Foam rolling or myofascial massage is a one of the best ways to release tight hip flexor muscles. It is highly recommended that you foam roll your hip flexor muscles daily. The best times to foam roll are before and after all flexibility or strength training routines. Or even after a day of sitting at your desk or traveling. Foam rolling your hip flexor muscles, adductors and glutes are the 3 most important muscle areas to loosen up. Taking care of these will help you prevent pain in your hips and lower back. Pre-workout I recommend rolling aggressively for 10 reps over each targeted muscle area. Post workout your foam rolling should be done slowly and pausing on any “hot spots” you may find. 5-8 reps is plenty of rolling for your post workout.
What are my Hip Flexor Muscles?
The hip flexor muscles include your Iliacus, Psoas Major, Rectus Femoris, and Sartorius. The Iliacus and Psoas Major are the primary hip flexor muscles lifting your thigh up, with the Rectus Femoris and Sartorius assisting. However they are more important with their actions at the knee.
What type of foam roller should I use?
The type of foam roller you should use is going to be your personal preference. Any time I am working with athletes or rolling for myself I prefer a firm foam roller like the TriggerPoint GRID textured foam roller pictured on the right. If you are just starting out with foam rolling, I would recommend a medium density like the SPRI Foam Roller Medium Density Closed Cell EVA Foam Roller.
Foam Roll Hip Flexor Muscles (Psoas Roll)
- Start by lying flat in a prone (face down) position on your forearms with the foam roller under your right hip only.
- Begin to roll up and down over your right hip flexor
- As you roll continue to turn your body outward hitting the hip flexor muscles from different angles and sides
- Remember if you find “hot spots” stop and just rest and relax into them as best you can for up to 30 seconds to try and release those tight areas.
- Repeat the rolling on your left hip.
How to Properly Foam Roll the Hip Flexors
Foam Roll Hip Flexor Muscles (Goddess Roll)
I started using this goddess roll about 3 years ago after seeing it in at www.self.com.
- Lay in a prone position on your forearms with the foam roller under both of your hips.
- Engage your core to protect your back as you start bending both knees to 90 degrees with your feet facing the ceiling. Once in that position make sure your feet are together.
- Roll from above your hips to 6-8 inches above your knees pressing your hips down into the roller
Foam Roll Adductors
- Laying in a plank position with your right leg out to the side at 90 degrees with you right knee also bent at 90 degrees
- Place the foam roller under your right groin running perpendicular to your right thigh
- Foam roll your adductors by moving side to side on your right groin
- Then move the foam roller out towards your knee and roll your quad while you are there.
Foam Roll Glutes and Piriformis
- Start by sitting on your foam roller with your hands on the ground behind you to support yourself.
- Cross your left leg over your right knee to stretch your glutes and positioning your piriformis to be rolled out.
- Leaning onto your left glute begin to roll up and down. Then move your body out to the side to side to cover your Glute Maximus, Gluteus Minimus and Piriformis from all angles.
Alternate Methods to Foam Rolling
Foam Massage Ball
Replacing your foam roller with a foam massage ball will allow you to dig deeper into the muscles applying more pressure to smaller areas. This could be painful at first if you are not use to the pressure it places since it is all of your weight into a small surface area. Start light and work your way up to complete rolling with a ball instead of a foam roller.
The athletes I work with prefer the TriggerPoint Foam Massage Ball. You can massage ball your hip flexors, adductors and glutes the same way you foam rolled them with the exercises described above.
Ice Cup Massage
Ice cup massage is a great way to rehab your hip flexor muscles. Using both ice and massage at the same time creates blood flow to help increase recovery. The major problem with using an ice cup is the mess. To get great results without the mess we use both the Cold Massage Roller Ball and the Recoup Fitness Cryosphere Cold Massage Roller. I have personally used both of these ice rollers but prefer the Cold Massage Roller Ball with the handle. The handle makes it easier to hold for self-massage without freezing your hands. Both of these ice massage rollers stay cold for almost an hour of use.
Foam rolling your hip flexor muscles can help eliminate lower back pain, hip pain and even knee pain. The benefits of foam rolling is well worth the 5 minutes of your life you spend before and/or after your workouts. Foam rolling is an excellent method of massage to aid in muscle recovery and increased flexibility. It is recommended that you foam roll every day staying consistent to see and more importantly feel the results.
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Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautions before following any of the exercises from this article and website. To avoid any problems while doing the exercises, it is advised that you consult a medical professional. The responsibility lies solely with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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