The action of cycling involved repeated hip flexion with the hip never fully extending which can cause tightness and even a shortening of the muscle over time. On top of that prolonged periods sitting create tight hip flexors. Shortening of the hip flexors can lead to an anterior pelvic tilt.
For cyclists this can mean lower back pain and less activation from your glutes.
To correct this muscle imbalance, you need to stretch out the hip and strengthen your core muscles, to bring the pelvis back into a neutral position.
There is no quick fix for this, you need to be persistence and consistent in helping your body correct this muscle imbalance.
Pilates exercises and stretches can help build strength in your core and stretch out through your hip, here are my 5 top exercises for stretching out the hip.
My top five exercises for hips are:
- Arms to the ceiling push hips forward as you raise your arms above your head, hold for 30 seconds repeat 4 times. This stretches out the hip flexors and opens the chest muscles.
2. Donkey kick series – this series of 3 exercises the first is pushing your foot to the ceiling, the second is taking your raised leg across the leg on the floor and the third is taking your knee out to the side. It works on glute strength and hip stability repeat each exercise 8 to 10 times per leg. See video
3. Quad stretch standing – holding onto foot with hands or band, hold for 30 to 90 seconds on each side, pushing knee backward to increase the stretch.
4. Shoulder bridge – this super exercise helps to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings whilst stretching out your quads.
5. Dynamic side lunge – start feet together, lunge to side, hold and push back to the middle. This exercise stretches out your groin and builds strength in your legs.
In Pilates we use a variety of stretches to make sure we keep good muscular balance and flexibility. Check out my Pilates move and stretches page for stretches you can do from home.