A further implication of the present housebound lifestyle and the consequent elevated sedentary behaviour is tightness/stiffness of the hip flexors and glutes. Hip flexors are a bundle of muscles at the front of the body that connect the top of your thigh to your upper hip which allows you to conduct movements such as raising your knee. Additionally, the glutes are a bundle of muscles at the back of the body that connect the upper thigh to the upper hip which allows you to externally rotate the leg (ie hip rotation), run, walk (particularly when walking down stairs). When we sit down our hip flexors and glutes deactivate which over time can cause them to progressively weaken and change length.Therefore, here are some tips and tricks to stop these muscle groups from tightening up and subsequently prevent your risk of injury.
Stand every 30 minutes
If you have a sedentary job or lifestyle, one of the key ways to prevent the glutes and hip flexors from seizing up include standing up every 30 minutes. This enables you to correct your posture and activate these muscle groups. Some companies now provide sit to stand desks to their employees to help mitigate the health harming effects of sedentary behaviour and so if you can pitch this to your boss that would be fantastic for many aspects of your health not just your hip flexors and glutes!
Regular stretching and foam rolling
All of our muscles link together in one way or another and so if you have tightness in another area of the body such as the lower back, this tightness may translate down the kinetic chain and further cause you to have tightness in other areas, particularly the glutes and hip flexors. To prevent this from happening regular stretching and foam rolling of all the muscle groups is a fantastic routine to get yourself into with many other associated health benefits such as reduced stress and inflammation. Stretching enables you to improve your flexibility whilst foam rolling helps you to get rid of knots within the muscle fibres. Therefore incorporating both of these into your weekly routine will have optimal results than incorporating just one into your weekly routine.
How to ensure they remain engaged during your workouts
As a result of tight hip flexors and glutes, we may be susceptible to poor posture and movement mechanics during our workouts and so it’s vital we pay close attention to our bodies during a workout to ensure the following:
– One of the most essential postures during our workout is to ensure that we always keep a neutral spine and avoid any curvature in the lumbar and thoracic spine (ie the lower and upper back)
-Warm up the glutes before you exercise to ensure they remain engaged throughout the workout. This could be achieved by completing exercises such as glute bridges, sumo squats, clamshells and many more glute exercises.
-Avoid hunching the shoulders
-Keep your knees close to the centre and avoid them fromexternally rotating when performing exercises such as the glute bridge, high knees and mountain climbers is also essential. This ensures that the hip flexors and glutes remain engaged to the optimal level
Here are just a few of the many tips and tricks which can help prevent tightness of your hip flexors and glutes which in turn can help prevent injury and improve your posture, biomechanical efficiency and athletic performance! I hope this helps 🙂
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