How to Stretch the Hip Flexor Muscles AKA the Iliopsoas Muscles

What are the hip flexor muscles?image of the iliopsoas muscles

IThe hip flexor muscles are responsible for raising the thigh toward the trunk – i.e. hip flexion. They are active in stepping forward when walking or climbing stairs. They are also important in the kicking motion. This muscle group includes the Psoas Major, Psoas Minor and Iliacus muscles. They are often referred to as the Iliopsoas muscles and are generally located in the front of the lower spine, pelvis and hip. Other muscles of the thigh also assist in hip flexion.

Why stretch the hip flexors? read more…

How to Stretch the Hip Abductor Muscles

Why Stretch the hip abductor muscles?

The hip abductor muscles are the group of muscles responsible for moving the hip away from the midline of the body.

image of hip abductor muscles

Image from 3D4 Medical Essential Anatomy 5 Application

These include the Gluteus muscles, which make up your buttocks. Also included in the abductor group is the priformis, which is one of four deep rotator muscles of the hip. Because of their location, these muscles play an important role in stabilizing the pelvis when standing. This is also crucial for good back mechanics. It is important to note that tight hip abductors will adversely affect your low back function and your gait (i.e. your walking and running). 

The abductors oppose the adductors (aka the groin). Balance between the two groups of muscles is essential. See How to Stretch the Groin or Adductor muscles here.

How to stretch your hip abductors. 

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A Primer of Stretching Exercises: Why, what, when and how to stretch.

cartoon of man stretching

Stretching reduces aches and pains of daily living.

Strength training and cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise are essential to maintain the required strength and stamina for daily living. However, you need stretching and flexibility exercises to reduce the stress and strain that your body endures with the loss of flexibility that can occurs with aging. 

Moving Freely

You need good flexibility for optimal movement of your body parts. Good flexibility means muscles are less tense, more supple and have better blood flow. More blood flow to the muscles means they receive more oxygen and nutrition. Better circulation of blood also means better waste removal. This means there is quicker removal of lactic acid and other metabolic byproducts. Your muscles will better absorb the shock and stress of every day movements, when they are more supple. read more…

Stretching the Hamstring Muscles

Stretch Your Hamstring Muscles to Decrease Knee Pain and Back Pain.

The hamstrings are the muscles on the back of the thigh. The three hamstring muscles are responsible for bending at the knee or flexing the knee. Hamstring tears are often the reason you see sprinters pulling up in a race. The hamstrings attach to the part of the pelvic bone which you sit on. When tight, they can tilt the pelvis backward, flattening the lower back. This can adversely affect the mechanics of the back and pelvis, which can strain your spine and hips. Like the quadriceps, tight hamstrings are often contributing factors of low back pain as well as knee pain.

How to Stretch the Hamstring Muscles

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An Ergonomic Look at your Computer Work Station

Here is how to start with a proper ergonomic set up.

Is your chair’s height adjustable?

  • Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  • The knees should be slightly lower than the hips.
  • Do not compromise your correct seating position to achieve the correct height of the monitor and keyboard (see below for monitor positioning).

Do you have an adequate back rest with lumbar support? read more…

Stretch the Quadriceps Muscles to Decrease Knee and Back Pain

 Why should you stretch your Quadriceps muscles?

The Quadriceps are the muscles in the front of the thigh. They are commonly referred to as the quads. These muscles are responsible for extending the knee, when stepping forward, kicking and climbing stairs. They get a lot of use and deserve a good stretch.

Tight Quadriceps are a common cause of knee pain. Keeping the Quadriceps muscles flexible helps decrease the wear and tear on the knee cap and knee joints in general. Flexible Quadriceps are more elastic. This increased elasticity decreases the compressive forces on the knee joints. Less compression means less rubbing and wearing away of your joint surfaces. Hence, less pain due to arthritis or inflammation of your knee joints. read more…