Get into a half kneeling position with your right knee on the ground. Put your left leg in front of you so there is a 90 degree angle at the hip and knee. Your shin should be perpendicular and your thigh parallel to the ground. Place a bar (or broom stick) in back of you along your spine. It should touch your shoulder blades and top of your glutes. Push your pelvis forward (also known as a posterior pelvic tilt) so that you flatten out your lower back and it comes into contact with the stick. If you feel a stretch in the front of your right hip, you likely have limited hip extension flexibility. Switch positions and repeat the process for the left hip.
If you felt a stretch with that test, you should work to improve hip extension tightness. Performing the kneeling hip flexor stretch, which is a similar position to the test just described minus holding a stick along your back, is a good way to help lengthen and stretch the hip flexor. Some of you might be thinking, I do that stretch all of the time, and I still have tight hip flexors. Many of us do not hold our stretches long enough to allow them to actually achieve tissue lengthening. The old rule of thumb is to hold a stretch for 20 – 30 seconds and repeat 2 – 3 times. This might be ok for muscles that are not too short that you are just looking to relax them and return them to normal length after a workout. However, current research is showing that in order to lengthen tissue that is too short, the stretch must be held for 3 – 5 minutes.
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