Abs development and tight hip flexors

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 10, 2011 9:49 PM GMT
    Hey guys

    I want to work on my abs again, and get my six pack to show through.
    But! I've got really tight hip flexors already. Really tight. I can't do sit ups on the floor without having my feet held down, and my right side is tighter, which pulls my hips funny and rotates me and mucks with my balance.

    Are there any ab exercises that I can do that will promote growth of my lower abs and won't tighten up my hip flexors? Is that an oxymoron (effectively)?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 11, 2011 1:17 AM GMT
    Do the mobility workout of the day every day and you will be a flexible little realjocker in no time.

  • Medic911

    Posts: 152

    Feb 11, 2011 7:47 AM GMT
    Find a good yoga studio and practice. Muscles learn and stretch with practice...
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    Feb 11, 2011 8:55 AM GMT
    Yay, Unclever is back!

    Dr. Iguana recommends hanging leg raises. From a bar -- not from that "stand" thingy everybody uses. Legs straight, pinned together, toes pointed out, like a diver. Goal is to slowly work up to raising your toes higher and higher until they are above your head. Don't force the height if you can't keep the form tho. Form is everything.

    Easy on the back, compensates for imbalances on both sides, and gets great results.

    But don't neglect core work! That's probably more important. Work on the rectus abs is the cherry on top. The core work (transverse and obliques, both strength and flexibility moves) is really where you make it work.

    Here's a hot guy with decent form for motivation. You don't need the wide grip he's using. He's working his back with that grip at the same time. He also breaks form at the end (bends the knees, legs coming apart), which is NOT recommended.

    Progress pics are required!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 11, 2011 12:47 PM GMT
    Thanks for the link. That's an awesome website for stretches. 5 years of RPM has me wound up good and tight.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 13, 2011 10:31 AM GMT
    Thanks for the info guys!

    Iguana, I've been trying to work my way up to those, and think I can do them now. But I'm still concerned that they'll tighten my hip flexors. Isn't the first half of that exercise just your hip flexors working?

    The mobility drills site is great. I had never seen that before. Awesome!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 13, 2011 12:07 PM GMT
    Getting rid of your tight hip flexors is definitely something you need to work on. When the hip flexors are tight, the pelvis is tilted in an anterior direction. The lower back sways and the lower abdomen protrudes. The resulting posture gives the appearance of obesity even though you may be thin. The postural abnormality is known as lower cross syndrome and leads to back pain.
    Tight hip flexors and hamstrings can lead to back pain when doing abdominal flexing exercises like sit-ups and hanging leg raises. When your doing sit-ups it is no longer recommended that someone hold the ankles. Holding the ankles only adds to the low back strain.
    You are correct about the hip flexors action during the hanging leg raise. The hip flexors lift the legs and the abs act more as stabilizers for the spine. If your abs are weak and unable to stabilize, the back is going to be injured. Some trainers recommend lifting the legs to the chin to recruit the abs when doing captain's chair leg raises an exercise similar to the hanging raise.
    The upper abs and lower abs are one muscle and many experts believe that you can not isolate the two when doing ab exercises. When doing flexing ab exercises, the hip flexors and abs work in tandem so isolating the abs would be difficult. Because of back problems, I minimize flexing ab exercises like sit-ups and crunches. I stick to the static core exercises like planks. I also have found that Pilates helps with ab development and prevents back issues.
    You should work on stretching exercises for the hip flexor group to prevent postural abnormalities and back strain
    An ACE commissioned study found the following to be the 10 most effective ab exercises. The article noted that doing reverse crunches will make you feel like your working the lower abs.

    Hip flexors get tight when chronically shortened as occurs in prolonged sitting. The classic example is someone that sits all day peering over his computer.
    During leg raises, the flexors are going to lengthen when the legs are lowered to the floor. This should aid flexibility.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 14, 2011 4:16 AM GMT
    What the guy above me said.

    Look up stretches for illiopsoas, rectus femoris (quadricep which crosses the hip joint and attaches on the pelvis), glute medius and minimus, sartorious, tensor fasciae latae. I'd probably be stretching my adductors and hamstrings too as well.

    Until you feel some relief, I'd stretch gently concentrating on gentle lengthening, and be careful working the abs. The last thing you want is a muscle strain in that area. Trust me on that one!
  • ChicagoCarl

    Posts: 163

    Feb 14, 2011 10:56 PM GMT
    I myself just recently found out that the hip flexors love to try and autocorrect even after working out. I thought I had torn something or had a hernia so I was going to the doctors. I had never really worked that area of my body before the RJ workout.

    I work 12hr days at a desk and wanted to know why I was getting pain behind my testes. (Luckily, or unluckily depending on how you see it, I was able to rule out STDS)

    Now I am stretching and I can still feel they are trying to correct back to their old form but I am going to continue stretching and working until my hip flexors are good and loose!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 14, 2011 11:06 PM GMT
    I actually ditched my chair at work. Seemed to help a lot. Tough to correct 8+ hours of contracted hip flexors with even ten minutes of stretching a day.
  • neosyllogy

    Posts: 1714

    Feb 14, 2011 11:20 PM GMT
    um... maybe you should just add stretches.
    Especially if you're imbalanced.
  • Dannymuscle

    Posts: 1

    Feb 15, 2011 12:14 AM GMT
    Hanging leg raises are truly beneficial to your abs and your whole body.
    It will most likey take you a few times to really get the feel and the correct form if you are not use to doing them. .. .but it will come.
    TIP: When you grab onto the bar slightly pull yourself up and lock your arms and upper back . . that will keep you from swinging when you start to raise your legs.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 15, 2011 9:19 AM GMT
    neosyllogy saidum... maybe you should just add stretches.
    Especially if you're imbalanced.

    I prob should've mentioned it, but I'm not that much of a dumbass. I do stretches for my hip flexors at least once a day, sometimes twice. It's helped, but they're still tight an imbalanced, even after 5 years.

    I know that sitting is passive, but 15 years of sitting in a chair for 10+ hours 5 days a week is tough to fight with even ten minutes of stretching a day, for even a few years. Especially if you still go an sit for 10+ hours every day.

    So much better to stand, for other reasons too.