If you have been following us for a little bit, hopefully now you understand how important it is to prevent the hip flexor from tightening due to its ability to create back pain as well as contralateral hamstring strain. Here is a great way to stretch your hip flexors without putting your lumbar spine into extension, also a great stretching approach for low back pain with extension sensitivity. You clinicians may recognize this as the "Thomas Test".
-First I bring my knee to my chest, normal range of motion of hip flexion is approx. 120 degrees, so anything past this range typically will begin to posterior tilt your pelvis/flex the lumbar spine, which will LOCK out the pelvis. As I continue to pull my right hip into flexion it will posteriorly tilt my pelvis which is the opposite of hip flexor action (anterior tilt of the pelvis), therefore more pull of knee to chest=more stretch. If you are still not getting enough stretch, you can have someone push your leg dangling off the side into more hip extension until you reach your desired stretch.
-Here is something to appreciate, when you see me flex my right hip even further, you can see that the contralateral left hip flexes secondary to my hip flexor being at its end range of motion.
-I will then allow my leg to be stretched hanging off the table for 30-60 seconds X 2 sets. You can translate this same idea to the standing hip flexor stretch in which you will elevate one foot to put you in max hip flexion (to lock out your pelvis). Then you can slowly lunge forward to A. Add more hip flexion on the elevated leg and B. Bring the stretched leg into more hip extension.
Ideally here the table surface will be a bit more elevated to put me into end range of hip flexion
-As always you can side bend away and rotate toward the hip that is being flexed. For example, during the standing hip flexor stretch I can additionally side bend left and rotate right.
TAG someone with tight hip flexors that needs this stretch! Exercise Library