Hip flexor tightness is common due to sitting, running, cycling and repetitive movements. Tightness in the hip flexors can lead to muscle imbalances, poor pelvic positioning and even contribute to back pain. This exercise utilizes reciprocal muscle inhibition to facilitate a comfortable, yet effective stretch.

    Execution: Begin in half kneeling with the left knee on the floor and right leg up maintaining an erect torso. Next, contract the left glute and maintain this contraction while leaning forward until a comfortable stretch is felt in the left hip. Hold for 5 seconds, and then release the glute contraction and return to the start position. Repeat 5-10 times and switch sides.

    Note: Avoid lumbar hyperextension at all times as this is compensatory motion.

    Progression: Lift the arm on the same side of the down leg overhead and lean toward the side of the up leg. This will help stretch the TFL and lateral myofascial chain.

    Application: The exercise is designed to improve hip flexor extensibility. Tight hip flexors can pull the pelvis into excessive anterior tilt, thereby contributing to hip and low back pathology. Limited hip extension can also negatively impact gait mechanics and over movement quality. This shorter stretch with reciprocal muscle inhibition tends to be more tolerable for clients, while decreasing the chance of golgi tendon organ (GTO) activation, hip flexor spasm and compensatory lumbar spine movement.