Between driving to and from work and relaxing on your couch, your hips are in a constant state of flexion. As your body adapts to these positions, your hip flexors shorten, your pelvis is pulled forward and your glutes and abs stretch and weaken.
So what's the solution here? Simple: Lengthen your hip flexors with an easy stretch. And while you're stretching your hip flexors, it's a good idea to stretch the other muscles that cross the hip joint. Loose hips will keep you feeling limber and young for years to come. So let the stretching begin!
Hip Flexor Stretch
Target Muscles: iliopsoas, sartorius
Set Up: Kneel on your right knee with your left foot on the ground in front of you. Place your hands on your left knee.
Action: Without moving your torso, tilt your pelvis forward so you feel a stretch in your right hip flexor. Hold for 15 seconds and then switch sides.
Tip: Don't push your body forward; you should be tilting your pelvis forward, slowly.
Target Muscles: gluteus medius, intercostals, latissimus dorsi
Set Up: Stand with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart and your right hand on your waist. Action: With your left arm reach and lean toward the right. Hold for 15 seconds. Switch sides.
Tip: Try to keep your elbow straight as you reach over your head.
Target Muscles: hamstrings
Set Up: Sit on the ground with your left leg extended in front of you and your right foot tucked into your left thigh.
Action: Keeping your back flat, reach forward toward your left foot with one hand and hold for 15 seconds. Switch sides.
Tip: Keep your foot flexed with your toes pointing toward the ceiling. Hinge forward at your hips.