Hip Flexors

What is a Hip Flexor?

A hip flexor is not a specific muscle.  In fact, the term hip flexor simply describes an action:  flexing the hip joint.  Flexing the hip is the motion of kicking a ball, or running, where the leg moves forward of the body.  Therefore, any muscle that helps achieve this can be called a hip flexor.

Illiopsoas Hip Flexor Psoas

Why do our Hip Flexors become tight?

The Western World is 90% hip flexion, 10% hip extension.  When we sit at a desk, our hip flexors shorten.  We sit during our growing years at school, we sit in the car, we sit on the couch, we sit on the tram.  If we end up with a desk job or driving a truck we spend the vast majority of our time with our hip flexors in a shortened position.

Keep in mind that the chair itself has only been a staple in our culture for a 100 years or so.  Our bodies are struggling to adapt to such a sudden change and as a result, the majority of will spend parts of our life in pain.

 

How do Hip Flexors affect posture?

Neutral Anterior Posterior Pelvic Tilt Posture

An Anterior Pelvic Tilt (APT) occurs when your hip flexors are so tight they overpower your Glutes (bum muscles), and drag the front of your pelvis downwards.

When the pelvis rotates anteriorly, the lower back has to arch, over extending to keep your upper body upright.

This is an incredibly common issue effecting most of us.  The majority of stiff and sore lower backs are simply a symptom of exhausted back muscles, trying to compensate for an anterior pelvic tilt.

 

Anterior Pelvic Tilt Lordotic Curve

Notice the exaggerated arching of the lower back. Over time, this can irritate the discs of the lower back.

Anterior Pelvic Tilt Bad Posture

What to do about an APT?

If your pelvis tilts anteriorly, you are in good company.   It’s not the end of the world – but it is something you want to address over time.

As with all rehab, it is not so much about the exercise you choose, but the foundational awareness you take to each exercise.

For example, a well performed squat requires full pelvic rotation, engaging the Glutes and Abdominals.   A poorly performed squat won’t achieve pelvic rotation, will over load the knees and may leave you feeling stiff in your lower back.

 

 Jump over to our Rehab page to learn more.

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