If you’re a frequent traveler, have a sedentary job, physical job, pregnant or recently had a baby, avid runner, bodybuilder, weekend warrior, or pretty much just HUMAN, you need these stretches! Following a consistent mobility routine can help reduce your body’s natural tendency toward restricted movement. Our bodies are made to adapt to our environment. If you are an avid runner, you might notice the first 3-5 minutes is always the hardest. You feel out of breath, legs seem sluggish, and you just can’t find your stride. During this time, your body begins adapting to this “new” stimulus by raising your respiratory and heart rate, providing more oxygen to cell mitochondria for energy production, and increasing blood flow to the working muscles in your legs, core and arms in order to sustain the effort of running.
Similarly, when seated your hip flexors are in a shortened position allowing your hips to go into flexion and lumbar spine to be supported. Although certainly a function our bodies should be able to do, if you sit for extended periods of time, your body adapts to this stimulus by shortening the iliopsoas (hip flexor) muscles through a process called adaptive shortening. In a nutshell, if you are going to be seated a lot, your body will make it easy to sit! Similarly, if you are used to standing with your hips tilted forward (anterior pelvic tilt) or wearing shoes with a heel lift, your hips flexors are likely bound up. This shortening of your hip flexors causes your lumbar spine (low back) to be stuck in rigid extension, for many people causing minor to significant discomfort.
Trevor Thomas, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer who specializes in correct exercise with Precision Personal Training gives his go-to stretches to release the tension in your hips and lower back: