Yoga for long hip flexors
Lengthen your hip flexors with an easy modified version of Virabhadrasana 1. If you sit a lot, practice this pose several times a day. It’s a great all-round healthy knee pose as it lengthens your hip flexors, hamstrings and calves; tones the buttocks and quads; and helps with ankle dorsiflexion. What more could you ask for!
- From standing, step one foot two feet forward of the other. You can take a slightly longer stance if that’s comfortable.
- Level your hips so they’re parallel to each other, press your feet down into the floor and stretch your legs up.
- Lift your pubic bone up to engage your lower abdomen and firm your buttocks forward.
- Stretch your arms straight up above your head to help lengthen your trunk to the ceiling.
- By now you should be feeling a stretch in the front thigh and hip of the back leg.
- To finish the pose, you can bend your front leg, guiding your knee above the heel, but not beyond.
- If you keep your back heel pressing down to the floor you may also feel a stretch in you back leg calf muscles – another healthy move for the knees!
Yoga for strong hip flexors
There are two main hip flexors – the rectus femoris and the illiopsoas. The illiopsoas, a deep muscle that connects from your lumbar spine to your thigh bone, is the muscle most likely to need strengthening. The other hip flexors don’t flex the hip beyond about 90 degrees, so to isolate and selectively strengthen the illiopsoas the knee should be raised beyond that point.
- The standing pose on the left is one way to strengthen your illiopsoas. It also doubles as a strength test.
- Stand with your back to a wall and lift your abdomen and your chest to align your pelvis.
- See if you can raise one knee above your hip line. If you are unable to the hip flexors might need strengthening.
- Repeat the action ten times on each leg, as though marching high steps on the spot. You could practice several sets of 10, once you build up your strength.
- Afterwards, stretch the hip flexors back out with Virabhadrasana 1 (see above).
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