But the group of muscles we call the hip flexors are actually made up of five different muscles that connect the knee, the hip and the lower back via the pelvis. These muscles are active everyday and are critical for movements like walking and squatting.
But when they become weak or short, it can compromise your body's ability to perform. As you age, sit for long periods of time or train without recovering properly, the hip flexors begin to tighten. As they tighten, they can pull the front of the pelvis down, creating what is called an anterior pelvic tilt. This tilt puts pressure on your lower back, leaving it in a compromised and weakened position.
To stay healthy, you should stretch the hip flexors daily. Stretching doesn't need to take hours to be effective, but you do need to set aside about 20 minutes each day. These eight yoga poses, which progress in their difficulty and intensity, will target the group of muscles that make up the hip flexors.
Use these tips for each of the poses below:
- Start by slowly breathing in and out through the nose. Keep the breath flowing through the whole stretch.
- Stay in each pose for up to a minute.
- Perform the poses in this order, as each builds on the next
Once you feel a stretch, stop. Don’t try to force yourself deeper into the pose as you will end up over-stretching and hurting yourself.