The hip flexor stretch has become a popular one to stretch in both the fitness and the sports performance realm and rightfully so. After all, we, as a society spend a lot of time sitting which lends itself to tightening of the hip flexors. Unfortunately, it is all too common to see people stretching either incorrectly or too aggressively.
Here are some key points to ensure that you are stretching the right way:
-There is a difference between stretching your quads and stretching your hip flexors. If you are indeed targeting your hip flexors focus on psoas and not rectus femoris
-Focus on one joint at a time: Many people try to stretch both at the hip and knee which incorporates both the rectus and the psoas. Unfortunately, many people can’t perform this correctly and end up compensating, which increases injury risk
-Stand up tall and contract your abdominals and glutes
-Engage your core by pushing the dowel down into the ground while at the same time keeping your elbows straight
It is not surprising that many people with desk jobs suffer from neck, shoulder, mid and low back pain. Oftentimes quick postural and workstation adjustments can make a huge difference. It is first important to have an understanding of neutral posture. Neutral is a comfortable working posture in which joints are aligned and there is minimal stress/strain on the musculoskeletal system. Here are some helpful workplace considerations:
-Hands, wrists and forearms should be in one line and near parallel to the floor
-Head should be in line with the torso, facing forward and roughly 18” from the computer
-Shoulders relaxed, elbows near the side of the body with about a 90-120* bend
-Feet fully supported on the floor with an approximate 90* angle at both the hips and the knees
-Back is fully supported with appropriate lumbar support
No matter how good your workstation posture is, prolonged sitting is not recommended. Take frequent standing/walking breaks every 15-20mins and stretch your neck, torso and hands.