Following on from my blog Mobility…
This is Week 3 of my 6 week Pilates challenge!
This week my big focus has been on flexibility. When we talk about flexibility we are looking specifically at how the muscles’ length affects the mobility of the joint it attaches to or crosses. In your initial assessment we may look at hamstring and hip flexor length, as nowadays, our sedentary lifestyles and office jobs, have led to tighter muscles around our hips and pelvis.
This is an important area to address. Tightness through the hip flexors and hamstrings can result in poor activation of the gluteal muscles, pelvic floor and deeper abdominals by becoming the dominant muscles around the pelvis. They also tend to pull the pelvis forward which will ultimately shorten the back muscles, which in turn effects the mobility through the spine! This can result in lower back pain, thoracic pain, and hip and knee injuries.
My hip flexors are very tight! This has resulted in my pelvis tiliting forward and shortened low back muscles. To work on this I am doing a lot of stretching and foam rolling. It is important, when stretching these areas, that you recruit your lower abdominals and deeper abdominals to prevent pinching in the lumbar spine. Foam rolling isn’t fun but it does release the soft tissues, and is very effective when combined with the stretching.
After my hip flexor stretching I try to do a little lower abdominal work, with the idea that I am reminding my body which muscles should be working to help stabilise my pelvis. It is also a good time to do a bit of gluteal work as well, as these are the opposing muscles to the hip flexors, so working them will help to stop the hip flexors from tightening again.