Best Hip Flexor Mobility Stretch

The Couch Stretch

The Best Hip Flexor Mobility Exercise

Purpose:

  • Increase Hip Extension
  • Increase Knee Flexion

Focus:

  1. Hip Extension (Hip Flexors)
  2. Knee Flexion (Quadriceps)

The Couch Stretch is one of the most important mobilization exercises for anyone who needs the proper hip function for their sport.

It was originally named for its ability to easily be done on a couch. Ironically, sitting for long periods is also what causes the need for the Couch Stretch.

When you sit for long periods your hip flexor muscles become shortened and tight. This decreases your overall hip function and is especially problematic for those looking to run faster, jump higher, and deadlift more as it affects these movements directly through decreased hip extension power.

Improper hip extension can have an effect on all other areas of the hip complex, legs, and lower spinal column. By practicing the Couch Stretch you can regain normal hip range of motion, and will be able to better utilize your hips for power and stability.

The two levels of the Couch Stretch are meant to focus on separate areas of the anterior hip-leg connection.

*Level two can only be performed safely will proper level one range of motion.


The Couch Stretch – Level 1

Focus:

  1. Hip Extension (Hip Flexors)
  • Begin on your hands and knees in front of a raised surface, in which your foot can dorsiflex over.
  • First, place one foot over the raised surface or flat against a wall and then set the other foot in front of you near your hands. Ensure that your hips stay in line with your shoulders as you flex forward.
  • Initiate the stretch by flexing your raised leg’s glute to push your hips forward slightly.
  • With control, flex in and out of the stretch holding for at least 2 seconds in each position.
  • To further increase the stretch, place your opposite hand on your raised knee and rotate away from the stretched leg while maintaining tension on your glute.
  • For an increased stretch, maintain a neutral spine and raise your torso until it is vertical.
  • From here you can shift slightly forward and back to increase the stretch. Maintain tension on your glute.

The Couch Stretch – Level 2:

Focus:

  1. Hip Extension (Hip Flexors)
  2. Knee Flexion (Quadriceps)
  • Begin on your hands and knees with your feet placed flat against a wall behind you.
  • First, set one knee in the corner of the wall, with your shin vertical, and place the other foot out in front of you near your hands.
  • Then, push your hips back against your raised foot and then extend your torso against the wall while maintaining tension on your glute.
  • Lean forward and back under control, while holding each tense position for at least 2 seconds.
  • To further increase the stretch, maintain a vertical torso and neutral spine as you push your hips forward.

Note: If you feel tingling, burning, aching or any unnatural sensation stop immediately and reset or move to an easier mobilization exercise.


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