Tag: hip flexors

Runners, Cyclists, and Athletes – Tight hip flexors? Low back pain?

The combination of certain activities – especially running, hiking and cycling – followed by sitting for long periods of time, can contribute to tension in the front of the hip, and pain in the low back. Have you had a day of activity, followed by a long drive home? Or had a great run or ride, maybe an intense spin class, then sat for hours at the desk? The hip flexors are in a shortened position while sitting, tighten, and then the nagging pain in the low back will often follow. Those muscles in the crease of your hip can actually get so tight, that they stop other neighboring muscles from working. The deep glutes can stop activating when walking. If this pattern continues, not only can your bottom become flat and flabby – AND WHO WANTS THAT – but back pain or discomfort generally follow. Our posture, while standing or walking will change. The top of the hip bones are pulled forward, which increases the curve of the lower back.

What will help, when this imbalance occurs? One stretch that is particularly helpful is a lunge, with the back knee down, sometimes know as the “lizard pose”. Ask one of our massage therapists, trainers or instructors to help you with this. Something else to try is to lay face down on a mat, with a lacrosse ball underneath you, positioned on the front and side of the hip. This can be a little intense, or uncomfortable at first, but if you are consistent, and try it for a few minutes every day, the hip flexors will loosen.

The best solution of all is to get a therapeutic massage session. There are a couple of assisted stretches that will target the front and side of the hip, as well as deep tissue and fascial techniques, that will really make a difference.

Try all three – stretching, self-care with the lacrosse “torture” ball, and a professional massage. Why live with that nagging pain? With some focused effort, one can really make some changes, and start moving freely again. Thank you for reading this,

Leo DiLorenzo
Licensed Massage Therapist
Seattle Athletic Club

Pilates Exercise of the Month: Scissors in the Air

: Strengthens the abdominals, increases spine flexibility, stretches the hamstrings and hip flexors.

 

Starting Position: Lie down on mat and bring your legs up to a 90 degree angle, toes pointed.  Arms long by sides, palms down.

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1.   Inhale; prepare the body and scoop abdominals inward.  Exhale; continue to lift your legs up to ceiling (toes to ceiling).  Inhale; bring the hands underneath the hips with finger tips pointed outward and the wrists supporting the back and hips.

 

1.   Exhale; scissor the legs; one leg moves over the head as the other leg moves toward the mat in the opposite direction. Switch legs and continue to scissor.  Keep the  hips and pelvis still as you move legs.

 

1.  Inhale; bring the legs back up over the hips (toes reach to ceiling).  Exhale; allow your back to roll down to the mat, slowly and carefully, one vertebra at a time.

 

4.  Complete 3-5 sets

 

Head to Toe Checklist:

Do not roll onto the neck

Keep the elbows parallel to each other (or as close as possible) & cradle the pelvis with the hands

Keep torso rock solid as you scissor

Breath fully and deeply to facilitate the scissor motion

 

Visualization:

Imagine the legs opening wide like a handheld fan, then closing and opening to the other side.