HipFlexor Stretches for Mobility


By Kaelyn Riley |

You’ve heard it before: All the sitting we do is hurting our bodies. When it comes to mobility, our hips, especially, are paying the price. Long periods of sitting can tighten the hip flexors, creating weakness and instability in one of the body’s key joints.

Though we tend to think of strength and flexibility separately, they actually work together to aid your mobility. “If your hips feel tight or stiff, it’s quite possible that they’re really just weak,” explains Ryan Orrico, a Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) instructor in Los Angeles.

FRC is a combination of passive stretching, high-tension contractions, and circular rotations that work together to boost your resilience and flexibility. (For the specific details, see “FRC Acronyms Explained,” below.) The protocol can also help improve your overall movement quality.

The following exercises will help you gain better control over your hips — which you rely on for walking, cycling, squatting, crossing your legs, and all sorts of other movements — and expand your range of motion. Because these moves are designed to improve both strength and flexibility, they’ll also help prevent injury while reducing tightness and imbalances.

90/90 Internal Rotation Focus

  1. Repeat on the opposite side.

90/90 External Rotation Focus

  1. Repeat on the opposite side.

Quadruped Hip CARs

  1. Perform the same movement in reverse, and then repeat on the opposite leg.

Controlled articular rotations (CARs) are high-tension circular movements you can use as a warm-up, cool-down, or daily standalone routine to build and maintain mobility in all your major joints. Progressive angular isometric loading (PAIL) movements begin with a deep passive stretch, then gradually contract the extended muscle as hard as possible in the stretch position. Regressive angular isometric loading (RAIL) movements are similar to PAILs, except you contract the muscle opposite the one being stretched. PAILs and RAILs are generally used together.

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