Hip and torso mobility is a common area of concern with clients that may predispose them to shoulder, back and lower extremity injuries. Repetitive work and sport movements create imbalances and asymmetries. These may be evident with screening done prior to training. There are several ways to stretch the hip flexors, but I really like this stretch as it forces the client to focus on trunk control and alignment while improving hip mobile.

Execution: Place a small pad or pillow beneath the right knee as you get into a half kneeling position. The front hip and knee should be at 90 degrees of flexion and facing forward with toes straight ahead. Now, fully extend the right arm overhead as if reaching toward the ceiling or being pulled by a string like a puppet. Squeeze the right glute (this will prevent the pelvis from rotating anteriorly) and slowly shift the torso forward allowing the right hip to extend.

Make sure the spine remains neutral. Once a comfortable stretch is felt, pause for 5 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat this for 5-10 repetitions and then switch sides.

Application: Reducing excessive anterior pelvic tilt and hip flexor tightness will reduce stretch on the low back and hip, as well as promote more optimal trunk alignment. In particular, this approach to stretching as opposed to longer static stretching for 20-30 seconds utilizes reciprocal inhibition and tends to prevent compensation through excessive lumbar extension to get the motion as clients may lose focus or form and simply fatigue with longer stretching.

This mobility exercise can be done after soft tissue mobilization and used in a movement prep series before training, running or jumping. Additionally, you can opt to side bend away from the down side to focus on the TFL as well.