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HeartButt Week 1 - The Role of the Hip Flexors

by Ashley Black

Heart Butt Challenge - Week 1, Hip Flexors

How these little muscles can shut down your glutes

What are the “hip flexors”? The hip flexors are a group of muscles whose action is to bring the knee towards the torso in flexion. Although there are 5 primary muscles that make up the hip flexors, the two we’re going to focus on that will assist in activating the glutes are the psoas and the rectus femoris (1 out of the 4 muscles that make up the quadriceps).

Heart Butt Challenge - Psoas

The Psoas

The psoas originates on the lumbar spine, joins the iliacus to form the “iliopsoas” and then inserts down onto the femur at the trochanter minor.

Heart Butt Challenge - Femur Head

The Femur Head

Since the main action of the glutes is hip extension (when you extend your leg backward), you need the front of the body to be open in order to allow for that range of motion. In other words, if your hips and quads are tight, how do you expect to use your glute muscles effectively?!

We want to open the hip flexors to access our glutes. Here’s how:

  1. FasciaBlast hips and quads
  2. Do the FasciaYoga stretch for hips and quads
  3. Find YOUR form for the Heart Butt exercises

Start by FasciaBlasting the area where the thigh joins the trunk to relax muscles locally! I love the small claws of the MasterBlaster® on these areas, and the PaddleBlaster® makes it a snap to get a quick blast on the whole lower body. If you only have a few minutes to blast, it’s still worth squeezing it in! If you have a little more time, follow up with the full PMR (Prep– Massage–Refine) by using a large-clawed FasciaBlaster® and then a Nugget.

Whatever you do… DON’T SKIP THE HIP FLEXORS!

Next, it’s time for some FasciaYoga! Remember to do both parts of this stretch–– with the leg extended let your weight drop down into the hip flexor, and then with the knee down tuck the pelvis to feel the fascia open up through the quad. I keep my FasciaYoga ball right in my living room so I can grab a couple of minutes with these stretches as often as I feel my body asking for it. Which is all the time… calling all desk sitters! DON’T SHORTEN YOUR HIPS ALL DAY, GET UP AND STRETCH THEM!

On to the Heart Butt exercises! If you have tight hips or a limited range of motion, you want to find the adjustments that work for YOU in order to feel your glutes engage. It’s important to stick with a range of motion that you can do without compensating or shifting the pelvis. Most importantly DON’T ARCH OR ENGAGE YOUR BACK, even if that range is from flexed to neutral. If this is you, you’ll really want to focus on making sure you’re working to open those hips consistently! You have 90 days to get there, so don’t rush into adding weight or resistance to these exercises until you can perform them while maintaining a neutral pelvis. The goal is to avoid having your body compensate with other muscles and bypass the glutes! DON’T LET YOUR HIP FLEXORS BE THE DEATH OF YOUR GLUTES… lol!

I really love how doing these exercises on the FasciaYoga ball helps us keep the pelvis steady to isolate the glutes! Watch this to see how to modify the exercises with the ball if you’re starting with a limited range of motion, and revisit the full details here as often as you need!

***Booty Beauty Bonus: taking the time now to achieve this glute access means you can train your glutes as you go about your everyday tasks just by walking! Imagine every step taking you closer and closer to the Heart Butt of your dreams!

Watch the complete Week 1 live feed here.

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