On Wednesday we discussed the phenomenon of quad walking, when a shortened and tight hip flexor group get in the way of hip extension while walking. If you sit a lot, shortness in the front of the hip can be hard to avoid – but see what happens if you add in this hip stretch to your daily routine (or even better, get up a few times during the day to stretch your hip flexors out and keep your hips supple and mobile!).

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Jackie Wolff

I am reminded as I have been sitting for long periods working on submitting all my YTU L1 requirements that I desperately need this stretch! I love teaching Monk Walks and did try the static version. It’s amazing to see my students come to yoga who thought they only wanted passive stretching and grumble over strength and stablility building poses start to turn the corner and notice the difference in their bodies!

Andree

Hi Sarah! Great post! I have perpetually tight hips (although I’m working on them!) and I can wait to try this stretch daily!

Catherine RL

Although I personally am not a fan of lunges and Monk Walks, will definitely add more to my classes for my students.
Thank you

Anja

I love this alternative to traditional lunges and awareness of the front thighs. Both holding the pose and doing the monk walks are great for stretching the quads after all these hours of sitting that we do. I will teach more of that in my classes!

Tisha

Yes! I was definitely a Quad Walker before yoga and this is perfect for helping my previous colleagues and friends who sit at desks all day. I learned the Monk Walk in YTU training recently, but I must have missed the part of kicking the back leg forward or back to isolate specific stretch or firing of muscles. Thank you for posting. For myself, I need both the stretch in the front of my thigh and the strengthen of the glutes which also helps with extension of the leg while walking.

Caitlin Casella

This static version of the YTU monk walk is effective for stretching the hip flexors and likely less stressful on the hip joint. Because of the relationship to gravity, having the knee directly below the hip (as opposed to behind the hip as in a typical crescent lunge) will place less load on the ligaments and other soft tissues that cross the hip joint anteriorly.

Tiffany

I like this lunge – it’s stabilizing and teaches neutral spine and pelvic positioning without yanking on the psoas, which can be complicated and can’t always be released simply through stretching.

Isabelle Deschenes

I like it because i can do this anywhere, événements at Work! I will integrate this to my day to day life right away.

Emily

Thanks for the video. I love YTU monk walks. Nice to consider static version too.

Mari

Thank you, I appreciate learning new ways to stretch out my hip flexors, will be adding it into my routine. I also like the option to using the wall for balance.

Jonathan McKinna

Thank you, Sarah! When I practice self-care at my desk, one measure of success is how many funny faces I can draw out of my coworkers. You can bet I’ll be adding both the Wedding March and this Hip Flexor stretch to my bag of tricks. And you’re so right. I was feeling the burn in a matter of seconds in that stretch. Amazing stuff.

Katie Alba

This is fantastic. I love the idea of contracting the muscles to change the stretch. Thank you.

Line Bernier

J’apprécie tellement les vidéos! Une image vaut mille mot. Merci Sarah!

Delfina Bonilla-Lopez

I’ve done this stretch so so so many times, but have never added in the directive of kicking forward or backward. And I love it because it’s a quadriple-wammy. You begin with the a non-threatening static stretch, that then turns intoa dynamic stretch as you tilt your pelvis anteriorly and posteriorly, then once you find your complete neutral your holding an isometric contraction and finally by adding in the kicking directives to kick forward or backwards you’re adding in a PNF component to the stretch. How could you possibly not feel better and walk better and without as much quad… Read more »

Ali Bell

Really like the static version of monk walks – as well as providing an effective stretch for those hip flexors it attracts way less attention when I do this at my office desk than the dynamic pose!

Christina Summerville

I’m always excited to learn a new way to stretch my hip flexors since I’m tight there. I have been working a lot on extending my hip when I walk and using my toe off. Thanks for this great exercise to add to my routine!

Tracey Silverman

I’ve been working on my quad walking a lot and can’t wait to add in this stretch to my daily work. I always try to stretch my hip flexors via lunges the way you demonstrated NOT to. I appreciate seeing the “what not to do” and having a way to truly target the extension I need for proper gait.

Tara Kachroo

A posture variation of the monk walk with the back knee on the ground was given to me by my physiotherapist. This variation is more challenging and doesn’t put pressure on the patella, which scales it perfectly for my yoga classes. Thanks!

Gabriela

Great info on this article! I always felt deep lunges will do the trick, poses as Cresent pose I would do it very deep on the extended leg so I feel my hip flexors releasing. However, as you clearly pointed out, I had to put a lot of attention to my lower back so I was holding a lot tension even on my neck to stay aligned. I’ve learned through the Level 1 YTU Certification Training how gluteus are so neglected and how by activating them the pelvis stables, abs activates and lower back gets to be safe in so… Read more »

Karen Smereka

I’m a quad walker! This blog was super inciteful for me. I sit a lot for my work and then when I walk my hip flexors twinge so I shorten my stride. Yoga lunges exacerbate the problem. The nice thing about the monk walks is the bent back leg allows the stretch to be mild in the back hip flexor. I will try to do this occassinally as I work. I think I need a new chair too….

Amelia

I definitely feel the stretch in the back leg here! Monk walks are a great challenge. 🙂

Manju Goradia

A great visual of a lunge with both knees flexed at 90 with isometrics.

Kimberlee Ott

Yes Sarah!!! Love this video! Most of us could use this stretch, I teach a variation of this in my yoga classes I plan to add in the kick behind you to contract hip extensors. I use this in pilates as well, i find that the amount of hip extension on the lower back can be a bit to much and keeping the torso upright can cause less compression in the lower back.

Manju Goradia

I promise I will do it as soon as I finish doing my homework.

Camille

Hi Sarah! With the leg that is in front, I often find i’m firing my hip flexor like crazy, should I press down through my heel and squeeze the supporting glute? I’m going to try this but I want to make sure I’m doing it correctly and not making it worse. Thanks!

Donna Clark

Nice Sarah. I have always loved (well love/hate) monk walks as Jason teaches them alot!! But I have felt my hip joints much more stable and strong since doing them. I love the addition of the contracting the gluts – I have always instructed “kicking forward” which is great but now that I try it – working the back line is also fantastic and brings about another proprioceptive reality to my wee brain.

Tamar

Sarah, I have a tendency to walk with my feet turned out slightly (duck). A lot of that disfunction for me has come from having tight hip flexers and lacking the range to naturally swing my let through a full stride. This lack of range of motion has, in the past, caused tightness in my low back. Thanks for another tool for addressing this.

TDY

JL

Love this pose and do it all the time as a static pose. I also drag the front heel towards the back to fire the hamstring. Additionally, I ask the athletes to try and straighten the back leg while keeping their spine neutral. Those that do succeed in doing so are obviously extending their spine and moving out of neutrality. Thanks for this Sarah

Sarah

Hi Sarah :-)!

You can hold the pose as long as you want – you may find it gets pretty tiring pretty quickly though!

And a wall for balance is a great idea.

Sarah

Hi Sarah, Thanks for this subtle but effective stretch!
Two questions: how long should I hold the pose/contractions? And, is it cheating to hold onto a wall for balance?

Wei Yao

I think this is great exercise ,its very simple and useful !

Glenda Garcia

Thank you! This will be a part of my daily self care routine. I felt the effects immediately! And thank you for the isometric contraction variations.

Carly

After participating in this stretch in one of your classes and watching this video, I have become much more aware of my tendency to “quad walk” after sitting for long periods of time. Plan to use this stretch to take breaks from sitting and encourage healthy walking!

Michelle S.

You may not realize the effect that opening your hips can have on your daily movement. Doing a pose like this, or one that helps open up the Psoas muscle fosters a more spiritual opening as well.

Sarah

Hi Ed Scheteriak, I just wanted to respond to your comment. “Anyone with a yoga practice” can still have a tight and short hip, so I disagree that this pose is not for those who practice yoga, as I teach it often in my yoga classes. For someone who has a particularly shortened psoas or tight front of the hip, posterior tilt may not even be necessary to cue in this position, although it certainly is an effective addition, so I agree with you there. As always, it depends!

Riyo Mito

It is great ! I used to stretch very deep with wide lunge pose.But this one is more helpful to release front of thigh and top of tensor fasciae late, Sartorius.

Lisa Hebert

Amazing how something so simple can be so effective! And how key that posterior tilt is to facilitating a really effective stretch
Thanks for posting

Ann F

HI Sarah: I read your earlier blog, describing ‘quad walking’ ~~ oh my! that described me to a “T”! (though i would call it affectionately Zombie Walking). , spending 6+ hours a day at my desk doesn’t help matters much either. I have felt my hip flexors shorten more and more over the years and have felt relief in poses such as Warrior 1 and Dancer. When i saw Jill’s Monk Walk on her DVD, i tried it and lasted about 30 seconds. Thank you for the explaination in your video about the typical lunge and bending the back knee… Read more »

Mishie

hello,
m suffrering from anterior pelvic tilt.. the hip flexor stretches dont feel anymore (yes, i used to follow tucking the bum under).. can u help me relate exactly where the problem lies ??

Pete Shaw

Awesome!

I fired up this hip distraction during a pit-stop on a 7 hour car ride – http://instagram.com/p/qae0FOhSpU/?modal=true

michael

I have short hip flexors and have ilopsoas trouble whenever I skip a day or so of trying to stretch them. This post made me aware that whenever I do stretch my hip flexors, I am either leaning forward, or compressing my lower back rather than getting the appropriate angle in the hip that I need to stretch out these muscles. This post will definitely help me improve my technique and start feeling better. Thank you so much!

Ed Scheterlak

I don’t see how the hip flexor is stretched if the knee remains under the hip. I agree that lunging is not effective if the torso leans forward. The role of the abdominals is to moderate the lumbar curve as the knee comes behind hip level. The lunge you describe, while a great leg exercise, might be a stretch for someone with extremely tight hip flexors but not for anyone with a yoga practice. more effective would be to cue posterior pelvic tilt during the lunge.

katie in montana

very good tutorial! Thanks!

Ann

Fascinating! It doesn’t look like a lot of work until you try it! I really felt it when I effected the isometric contraction. I do try to have my students reach back thru the back heel in the “regular” lunge to lengthen the base, but the pose you show seems a much stronger pose. 🙂

carol

Thanks for the insight–I tried the alternate lunge pose and, yes, it’s harder than the regular lunge, and I see your point about working the hip more effectively, Having just finished my first class in Yoga Tune Up level one might explain why I was not quite able to manage the extension idea…but food for thought!