For those of you with legs that have a tendency to sink when you swim these stretches for your hip flexors are ideal – tight hip flexors will contribute to dragging you down – so please do stretch them and remember your ankles and toes too!!
As always, please ensure you work within your own range on these stretches. They are not to be forced and over time as you continue to do them, you’ll see improvement in any event. Some of these stretches are quite fierce in any event so make sure you take them steadily into your routines.
1. Sit on the floor and put the soles of your feet together, drawing your ankles towards you to increase the stretch. Press your knees down towards the floor.
2. Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched at a 45 degree (or so) angle, place the sole of one foot against your thigh and lean into the outstretched leg, taking your head towards your knee……hold for several seconds until you feel the stretch, as you exhale increase the stretch a little……swap legs……
3. Square pose – sit tall and aim to cross your legs in front of your body with one foot on top of one knee and the other foot below the other knee……swap legs……
Please don’t force any of the stretches but particular care here as if your hips are tight, this stretch may aggravate your knees and if you have sciatica, best to avoid altogether. This link may be useful;
4. Frog pose
Begin on your hands and knees, your knees should be hip width apart and your feet should be directly behind your knees. The palms of your hands should be directly under your shoulders. Your fingers should be pointed forward.
Point your head downwards and focus on a point between your hands. Your back should be flat. Push your tailbone towards the wall behind you, keeping your hands where they are and sit back almost on your heels, turn your feet to face outwards. To increase the stretch, put more space between your knees. Take deep breaths, and hold the position for 1-3 breaths.
5. Lizard pose
Get yourself into a deep lunge and place your hands either side of your front foot. Press down through your outstretched leg, feeling the stretch through your hip flexor…..move both hands to the side of your foot so that your hands are in front of your outstretched leg……ease out of the stretch and swap legs
6. Kneeling hip flexor stretch
Kneel on the floor, keeping your shoulders, hips and knees in line and drawing yourself up tall in this position, engage your core to support you. Take one foot/leg forward with your knee bent and lean into this leg, keep the other knee on the floor, you should feel the stretch through your upper thigh, lunge enough that you stretch through the hip flexor of the back leg….ease back into kneeling position and swap legs.