If you Google “Best Hip Flexor Stretch” you’ll get a plethora of blog posts showing videos and full explanations of the stretches they perceive to be their top 10. They’ll detail where you should be feeling it, the anatomy of the hip area and maybe even the type of stretch to use and when.
The trouble is, there’s something missing. Something big. Huge.
I’m gonna skate right past the misleading comment from Mr Cody Braun who suggests (incorrectly) that muscles get switched on and off (which isn’t possible otherwise your joints would dislocate) because that’s a whole different blog post topic, and dive straight into the crux of the issue at hand…
…direction of movement.
The Beachbody blog offers suggestions for both Dynamic and Static stretches, but in all of these suggestions, regardless of the type of stretch, the instruction of “correct” performance is to lengthen the tissue in just one direction.
But, here’s the thing.
It has been shown that muscle fibres are woven together in a spiral, like a rope, and that the twist in the fibre structure pulls them closer to each other, creating a “preloading” effect and allowing the tissue to withstand more force. (Hendrickson, 2009)
This video shows what happens to the fibres when they get wound too tight and why neither one directional dynamic stretching, nor static stretching will help your movement long term.
Improving joint movement isn’t just about one muscle being lengthened, or even two or three. It’s about helping your body to restore the position of the bone within the joint so that you can move without restriction.
There isn’t one movement that is better than all the rest for that, or even 10 of the best. There’s only the movement that feels useful to you.
So take a look again at the Beachbody blog and have a go at the stretches they recommend. When you’ve found the one(s) that feel useful to you, start adding multi-directional movement to it.
If you’re struggling for ideas of how to add that variety into each move, check out my FREE “Hip Flexors 5 Ways” Video. by simply entering your email below and I’ll guide you through exactly how to gradually add these tweaks into your stretch positions to make sure you’re getting the most improvement in your hip flexors.
If you enjoyed this blog post and you can think of someone you know who is still using one directional stretches, feel free to share this post with them if you think they’d find it useful.