Unlock Your Hip Flexors

Unlock Your Hip FlexorsAnd if it’s not kept in good condition, it can affect not only our bodies, but our entire well-being. In fact, I believe that many common health conditions are caused by this muscle not being stretched enough, strange as that sounds. What is it?

You see, our hip flexors are the engine through which our bodies move. They control balance, our ability to sit, stand, twist, reach, bend, walk and step.

And when the hip flexors tighten it can lead to a host of problems, even in seemingly healthy and active individuals.

Before I reveal how loads of people end up having tight hip flexors yet never realize it, let me introduce myself.

My name is Mike Westerdal and I’m a national best-selling fitness author, sports nutrition specialist, personal trainer, Iron Man magazine contributor and founder of the popular strength training site, CriticalBench.com

In a moment, I’ll reveal to you a systematic, step-by-step program designed to loosen your hip flexors and unlock the hidden power in your body.

Many people don’t realize that the root cause of some of their pain and other health problems might be tight hip flexors.

The impact the hips have on the whole body never occurred to me until I saw the effect tight hip flexors had on the health and well-being of my wife after she gave birth.

Many people suffer from tight or locked hip flexors, especially those who sit for hours each day, but few realize the impact on your whole body.

Your hips are the bridge between your upper body and lower body. They are at the center of your body’s movement.

Sitting within the well of your hip and lower spine is the psoas major muscle, one of the two muscles that makes up the iliopsoas.

It’s often called the "mighty" psoas (pronounced so-az) for the many important functions it plays in the movement of your body.

The muscle attaches to the vertebrae of the lower spine, moves through the pelvis and connects to a tendon at the top of the femur. It also attaches to the diaphragm, so it’s connected to your breathing, and upon it sits major organs.

A properly functioning psoas muscle creates a neutral pelvic alignment, stabilizes the hips, supports the lower spine and abdomen, supports the organs in the pelvic and abdominal cavity and it is what gives you great mobility and core strength.

Put simply, this muscle is the core of activity in your body. So, when it’s out of balance or if the psoas tightens, serious consequences can flow throughout the body.

Even if you’re the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from a tight psoas due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.

Weakness, shortening and tightness develops in the muscle from sitting for extended periods of time, contributing to poor sleep, posture and even stress and tension.

My clients sometimes wonder why their stomachs stick out, even though they’re hammering the core exercises every day. It’s a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles. The real cause is likely to be tight psoas muscles, which cause the lower back to curve, pushing out the stomach. When the psoas works properly, it pulls the abdomen back, tucking the tummy in, adding to the appearance of a strong, flat stomach.

As the body’s "fight or flight" muscle, your psoas is deeply connected to our natural survival instinct. It instantly tightens in moments of danger to either protect you (in a fetal position) or help you run, fueled by the release of adrenaline. However, with your psoas constantly tight, it’s as though you are in constant danger. When your body is stressed, it often switches into fat storing mode in anticipation of danger. [34-36] So, if fat loss is an issue for you, tight hips might be to blame.

Sitting all day causes your hips to become stuck in a forward thrust position. This leads to pulling on the lower back and decreased blood flow and circulation through the hips. This tightness results in physical discomfort, making it more difficult to fall asleep and more likely to wake up throughout the night. [30]

People who spend most of each day sitting, are at greater risk for tightening the psoas muscles, which then pulls the upper lumbar spine forward.

As a result, the upper body misaligns and rests on the ischial tuberosity (sitting bones) rather than being properly distributed along the arch of the spine.

If you trust so-called experts on YouTube and online, they’ll have you believe it’s simply a case of holding a few static stretches for a period of time to try and lengthen the muscle.

Or rolling around with a tennis ball stuck to your hip (as if that will really make any difference).

It takes more than a tennis ball and foam roller to unlock your hip flexors…and doing it wrong could cause damage.

Static Stretching Has Its Place – But You Need To Attack Your Hips With A Variety Of Movements Including The Ones Below

So it’s little wonder why trying to loosen it requires more than a simple static hip flexor stretch.

If you’ve found you’re spending (or wasting) time stretching this way only to find it’s having minimal effect, that is why.

That’s because you need to attack the muscle from a variety of angles using a variety of exercise techniques and modalities in order to "unpack" the muscle in the right way.

You can think of your psoas as a combination safe lock, there are certain exercise combinations that will unlock it. You just need to know the code. [38-45]

And, there are a number of specific movements beyond simple static stretching you can use to unlock and loosen your hips, legs and back.

PNF is an acronym for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. It is a technique where… Read more…

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