Mid terms and a crazy work schedule have stalled out my training a bit. I’m finding that juggling work, classes, training and being an adult seems much harder as a 30-something than it did when I was in my 20’s. However, I refuse to accept defeat!
I have set the goal of doing something everyday that betters my fitness level. I set aside 10 minutes every evening to roll and stretch; focusing predominately on my hip flexors. For 10 minutes you can find me rolling, grunting and occasionally swearing as I focus on my insanely tight hip flexors.
For those that may be unfamiliar, the hip flexors are a group of muscles deep inside of the thigh that are responsible for flexing you at the waist line and also for bringing your femur bone up inside of the pelvis. Because many of us spend hours a day sitting in the same position at our desks, the hip flexors are often short and tight which results in some impingement in our movement as runners.
Tight hip flexors have personally caused issues and discomfort with not only my hips, but my lower back and in some cases my knees. Because they impact ones mobility, they can be the cause of a host of seemingly unrelated pains. Disclaimer: Please note, that I am not a medical professional, this statement was based on my personal experience. If you are experiencing unfamiliar pains, please seek medical help.
There are a myriad of solutions to hip flexor issues, but for me I have found that rolling is an easy solution that can be done while watching television or whenever you have a few moments. This weekend I was rolling while completing a project for my accounting course, though I did learn that writing and rolling isn’t really the best combination…hey I was trying to time manage and multi-task.
The rolling technique that I learned from my trainer starts with getting in a plank position and position the roller just above my knee, my second leg is bent at a 45 degree angle and parallel to the end of the foam roller. The goal is to keep the weight on the foam roller and not on your other leg.
I roll in short bursts, back and forth a couple inches at a time, and then stopping. After each burst, bend my knee for five bends, doing my best to keep a consistent pace and ensuring that my toes face forward. I then move up a little bit more and repeat the process until the roller is at my hip space.
Then I slowly roll in a continuous motion back to my knee, I do this about 3 times. I repeat the process on my other leg. When I find a particularly painful spot, I will allow my body to settle into the roller and in a gentle sideways motion work out the knot. It’s not really an exact science and some days the pain is unbearable, but I know that in the end the increased mobility will pay off by improving my stride and movement.
After I work on my hip flexors, I make sure to work on the opposing muscle group by rolling my hammies. I start at my “knee pit” and slowly move up to my glute and back down. I go at a moderate speed, I don’t usually have too many knots or kinks in my hamstrings so I don’t have to stop too frequently for kinks. I then sit on the roller and work on my glute area as well.
I always make sure to work opposing muscles so the entire muscle is equally rolled. Rolling is never really a fun process, though I do notice an almost immediate relief afterward. I have found that through consistent work on my trouble spots that I am seeing improvement not only in my stride but also there is a decrease in pain post run.
If you have issues with your hip flexors, please leave a comment below on what strategies you have found that help you!
As always, thanks for reading!