Ok we know it’s hard to get really excited about stretching, but just like water, it might not be exciting but it is absolutely necessary if you want to perform at superhuman levels.
The latest word on the street is that sitting is now considered the new smoking and we couldn’t agree more! In our society today, we sit way too much and it’s creating a number of different physiological and biomechanical issues leading to injury, physical limitations and lots of pain!
We see this first hand on almost a daily basis with the clients and athletes that we coach. It’s almost sad to see sometimes, someone walks in the door at the Strong Athlete Training Centre after just sitting in their car for a good 30 minutes or so driving from home, work or school where they were sitting in a chair for most of the day, and they immediately target the closest seat to dump themselves down on. It’s like we are programmed to sit everywhere we go!
As a result of excessive sitting, what we are commonly seeing across the board is extremely tight hip flexor muscles. And this isn’t just a little tightness that a 10 second warm up stretch will fix. Over time sitting for hours on end, the muscle starts to change from just being tight to actually shortening. Once this happens it’s going to take some real time and consistency to get it back to a healthy, functional length.
A tight (or shortened) hip flexor muscle can create a number of serious problems including but not limited to, back pain, hip pain, knee pain and even neck pain!
Furthermore, it will create a whole host of movement limitations making it difficult to safely and properly do basic exercises such as squat, split squat and lunge (some of our favorite exercises).
But here’s the good news – we can reverse all these issues and it all starts with this one simple stretch!
There are a few different versions and about 20 different names for this stretch that we’ve seen but we refer to it as the Rear Foot Elevated (RFE) Hip Flexor Stretch.
This super-stretch targets the hip flexor muscles (Psoas major and Illiacus muscle) as well as the Quadriceps muscle.
Check out this easy-to-follow video demonstration of how it’s done properly or you can watch it directly on our Strong Athlete YouTube channel by CLICKING HERE.
To make a noticeable change to the muscle length we recommend a protocol of holding the stretch with the hip back towards the heel for 1 minute then pushing the hip away from the heel for 1 minute then back again for 1 minute and forward away from the heel again for 1 minute.
So you will be in the general position for 4 minutes total then switch sides. This is best done at the end of a workout while your muscles are still warm.
We also use this super-stretch as part of our Strong Athlete Warm Up, the difference being we wouldn’t hold the stretches as long, 20-30 seconds max in each position just to help get the muscle loosened up and ready to perform.
Start doing this stretch protocol 3 times a week and you will see a world of difference in how your body feels throughout the day and how you are able to perform better in the gym.
After over a decade of working with elite athletes, we know what works, and we make it our mission to help you reach your goals and unleash the athlete in you!
To learn more about our cutting-edge Strong Athlete Coaching programs CLICK HERE.