Hip Flexors…Part 19 of the Grumbly muscle blog
What are hip flexors?
Hip flexors are a group of muscles which flex (bend) the hip, the opposite to Gluteus maximus (glute max), which extends the hip.
They also tilt the pelvis anteriorly.
You have Psoas major & minor muscles and iliacus…together they are the ‘iliopsoas’.
Psoas major – starts by attaching to the transverse processes of each of the lumbar vertebrae (L1-L5) and then attaches onto the inner femur (the lesser trochanter).
Psoas Minor – (not everyone has one) Starts at the first lumbar vertebrae (L1) and attaches onto the top of the pubis.
Iliacaus – starts out in the iliac fossa (the inside of the pelvis) and attach, along with Psoas major, onto the inner femur (lesser trochanter).
Rectus femoris (a quad muscle), and a couple of adductor muscles, Pectineus and Sartorius, and even tensor fascia latae (TFL) help to flex the hip as well.
Why do they get grumbly?
These muscles can become tight, weak, inhibited and short. People who sit down a lot for their jobs can have shortened and tight hip flexors and this can tilt the pelvis anteriorly, increasing the lordotic curve of the lumbar spine and impacting on lower back pain.
Tight and short hip flexors are implicated in lower cross syndrome; Tight hip flexors and erector spinae, with corresponding weak core/abdominals and weak gluteal muscles (see picture).
What can we do about it?
We can stretch out our hip flexors daily (see picture) and most importantly we can strengthen their opposing muscle, dear old glute max, and our core/abdominal strength.
For my clients, I often release their hip flexors which is effective if not a little painful.