Tight Hip Flexors? Foam Rolling For Your TFL Muscle

Tight Hip Flexors?

A common complaint of those that we see in our physiotherapy clinics is tight hip flexors.

If you sit all day, or don't spend a lot of time 'opening' your hips, it can often feel like the front of your pelvis and your hip flexors are really tight.

Thankfully, this is really easy to fix!

There can be a number of reasons that you 'feel' tight through your hip flexors, and one of the main contributors is the TFL muscle - tensor fascia latae.

This muscle is over the lateral (outside) aspect of your hip, and helps with hip flexion (forwards movement), abduction (lifting your leg to the side) and thigh rotation.

 

What Should I Use To Mobilise My Hip?

It's an area that is a little bit tricky to get into with a foam roller or a spiky ball so we're going to use a barbell.

You can use a simple training barbell (like the one shown on the video) but you can also use a bigger Olympic barbell, that's 20kg and a nice big collar is really helpful.

 

 

What You Need To Do To Roll Your TFL

Lay the barbell out in front and to the side that you want to target.

Get the collar up nice and close to your hip flexor. Lie down on the floor on your back, grab the top part of the barbell and roll it along the front of your hip muscles.

It can be uncomfortable due to the weight of the bar as it softens up all those tissues when you roll it around. 

This is okay - you need to be able to differentiate from pain, and discomfort. Discomfort is okay, pain is not!

This will help loosen up tissues on top and the side of your hip flexor muscles. 

Add some extra pressure down, then bend and straighten your leg a little.

Adding this extra 'active release' after 30 seconds of rolling will complement the rolling around. 

Do this for five to ten times of flexion through your hip and you should start to feel your hip loosen up, especially after a long day of sitting down or high loads of squatting.

There are numerous ways to mobilise and loosen up your hips - it is worth trying this method, to see if it will be helpful for you.

What is also important to remember is that there are often other contributing factors as to why you might 'feel' tight - such as weakness or instability somewhere else in the body.

Give this exercise a go, and reach out to a physiotherapist or massage therapist that you trust if you are having ongoing challenges.