In this detailed video Dr. Oliver will show you how to do the kneeling hip flexor stretch. This hip flexor stretch is one of the best stretches to release your hips and ease lower back pain.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch Video:
If you enjoyed this video please leave a comment below!
Related stretches for back pain:
The Cat & Cow Stretch
Today we’re going to talk about the kneeling hip flexor stretch. I found this to be the best stretch you could do for the hip flexors. Your hip flexors are essentially comprised of two muscles. You have your psoas muscle which comes off your spine right here and attaches down and it joins in with your iliacus muscle which is right here. So it’s called your iliopsoas muscle and its responsibility and its job is hip flexion.
So basically anytime you flex your hip and move your knee up, that’s hip flexion and that’s what that muscle does. This muscle tends to become very overactive and tight on individuals and the most common reason we see for that is what you’re probably doing right now, sitting there and watching me.
When we sit, we actually take the hip flexor into a shortened position. Most people in today’s society are sitting anywhere from 8 to 12 hours a day, whether it’s at your computers or in your car on the way to work. So if you spend that much time with that muscle in a shortened position, that muscle over time becomes shortened and tight. So this is a good, effective way to get at that muscle and try to lengthen it a little bit. It could be very good for people who suffer from low back pain as well.
So let’s go ahead and demonstrate this stretch. I’m going to show you the right way to do it and then things to avoid when you’re doing the stretch because there are a lot of times people do these stretches and they do them abnormally and they can actually be causing more harm than good. So let’s get to it.
All right. Let’s go ahead and let’s go through this kneeling hip flexor stretch. It’s a very common stretch that a lot of people have seen and you might have seen other people doing it or you might have done it yourself where you do that “runner’s lunge”. Basically most times you see people do it by really gliding it forward and arching really far in their low back. This is actually the wrong way to stretch your hip flexor.
If you really want to get an effective stretch in your hip flexor, you don’t want to be doing this. By taking your pelvis forward and arching through your low back, you’re actually not really stretching your psoas, your hip flexor much. You’re really putting a lot of pressure through your low back. So you will get a much more effective stretch if you start neutral. So keep your bottom leg or your down leg straight up and down and you want to do the same thing with your front leg.
So you want 90-degree angles basically here and here. So if we take this and we actually take our pelvis which is right here and we do what we call “posterior tilt,” so we take that pelvis and we turn it backwards. So in this area here and we tuck it under us, automatically I’m going to feel a stretch right through this area here and that’s the hip flexor and part of your quads starting to stretch.
If I accentuate that by squeezing my glute or squeezing my butt, I can make that a deeper stretch. Just doing this, you can hold for a good 15, 20 seconds at least to get a really nice, effective stretch on this hip flexor.
So after you posterior tilt your pelvis and squeeze your glute to get that nice, strong front hip flexor stretch, you will know you’re doing it correctly when you feel it here. You can at that point glide forward slightly a few inches, just to make it even deeper of a stretch.
There are two other variations or things we can add to the stretch to make it even more effective. So from this position, again glute is nice and tight. You’re slightly forward. You can take the down leg side arm and you can stick it high in the air and you’re actually going to reach as tall as you can and across your body. So you’re leaning over to your opposite side.
This should start to make you feel like you’re getting the stretch come up into your side a little bit where we demonstrated before in the model. You saw that muscle dives deep in there and attaches to your spine.
So again, you can hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds. So after we’ve gone through this stretch, there’s a third option or a third thing we can do. We can actually start to rotate the body open as we’re bending over to the side as well. This again will get a slightly deeper effect at that stretch. It’s really important with this that you don’t feel any back pain.
If you feel back pain while you’re doing it, you should un-rotate and if you need to, you can bring that arm down and just stick with the normal basic stretch. You don’t want to over-aggravate your back with the stretches either.
So remember, the wrong way to do the stretch would be to maximally move forward as far as you can. All you’re really doing here is actually stretching the capsule of your hip joint, which is not an effective way to get at your hip flexor and you’re also risking injury to your low back by putting yourself into hyper extension.
So you want to start with that leg straight up and down. The back leg and the front leg. Remember 90 degrees at the front knee, 90 degrees at the back knee. You’re going to take that pelvis, tuck it under you, squeeze that glute on that side. As long as you feel a good stretch occurring on the front of this down leg, you know you’re doing it properly. You should notice it immediately.
From that position, if you want to glide forward a few inches, that’s fine and get a deeper stretch. Then you can add the two variations we talked about. So arms straight up on the down leg side, leaning over and then you can rotate in to this position. Then you’re going to hold a good 15 to 20 seconds and then you’re going to switch, repeat on the opposite side.[End of transcript]
Dr. Oliver has been practicing in Massachusetts since 2007. He is a graduate of Marist College where he received a Pre-Med Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Dr. Oliver then went on to pursue his chiropractic career by attending Palmer College of Chiropractic West, where he graduated Cum Laude. Dr. Oliver has his diploma in rehabilitation, which allows him to combine rehab and corrective exercise with traditional chiropractic treatment. This gives his patients better long term results.