Your body adapts to the way you use it every day.
For example, when you walk, your hip flexors stretch to one length and, when you sit, they become dramatically shorter. This flexibility according to need is very important.
If you spend a lot of time sitting every day, your body eventually learns that you don’t need the hip flexor length optimal for walking and, to conserve energy, it literally shortens your hip flexors in a process called sarcomerolysis.
While it’s amazing that the body conserves energy automatically by lengthening and shortening and adapting to how you spend the most time, it’s not so great when it comes to alignment and body function
For instance, take those shortened hip flexors that have adapted to sitting, they no longer have the length necessary to walk efficiently and will inhibit your glutes from participating. This means your hamstrings and low back will have to work overtime when you walk.
The good news, if you think you have shortened hip flexors, is that as long as you are alive, your body continues to adapt. If you change your behavior, your body will learn and adapt. With specific action and continued commitment, you can regain optimal length in your hip flexors!
Here are three actions you can take immediately:
- Stop sitting for long periods of time. If work requires you to be in front of a computer for long stretches, change up your work station. Create a workspace that allows you to stand and/or kneel in addition to sitting.
- Take frequent breaks to get up and walk around and stretch.
- Stretch your hip flexors regularly while maintaining a neutrally aligned pelvis.
Today’s video takes a familiar hip flexor stretch and changes it up in subtle ways to help you open and release areas you probably haven’t visited before.
Check the video and let me know what you think! If you try this stretch, I’d love to hear how it goes in the comments below.
Happy hip flexor stretching!
- On high heels and short muscles: a multiscale model for sarcomere loss in the gastrocnemius muscle.
Zöllner AM1, Pok JM1, McWalter EJ2, Gold GE3, Kuhl E4
- Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman, Pages 69-70