Is Limited Hip Flexion Causing Your Hip Pain?

Chloe going into hip flexion with high knee walks for her injury recovery plan

Hip flexion is an important factor in keeping your body healthy and performing well. It is essential for athletes and every day Joe’s to maintain proper mobility in the hip.  Doing this allows you to avoid injury and optimize your performance.  Hip flexion is especially important for runners, cyclists, and jiu-jitsu athletes.  Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to lose it due to tightness, weakness, or lack of mobility. In this blog post, we will discuss the top reasons you could be losing hip flexion and provide tips on how to improve it. Read on to find out more about how to keep your hips strong and healthy.

What is Hip Flexion and Why is it Important?

Hip flexion refers to the movement of the thigh coming towards the chest, allowing the leg to move closer to the torso. This movement involves the contraction of several muscles, including the hip flexors, quadriceps, and glutes.  Hip flexion is important because it plays a vital role in our everyday movements, such as walking, running, and even sitting. Additionally, it allows us to perform exercises that target the abdominal muscles, which are crucial for a strong core.

How Do We Lose It?

Losing hip flexion not only impacts your ability to do daily tasks, it leads to pain or injury.  Some of the most common reasons to lose this mobility are:

  1. Sedentary Lifestyle: Sitting for extended periods, like in an office job or long commutes (cars, planes,trains), can lead to shortened hip flexor muscles and limit your range of motion.  (If you’ve ever gotten up from your chair/desk and felt like you couldn’t stand up because the front of your hips were tight, this is for YOU!)
  2. Poor Posture: Poor posture, such as slouching or standing with your hips tilted forward, can lead to shortened hip flexor muscles over time.
  3. Injury: A hip or groin injury can lead to tightness and decreased range of motion.
  4. Aging: As you age, your muscles lose elasticity, which can lead to decreased hip flexion.
  5. Overuse: Overuse of hip flexor muscles without proper stretching or rest can cause tightness and decrease your range of motion.

It’s essential to address the causes of losing hip flexion to prevent injury and improve performance. By identifying the cause of the tightness, you can tailor your stretching and exercises to address the specific issue.

The Importance of Hip Flexion for Athletes

Athletes such as runners, cyclists, and Jiu-Jitsu competitors rely heavily on hip flexion for optimal performance. Runners, for example, need the ability to flex their hips to achieve an efficient running stride, while BJJ competitors use it for movements like shooting in for takedowns, guard, and maintaining control on the ground.  Cyclists are a special case.  Due to the nature of their sport, you never quite fully extend the front of your hip.  That means the front of the hip is usually in a shortened or flexed state.  This can lead to overuse and tighter hips than most.  Many people experience a decrease in hip flexion, which can cause problems with mobility, posture, and power.

Without proper hip flexion, athletes will have difficulty with balance, coordination, and stability, resulting in a higher risk of injury. The loss of hip mobility can also lead to overcompensation in other areas of the body, putting additional strain on the lower back, knees, and ankles.  In addition to preventing injury, proper mobility in this area is essential for athletes’ power, speed, and endurance. It is the main source of power for movements like sprinting, jumping, kicking, and pedaling.

Mobility Exercises

We created a primer to improve this range of motion to reduce and maybe even eliminate pain in the front of the hip. 

Check Out Our Hip Flexion Video Here!

Use this primer before your sport specific warm up for the best results!  If you’re suffering from pain in the front of your hip due to long periods of time sitting for work, try doing this before and after you sit.  Doing it before will help loosen you up and afterwards will help recalibrate you post sitting!  If you have any questions or want to share how this primer made you feel tag us on any social media platform!  

Looking To Improve External Rotation?

Hip flexion isn’t your problem?  We have lots of other great primers and solutions available to you!  We have a 10 Min 10 Day Mobility Challenge for External Rotation.  You can read all about it here!  If that isn’t want you’re looking for, feel free to check out all of our online programs.  We have everything from subscription based functional movement classes to 4 week rehabilitative solutions.  

Check Out Our Athletes

Kyle Martin Jr. competes this Tuesday in the 2023 National Youth Weightlifting Championships!  This will be Kyle’s last year in the youth division and is competing to make the Jr. World team for USA Weightlifting!  The competition is held in Colorado Springs this year.  Wish him luck!  Keep your eyes on our socials to see how he places! 

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