Tip: How to Unlock Your Tight Hip Flexors

Sit a lot? Here's how to loosen those tight hip flexors and feel better almost instantly.

If you sit all day you most likely have tight hip flexors. If you've foam rolled and stretched with little to no relief, you need to focus on a technique called "antagonist inhibition."

The soft tissues in the front side of the hip are the hip flexors, which move the hips into flexion when these muscles are contracted. On the opposite side of the body are the glutes, which act as hip extensors.

As the hips extend, muscular force is produced from the glutes in order to achieve the extended hip position, but this contraction needs to also be coordinated with a relaxation of the hip flexors on the opposite side of the joint.

In this example, the glutes are the agonist muscular action, and the hip flexors are the antagonists. The interplay between both the antagonist and agonist are often faulty, thus limiting the functional range of motion and "mobility" that a joint or movement has. This is antagonist inhibition.

Enter the Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Knowing that the neurological phenomenon of antagonist inhibition needs to be optimized, you can help train these patterns to improve position and unlock mobility quickly. The drill you can use to address the hip flexors is the single-leg glute bridge.

  1. Lying on the floor, grab one knee and pull it into your chest.
  2. Bring the opposite leg up so the foot remains flat on the floor while the knee is in a 90-degree bend.
  3. Brace the core hard, squeeze the knee in and drive your hips up into extension explosively, holding for a split second at the top.
  4. Control the movement down and complete 5-8 reps.

Focus on movement and contraction quality, not reps. Remember, you're using this drill to unlock restricted neurological tone, not to get strong or jacked. A few rounds of this should leave your hips mobile and get you out of that nasty anteriorly tilted pelvic position that sitting on your ass all day left you in.