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Stretching Exercises to Improve the Mobility of Lower Back, Hip Flexors and Hamstrings

It’s no longer news that staying fit is a crucial element to living a healthy life. The importance of exercise has been resounding for most of our lives. From doctors, consultants, gym instructors, to scientific data, the advice is the same – exercise regularly. And whether you’re a fitness amateur or fanatic, most of us beg the question, “How do I improve the mobility of my lower back, hip flexors and hamstrings?”

These areas are foundational in our physiological structure as they bear a lot of weight and stress and are often neglected during workouts. That being said, what types of exercises exist to enhance increased mobility in these regions? This blog’s got you covered.



Stretches to Improve Mobility of Lower Back

Researchers have uncovered that stretching and exercise increase blood flow to the lower back area, hence preventing stiffness. Here are some exercises:


Bridges

The bridge exercise is aimed at the glute muscles. This is one of the muscle groups that help support the lower back.


How to perform a bridge:

· Laying flat on the ground, bend your knees feet flat on the ground, your arms resting at your sides.

· Raise your buttocks until your body is straight, from knee to shoulders.

· With your shoulders still on the floor, squeeze your buttocks and thrust your hips slightly upward.

· Lower your buttocks and catch your breath for a few seconds.

· Repeat at least five times.



Knee-to-Chest

This stretch is known to relieve pain.

How to perform knee-to-chest:

· Lay back-flat on the ground, arms at your side.

· Pull one knee towards your chest.

· Hold your knee against your chest while simultaneously pressing your spine to the floor. Hold for 5 seconds.

· Let go of the first knee, and repeat with the other leg.

· Repeat both sides about 5 times.


Lower Back Rotational Stretches

This stretch helps relieve tension in your lower back. It also helps exercise the major muscles of the back to improve stability and mobility.

How to perform lower back rotational stretch:

· Lay back-flat on the floor, bend knees upward, feet flat on the floor.

· With your shoulders on the floor, spread out arms horizontally.

· Gently roll both knees to one side while keeping shoulder blades secure to the floor.

· Stay in this twist for about 7 seconds.

· Return to initial position.

· Repeat in the opposite direction.

· Repeat these steps 3 times.

The exercises above help increase the mobility of your lower back. If this is a problem area, do these exercises regularly (about twice a day) to decrease pain and increase blood flow and flexibility.



Stretches to Improve the Mobility of Your Hip Flexors

Do you sit continuously? Does your job require you to sit for extended periods of time? This likely increases tightness in the hip flexors. The good news is that this is a common issue. We’re here to help you loosen up these tight hips, here are a few exercises to help you improve the mobility of your hip flexors:


Low Lunge

· Take a step backwards, lower your back knee, and make sure you keep your hips squared forward and your chest out.

· Slowly lower your back leg until you feel a stretch in your hip flexor. Adjust the depth of your lunge according to how tight your hip flexors are. Be sure not to overextend yourself, as the hip flexor is an easy muscle to pull.

· Hold for approximately 30 seconds.

· Assume your initial position again and repeat for the second leg.

· Repeat approximately 5 times on each leg.



Butterfly Stretch

· Assume the sitting position, keeping your spine straight, and draw your legs in, bending you knees. Open your knees and let them fall as close to the floor as they will allow while keeping the soles of your feet together.

· Pull your feet inwards toward your glutes to deepen the effect of the stretch.

· Hold this position for about 20 seconds.

· Assume the initial position, rest for a few seconds.

· Repeat for 5 sets.



Adductor Rockbacks

· Kneel and place your hands palm-flat on the floor in front of you. Then widen your hips by stretching your knees outwardly.

· Let your toes touch behind you, while rocking forward and backward. You should feel the stretch in your groin and hip flexors.

· Hold this position for 30 seconds.

· Repeat for 5 sets.



Pigeon Pose

· Assume a seated position and extend your right shin in front of you with your knee bent and your feet flat on the floor.

· Stretch your left leg behind you; try keep your hips squared forward. It may be easier to shift forward onto your right leg to successfully get your left leg behind you.

· Lean your torso forward, to deepen the stretch. It’s also possible to lift your arms up and take a backward stretch, arching the back.

· Hold this position for 20 seconds on each side.

· Repeat for 5 sets.



If you are having issues with tight hip flexors, it may be beneficial to perform these exercises once or twice per day.



Stretches to Improve the Mobility of Your Hamstrings

Have you ever suffered from a muscle strain or cramp in your legs? It’s possible this stemmed from tight hamstrings. This is a common problem. The hamstrings also support the back, so if you are having back pain then stretching hamstrings regularly may help to dissipate this. If you want to prevent future cramps or minimize back pain, perform these stretches routinely.


The Simple Hamstring Stretch

· Sit with both legs stretched forward on the floor.

· Reach forward with your arms stretched out towards your toes, bending at your waist and keeping your knees straight. It is also important to keep your lower back straight if possible, as this will produce a deeper hamstring stretch.

· Hold this position for 20 seconds.

· Return back to initial position.

· Repeat 3 times.



The Hurdler Hamstring Stretch

To perform the Hurdler Hamstring Stretch:

· Sit on the floor with one leg stretched out.

· Bend your other knee and place the sole of this foot against its thigh.

· Extend your hands and reach out over the leg stretched out, bend your waist.

· Hold this position for 10 seconds.

· Repeat with the other leg.



Standing Hamstring Stretch (Both Legs)

· Stand, cross your legs, placing your right foot in front of your left.

· Bend your waist and lower your forehead to your right knee.

· Keep your knees straight with a slight bend.

· Hold this position for about 20 seconds.

· Repeat these steps with your left foot in front of your right.



Runner’s Hamstring and Calf Stretch

· Stand with one foot on the wall or on a low raised surface and grab your foot, pulling it back.

· Step backward with one leg while leaning forward. Keep your back as straight as possible.

· Hold this position for 20 seconds.

· Step forward, repeat with the other leg.

· Repeat about three times.



The above stretches help to ease tension and increase the mobility of the hamstrings.


Our daily routines and activities can leave us in pain due to maintaining certain positions for extended periods of time. It’s common to sit or stand all day and then to sit through commutes. While it may be difficult to remember to do, it’s important to alleviate tightness in our hips, lower backs and hamstrings with regular stretching and exercise.

#stretching #flexibility #fitness #training #workout

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