If you ever experienced a sudden back spasms when getting up from your chair or from bed in the morning often accompanied by some referred pain at the front of the hip then Psoas major might be the culprit. This large muscle attaches to you low back and to the front of the hip and helps us when we stand up from sitting among other things. That being the case it’s worth giving our hip flexors a little attention and grant them a well deserved stretching routine. There are many ways to get to these muscles, yes it’s not just one but don’t worry by having a variety of approaches we can attend to all of them.
The kneeling stretch
This is good so long as your knees don’t end up feeling achy. You should always use a pillow under the knee that is on the floor (but this might not be enough in some cases). As you assume the “I propose” position kneeling with a split stance and one leg in front pay particular attention to the orientation of you hips: sending the tailbone to the front and decreasing you lumbar curve whilst doing this stretch will increase the stretch. this can be performed with different torso rotations to bias more the lateral or the medial side. Just roate slightly the torso towards the leg that is behind to accentuate the lateral side and hold for 30′, have your torso and hip facing forward for 30″ and finally have a slight rotation towards the knee that is in front and hold for 30″.
A variation on this can be performed on the reformer. This more advanced version of the hip flexor stretch does not compress the bottom knee however it challenges balance, gluteal strength and torso control.
The bicycle on the barrel: a hip flexor stretch gentle on the knees
This is one of my favorite ways to gently stretch the hip flexors. As you are not kneeling there is no pressure on the kneecap plus as a bonus it involves a small supported extension of the thoracic spine (your upper back), so welcome for all those spending long times hunched over a desk. If you have one of these barrels at home make sure your low back is supported by the curve and that your are engaging your corset muscle to avoid overarching the back. See the video below for a demo of this hip flexor stretch and enjoy at home or at Pilatestudio in Wimbledon.