Extended periods of sitting, common in activities like driving or office work, contribute to tight hip flexors and hamstrings. This results in shortened muscles, compromised blood circulation, and decreased responsiveness, leading to weakness.


working on a laptop

Poorly Conditioned Hamstrings and Their Consequences

Lengthened and stronger muscles minimize the impact on the spine during activity. Conversely, short, tight, and weak hamstrings exert more pull and tension on the lumbar spine and pelvis, contributing to fatigue.


Strain on the Spine and Discs

Increased force and tension from hip flexors and hamstrings on the spine and pelvis may lead to degeneration over time, causing excessive movement and compression on the spine and discs.


receiving physio treatment

Healthy Hip Activity and Lumbar Safety

Maintaining a straight back and bending at the hips and knees is crucial for lumbar health. Emphasising the use of hips and legs reduces the workload on the spine.




Simple Rule for Lumbar Pain Reduction

Combining strong back and abdominal muscles to control neutral posture with well-conditioned hip flexors and hamstrings minimises lower back pain.


woman lifting barbell

Remember

Consistent action towards hip and lumbar health ensures a pain-free and resilient lower body.





Suggested Hamstring and Hip Flexor Stretches and Exercises

1. Hamstring Stretch (Lying Down)

- Lie flat on your back.

- Lift your leg straight up, holding the back of your affected leg for support[[2](https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=bo1616)].

2. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

- Kneel on one knee with the other foot in front, forming a 90-degree angle.

- Shift your weight forward, feeling a stretch in the hip flexors[[6](https://www.healthline.com/health/tight-hips)].

3. Pigeon Stretch

- Start in a plank position and bring one knee toward the same-side wrist.

- Extend the other leg straight back, feeling a stretch in the hip flexors[[6](https://www.healthline.com/health/tight-hips)].

4. Foam Roller Stretch

- Use a foam roller under your hamstrings, rolling back and forth to release tension[[6](https://www.healthline.com/health/tight-hips)].

5. Glute Bridges

- Lie on your back, bend your knees, and lift your hips toward the ceiling.

- Engage your glutes to strengthen the hip muscles[[7](https://www.hss.edu/article_hip-flexor-stretch.asp)].

6. Spiderman Stretch

- Begin in a plank position and bring one foot outside the hand.

- Rotate your chest upward, feeling a stretch in the hip flexors[[6](https://www.healthline.com/health/tight-hips)].

7. Hip Flexor to Hamstring Stretch (Dynamic)

- Stand with feet hip-width apart.

- Alternate between bringing one knee up towards the chest (hip flexor) and kicking straight forward (hamstring)[[10](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iokUAr_vWRs)].


🌐 Sources

1. [MyHealth Alberta - Hip Flexor Strain: Rehab Exercises](https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=bo1616)

2. [Healthline - Hip Flexor Exercises to Strengthen and Stretch](https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/hip-flexor-exercises)

3. [Healthline - 7 Stretches to Relieve Tight Hips](https://www.healthline.com/health/tight-hips)

4. [HSS - Four Hip Flexor Stretches to Relieve Tightness, from a PT](https://www.hss.edu/article_hip-flexor-stretch.asp)

5. [YouTube - 10 Minute Hip Stretches](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPgieCq-rSA)

6. [YouTube - 14 Minute Stretch for Hips and Hamstrings](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8iDlDy9Ook)

7. [YouTube - Exercise for Runners and Walkers: Hip Flexor, Hamstring](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iokUAr_vWRs)


Comments


bottom of page