Sittin’ the day away could be secretly sabotaging some truly essential muscles. The hip flexors connect the leg, pelvis, and abdomen, and are essential for tons of basic, everyday tasks (think: standing, walking, and bending over). But most of us don’t show these muscles any love, and sitting all day (like, say, at a desk) may actually shorten these essential muscles, and could cause bad posture or injuries. Avoid these potential problems by trying these stretches:
Photo by Justin Singh
Kneeling Lunge: Kneel on the right knee and left foot in front, left knee bent at a 90-degree angle and aligned directly over the ankle. Place hands on left thigh and press hips forward until you feel tension in the front right hip. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
- Glute Bridge Stretch: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hips-width apart. Contract abs to flatten lower back to the floor. Exhale and lift hips off the floor to make a straight line from knees to shoulders, pressing heels to the floor for added stability. While inhaling, lower to starting position, and repeat.
- Hip Swing Stretch: Lie on the left side with hips stacked, propped up on the left elbow. Bend the left leg 90 degrees and raise the right leg to hip level with toes pointed. Keep abs tight and swing the right leg all the way in front, then swing it all the way to the back, squeezing the glutes along the way. Switch sides.
The Takeaway: Hip flexors are extremely important for everyday tasks and for preventing injury. Use these stretches to keep ‘em healthy — and keep reading for even more!
Slow and Quick
Already a hip flexor pro? Check out the difference between fast and slow twitch muscles to become a real muscle know-it-all.
No need to fret over a big backside — the glutes are the body’s largest muscle.