Back and hip pain are very common conditions. In fact, if you make it through life without suffering from one or more episodes of pain in these areas, you should consider yourself very lucky!
There are many reasons why a person might experience pain in one of these regions.
For instance, being sedentary, maintaining a high percentage of body fat, and even smoking cigarettes are associated with dysfunction in the back and hips.
However, while the reasons why a person might experience pain in these areas are interesting, they are not the focus of this article.
Instead, I’d like to outline one, simple stretch you can use to treat and prevent pain in the lumbopelvic region.
Specifically, I’ll provide an overview of how to perform the kneeling hip flexor stretch (1).
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The Importance of Hip Flexibility
The hips provide a direct connection between our legs and our spine. These critical joints are the perfect mix of stability and mobility (2).
However, we often lose mobility in our hips when we don’t perform regular stretching for this body area.
There are a number of hip areas that require special attention, but perhaps none require more stretching work than the hip flexors.
These muscles tend to be very tight on everyone, but they are especially stiff on most office workers.
Sitting all day long puts these muscles in a shortened position, making them stiff and inflexible.
This stiffness, in turn, puts stress on the hip joint and the low back, which often leads to pain.
Hip flexor stretches come in many varieties. The one I’m providing in this article is not necessarily the best stretch for everyone.
For instance, those who have too much pain when kneeling may do better with a prone hip flexor stretch, or with a different variation.
Whatever you do, just be sure to stretch your hip flexors out daily: someway, somehow!
How to Perform the Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Follow this simple, step-by-step process to correctly perform the kneeling hip flexor stretch!
- Start with your right knee on the ground and your left foot a few feet out in front of you, with both knees bent.
- Slowly slide your hips and trunk forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your right hip flexor. Try not to let your back flex too much during the stretch!
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat it 4 times on each side daily.
It’s that simple!
Is the half-kneeling hip flexor stretch the only thing you need to be healthy? Not even close.
You should perform cardio exercises, resistance training, and full-body flexibility moves as often as possible.
Plus, you need to be sure to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep your body systems operating like a finely-tuned system.
That being said, the kneeling hip flexor stretch can provide some significant relief to back pain sufferers. Try it out for yourself and see how you feel!
- Konrad, A., Močnik, R., Titze, S., Nakamura, M., & Tilp, M. (2021). The Influence of Stretching the Hip Flexor Muscles on Performance Parameters. A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(4), 1936. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041936
- Hafström, A., Malmström, E. M., Terdèn, J., Fransson, P. A., & Magnusson, M. (2016). Improved Balance Confidence and Stability for Elderly After 6 Weeks of a Multimodal Self-Administered Balance-Enhancing Exercise Program: A Randomized Single Arm Crossover Study. Gerontology & geriatric medicine, 2, 2333721416644149. https://doi.org/10.1177/2333721416644149