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Getting Hip to Hip Flexors!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Many of the technical issues discussed in the technique forum, as well as some of the injuries discussed in this forum, may possibly be related to tight hip flexors. A concept called reciprocal inhibition comes into play.

Reciprocal inhibition is defined as the simultaneous relaxation of one muscle and the contraction of its antagonist. For example, if you were to hold a heavy book in the palm of one hand, if you touched your arm, you would notice that the bicep is tight and the triceps are loose.

Although this is a normal response to movement, an over use of one muscle group can lead to a wekening of the opposite group. This is a common problem with hip flexors. Most people sit all day, which makes them tight. As a result, the glutes become weak. Since the glutes are slacking up on the job, when you start any type of athletic movement, the hamstrings take over all of the work.

But wait! Tight hip flexors are often the result of a muscular imbalance between the quads and hamstrings. So the hamstrings are taking over a job that they are actually way too weak to perform. As a result, they hurt!

So what do people do when their hamstrings hurt? They stretch them. HOLD OFF!!! Excessive stretching can actually weaken the muscle. Now the poor hamstrings are even less able to perform the tasks set upon them.

So then, the macho quadriceps come to the rescue. What do the quads do? They force the leg to extend, sometimes they force it to hyperextend. Did you hear that popping sound? That was your ACL. Even if you don't tear your ACL, the excessive use of your quads is once again tightening your hip flexors. The cycle repeats.

Tight hip flexors can throw you into the back seat and affect your fore/aft balance. This makes them one of the most important muscle groups to stretch. Here are some ideas:


post #2 of 5
good stuff LM
I need to try to do more with the hip flexors... especially the dodgy one...

Do you happen to have info on what happens when you don't have much reciprocal inhibition going?
post #3 of 5
stretching your hip flexors is such a simple thing to do when you're done with excercise. What a difference it makes in day to day comfort.
Another area I try to give my attention when biking or skiing is my shoulder/chest area. Because there is a natural tendancy to reach forward and sideways, I like to give that area a good backward motion streatch to get my posture back in alignment.
post #4 of 5

check out the yoga books

my personal favorite is salute to the sun. try cobra, boat, etc for hip flexors
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
For pre-ski, the salutation to the sun is probqably the best because it is dynamic, as opposed to static flexiblity.
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