As runners or just people who generally like to work out we have a set time to train, be it 60 min, 90 min or more if really lucky! But muscle activity doesn’t switch on and off like our stopwatches, it’s on 24/7 whether we are at the gym, at the office desk or sitting in front of the TV.
The Hip Flexor group consists of 3 main muscles –psoas major, rectus femoris and the illiacus. These muscles are responsible for the ability to lift our legs as well as keep us in a sitting position.
Below are some stretches that will help open your hips, making your next run just that much easier. And a few tips that will help the stretches become more effective.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Stretch 1: Start by lying on your back. Bring the soles of your feet to meet each other. Allow your (now bent) knees to fall towards the ground. Rest your hands on your belly (to increase the stretch rest your hands on your knees). Hold this position for 10 -20 seconds then help your leg back up by pressing your knees together using your hands
Stretch 2: Start in a standing position with your hands on your hips. Take a step forward with one leg. Keeping the back leg strait, slightly bend the front knee. Making sure to keep the hips square and under the shoulders, push your hips and upper body forward and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat this 3 to 4 times before swopping legs.
Stretch 3: Start in a standing position with feet about shoulder with apart. With outstretched arms slowly lower your butt to the ground (the aim is to get as low as you can go). Once in a full squat place your elbows against the inside of your knees slowly pressing your hands together. Hold this position for 15sec – 25 sec.
To modify – Hold onto a doorframe and lower yourself to a comfortable level
Stretch 4: Start by standing arm’s length away from a wall. With your left arm brace yourself (left side of your body facing the wall). Cross your right leg (leg farthest from the wall) in front of your left leg. Next slowly lower your left hip toward the wall (keeping your left arm strait) Make sure both legs remain strait too. Hold that stretch for 20-30 seconds and then switch sides
Stretch 5: Start in a laying position on the floor. Next bend right knee and cross your left ankle over the bent knee. Reach under the bent knee with both hands and pull your right leg toward your Chest. Hold for 15-20 seconds and then release. Perform each variation on both legs.
Tip 1: Try and sneak in a short stretch whenever possible. A few good opportunities are – while brushing your teeth, when on the phone to a friend, waiting for the kettle to boil or just before climbing into bed.
Tip 2: Stand up every 30 min or so, This helps to keep the blood flowing, your brain active and it also allows time for the hips to change position and have a short rest.