By Melissa Thomas and Chad Yonkus
If you have had a massage from us, you have likely been shown some stretches that we swear by. Many of you already have a stretching routine and are quite active in your recreational time, so adding this to your movement repertoire should add some tangible value fairly immediately, especially for back and hip pain sufferers.
Professionals that are cycling, running, commuting, and/or sitting at a desk tend to experience chronic back and hip pain because we, myself included, are not stretching adequately. Following this instructional closely and consistently will help to ensure the tissue is being opened sufficiently, thereby relieving pressure and creating balance in our hip joints. Allow yourself 5-10 minutes every night before bed that is dedicated to healthy hips, the foundation of our movement.
For chronic pain sufferers, take it one step further and budget for yourself 5-10 minutes during the work day in addition to bed time. A little bit will go a long way, and improving hip joint health is an incredibly worthy cause that will pay dividends for decades to come. Of course, please consult your physician before trying these stretches if you have any concerns, or history of injury.
Photo 1: Place knee on a pad, pillow or soft surface. Place opposite foot in lunge position so that the foot is flat on the ground, knee in obtuse angle.
Photo 2: Pull through the front heel until the hips are ahead of the back knee. Minimize the shoulders traveling forward. Keep the belly button pulled into the spine. Perform this as a static hold for time for a minimum of 2 minutes, and a maximum of 7 minutes. Graduate the time in stretch. Or, perform as forward active ‘pulses’, pausing at the end of the pull forward (as shown in Photo 2) for two counts, relax, and repeat pulses for 15-20 reps and holding for 30-60 seconds on the last rep. Stretch both sides, but take a short walk between hips to feel the difference.
Photo 3: (Optional enhancement) For maximum dynamic range, place the back foot on the wall as shown and perform the stretch as described above (in Photo 2). This knee position of stretch is not intended for everyone. Photo 3 is the position that can be accessed by all, but should be gradually accessed incrementally as discomfort increases and the natural range of motion increases throughout the life of the stretch. Please do not graduate to this stretch if you experience sharp pain in your hip or knee. Stretching can be uncomfortable, but not intended to be painful.
We use this stretch ourselves and advocate for it to each and every client we see for massage or training. It has a plethora of applications and so much value.
Some applications include:
- Back pain
- Knee pain
- Hip pain
- Shoulder pain
- Sitting at a desk, plane and/or car
To learn more about the hip flexor group, see our blog about the hip flexor hype here.