Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General Strange Hip Flexion Issues

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    • #71713
      AvatarMatthew Nicholson

      Hi all!

      Hope everyone is doing well. I’m having some hip flexion issues and am hoping someone in this forum might be able to give me some insight. I’ve combed through previous posts, but couldn’t seem to find precisely what I’m looking for. 
      To give you some background on me:
      I’m 25 with no history of major injuries or other physiological problems. My primary form of exercise is classical Pilates where I work on musculoskeletal alignment, stretch and strength daily. I have the amazing fortune of working with a world-class teacher who’s mentors spent decades learning the method from Joseph Pilates himself. However, I’m on an extended trip and away from her and the traditional apparatus we use in the system and need a way to get over my last major mechanics hurdle until I return: full hip flexion. 
      Deep squatting doesn’t cause me any pain, but going low enough invariably causes my pelvis to drag under into a tucked position. The same is true if I lie down on my back and pull my knee deeply into my chest. I can achieve the full expression of the couch stretch without any issues and glutes, adductors, etc. don’t feel tight if massaged with a firm ball. I’m also hypermobile in nearly every other joint and my hips already have a large range of motion even with this blockage.
      Based on what I’ve read from members of the community here, Kelly’s books and other sources, it seems to be a hip capsule issue so I explored all of the MWod hip stretches I could and focused on the capsule mobs (especially internal rotation) with banded distractions in particular. When I first tried them, I indeed felt a stretch of the deep tissues within my hip, but my improvement with either external rotation or flexion was hardly noticeable. I kept at it and now I’m at the point where I no longer feel much of a stretch, but my hip flexion isn’t really any better. When I go to end range flexion with a band, I usually feel a tingly sensation from my nerves and back off. 
      Has anyone else had this problem? Is there something I’m doing wrong or overlooked? It’s the last big hurdle I have to clear before having full, healthy range of motion in every part of my body and I’d love to tackle it if possible. 
      Any help, advice or comments would be greatly appreciated!
      Thank you!!!
    • #76698
      AvatarTom Matchinsky


      It is actually pretty common for people to have their pelvis tuck under at the absolute end ranges of hip flexion especially in the deepest of squat positions (where your ass is to your ankles for lack of better term!). This is actually normal physiology at that depth because when a person squats that deep historically it is to use the bathroom outside (think pre toilet era) and tucking of the pelvis is necessary for the relaxation of the pelvic floor and easy evacuation of the bowel and bladder. Now if you are squatting this deep but also putting significant load on your back then we don’t want that to happen and the solution is really just don’t squat so deep if you are squatting with load, you really only need to break parallel with load anyway. If you are squatting all the way down to well below parallel and there is some tucking under of the pelvis at the very end range I would not concern yourself with it. 
      Travis Jewett
      MWOD Staff
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