So you know your posture is kinda slouchy. Maybe you’ve confirmed this with the kyphosis or lordosis test, or you spoke to your doctor. Maybe you read what anterior pelvic tilt is and suspect you have it too. So now what?
Don’t fret. Today I’ll show you the best hip flexor stretch to help you straighten up – for good.
Watch today’s episode to:
- Understand why sitting too much is a common cause for tight hip flexors, and how tight hip flexors cause anterior pelvic tilt, kyphosis, and/or lordosis.
- Learn how lengthening your hip flexors will help your pelvis get back into its neutral position and your lordosis and kyphosis to improve.
- Get the 3 variations of the best hip flexor stretch to lengthen those muscles and straighten up – permanently.
The Domino Effect of Sitting Too Much: Why stiff hip flexors cause anterior pelvic tilt, that in turn causes lordosis and kyphosis
Our body is like a kinetic chain. If one thing goes out of balance, other things tend to go out of balance too.
Before I explain how this works, let me first describe how muscles work. Muscles can only do two things: lengthen or shorten. Take your biceps for example, the muscles in the front of your upper arm. When they shorten (or contract), you lift your lower arm up! That’s when those guns show up. When they lengthen, your lower arm goes down.
At the same time, the muscles opposite your biceps, i.e., your triceps (or the muscles at the back of your upper arm), are responsible for the opposite movement. So when you want to extend your arm, your triceps shorten, pulling that lower arm back. Or, when you want to lift that lower arm up, your triceps relax (or lengthen), while your biceps contract.
So when you’re holding a baby in your arms, your biceps are shortened so that you get to keep holding that baby, while your triceps are lengthened.
Now imagine what would happen if you held a baby for 8 or 10 hours a day, for years. Your muscles would adapt. Your biceps would become shorter, while your triceps would lengthen – permanently.
Now adaptation may sound innocent, but let’s examine what happens to your muscles when you’re sitting for 8 hours a day, for years.
When you spend most of your day sitting, your butt muscles get lengthened while your hip flexors (the muscles in the front of your leg, opposite your gluts) get shorter. Why?
Think about it. Think about your sitting position. Your gluteal muscles don’t work when you’re sitting. They work when you want to stand up – or when you want to go from sitting to standing. When you’re sitting, your gluteals are lengthened.
And with time, their “normal” state – neither shortened nor lengthened – becomes a lengthened state.
At the same time, those hip flexors lose their flexibility. They get used to being short, and it’s hard for them to lengthen. They might get so short, that they pull the front part of your pelvis down – and that’s exactly when you get anterior pelvic tilt. And yes, watch the video if you can’t really picture how this works.
When your pelvis permanently assumes this state, you get lordosis, or an excessive lower back curve. When you have lordosis, then you’re more likely to also have kyphosis, or a rounded upper back.
Those stiff hip flexors cause a domino effect. As I said before, your body is like a kinetic chain. One thing goes out of balance – and then more and more things go out of balance.
Why You Need this Hip Flexor Stretch, Even If You Sit Down With A Straight Back,
Yes, you read that right. It doesn’t matter whether you’re slouching or not when sitting. If you’re sitting down for 6 hours or more per day, then your muscles are likely to assume this “sitting” position for good. And that includes short hip flexors that can in turn cause their domino effect.
If you’re sitting a lot, sitting with a slouchy posture makes things worse, but sitting straight does not protect from tight hip flexors. And since the majority of us sit for hours and hours throughout the day, that’s why I think today’s hip flexor stretch is so essential.
Of course, I’m not a doctor and I have not personally examined you. I always recommend checking in with your doctor first, before you go on an plan your “straightening up” strategies.
Best Hip Flexor Stretch Guidelines
No matter how stiff your hip flexors are, today’s episode shows you three variations, so you can find the best hip flexor stretch for your flexibility level. Hold your favorite variation for 30 seconds, 4 times a week, and your hip flexors will start lengthening, allowing your pelvis to get back to its natural position, your lower back to get back to its natural curve, and with a little help from the best posture exercise, your rounded upper back will straighten up too!
If you have accumulated posture problems because of sitting too long, then doing this best hip flexor stretch along with the other exercises I have described in this Straight Posture series, will improve the situation, and even get your back back to being straight.
You might also want to check out:
- Why a straight posture makes you look taller, thinner, and may even help you get your dream job.
- The kyphosis and lordosis test to check whether your back is really straight or not.
- Stretching exercises to do at work to straighten up exactly when you need it the most.
- A roundup of straight posture resources – from apps to gadgets, it’s all here.
- The best release technique to de-stiffen your upper back.
So now, let me know – how many hours do you sit every day? Do you think this has affected your posture? Why/Why not? Please post your answer on Facebook. I read every response.