‘Is it painful?’, asked the Physical therapist as she gently tried to stretch the piriformis, a muscle that’s embedded deep in the glutes.
Only, I was in no condition to answer her.
‘Valeria’? she asked again. Puzzled that I had gone silent suddenly.
It was then that she realized that I was gasping in pain. Tears rolling down my eyes.
I tried my best but I just couldn’t reply.
It was so overwhelming that I felt that I would pass out. Like someone had bludgeoned by lower back with a club and now was working on it with a hammer and chisel.
Gentle pulses of excruciating pain radiating all the way down into my legs.
And to think of it, it was just a month ago that I had completed a 5k marathon in record time.
My name is Valeria Flores. I am a Mexican woman of 36, born in the United States. Mother to three beautiful girls and wife to a fitness instructor and CrossFit athlete.
This is my story and how I overcame the biggest hurdle in my life until now.
- 1 The Life Of A Former Athlete
- 2 In The ER
- 3 The Search For Exercises & ‘Unlock Your Hip Flexors’
- 4 What Is ‘Unlock Your Hip Flexors’?
- 5 What Do You Get With ‘Unlock Your Hip Flexors’?
- 6 The Mystery Muscle Called ‘The Psoas’
- 7 Unlock Your Hip Flexors Review: My Experience With The Program
The Life Of A Former Athlete
As the star sweeper for our high school soccer team, I had the fortune to be trained by some of the best coaches in the country in the best years of my life.
The drills, the practice, the iron, chasing the ball back to the line, it was a lifestyle that I was most at home with.
This laid the foundation for my fitness that would help me immensely in the later years.
I was invincible. Or so I thought.
But my ecstasy was short lived as an anterior cruciate ligament tear in the middle of a sprint, and the subsequent hard fall that cracked my collar bone, ended my soccer career prematurely.
I was devastated for a while. But took it in my stride thanks to the amazing support from my family and friends.
After college, I worked as a healthcare marketing executive for one of the best companies in the country. That’s when I met Roberto.
A whirlwind romance and then marriage happened. Before I even realized, I was mother to three gorgeous girls.
The years went by in a blur and fitness, which was once a habit, went on the backburner.
It was after my youngest daughter, Catalina turned 4, that I decided to get active again.
I started off slow. Walks, jogs, cycling.
Almost instantly, I could make out a difference. The body wasn’t responding like it used to. Even a normal walk was an ordeal.
But I chalked it to years of inactivity and couch surfing and continued to exercise. Rookie mistake.
In hindsight, I should have gotten the lower back pain checked.
And then one fine day, spurred by the pep speech that my husband gave me, I decided to do the 5k marathon at the drop of a hat.
I trained for a month and ran like I’ve never done before. I finished in record time. My personal best.
Throughout the marathon, I could feel the pain again. A small niggle here. A tiny pain there.
But two days later, the pain flared up. So much so, that I could barely move.
In The ER
‘This doesn’t look so good Val’, Roberto exclaimed as he saw me struggle to get up off the couch.
My lower back was on fire. The plate crashed on the floor and I almost stumbled and crashed into the TV. Rob grabbed me in time.
As we stepped into the ER, I didn’t expect that this single diagnosis could change my life forever.
‘Ankylosing Spondylitis’, she said.
I recall everything slowing down after I heard those words.
That’s because I’d heard them many times before.
My mom had struggled with immobility due to AS in her final years. Advanced kyphosis had rendered her immobile.
The first thoughts in my mind were, ‘This can’t happen to me’. ‘I can’t be bedridden for life’ ‘Who will raise the girls’?
But the doctors and Roberto assured me that this diagnosis wasn’t so bad.
It was just the initial stages and with exercise and medication, I could lead a normal life like everyone else.
The Search For Exercises & ‘Unlock Your Hip Flexors’
As I went into research mode unraveling every tiny detail that there is about AS, I realized one thing that we all tend to overlook.
The importance of having a strong core. All the time spent in the gym lifting heavy weights will do little, if you have a weak core.
It is the core that is like the bedrock of a healthy body. Everything that you do, sit, stand, run, turn, bend, lift, everything is made possible by the core.
Inactivity, bad posture, pregnancy, injury, there are many reasons why my core muscles went weak.
But when my physical therapist suggested that I strengthen my hip-flexor muscles, I began to search for exercises specifically made for it. Ones that I could do at home.
The first few days were spent on YouTube. But that didn’t make much of a difference. Tennis balls, foam rollers, the typical stuff that do little on their own.
But then, someone suggested to Rob that he check out this workout program called, ‘Unlock your hip flexors’ created by Rick Kaselj, a name that Rob was pretty familiar with.
Rick is a personal trainer himself. But he specializes in exercise rehabilitation. He’s a graduate in Kinesiology from Simon Fraser University.
Well, as if the program was godsend.
What Is ‘Unlock Your Hip Flexors’?
Unlock your Hip Flexors is a self-help, workout program that will loosen the one single muscle that’s most important in a condition like AS. And in many others too, the hip flexor.
It is a set of instructional videos and an informative manual that teach you how to perform these exercises on your own.
That doesn’t sound like much.
But as I read their website, it was like I was replaying my life after the injury during college. You can too read the same over here
Hours and hours of sitting at the desk for work, then on the couch, as I was raising the little girls had taken a toll on my body in ways that I couldn’t even fathom.
I could just visualize myself sitting day in and day out. My belly beginning to bulge and me shrugging it off as post-partum weight gain.
The lower back pain that had started after my second child was born.
The tingling in the shoulders. The lethargy. The added anxiety. The sleeplessness.
It all added up. The dots just connected.
Almost all the symptoms of a weak core were evident.
But then, I was taken aback to see the guy behind the program, Rick
It was a normal looking spectacled man teaching the exercises.
No bulging veins. No washboard abs. The guy was wearing a T-shirt, and a loose one at that. He was so unlike the fitness trainers that we’re so used to seeing.
Almost immediately, it triggered doubts in my mind.
Was this a sham? A quick Google search revealed that the guy was for real.
Rick is the go-to man for sports rehabilitation and kinesiology for some of the biggest names in the business.
So sad that he doesn’t look like a Calvin Klein underwear model. I could live with that as long as his workout routine helped me.
What Do You Get With ‘Unlock Your Hip Flexors’?
As I signed up for ‘Unlock your Hip Flexors’ I was given access to set of instructional videos and a set of follow-along videos.
In addition to this, there was a PDF, called the Hip Flexor Manual which is about 60 pages. It contains a boatload of information about hip flexors that I had never read anywhere during the course of my research.
Not on Wikipedia or Netdoctor or anywhere else. It was like an eye opener for me.
And then there were a bunch of bonuses called ‘Unlock your tight hamstrings’ and a ‘7-day anti-inflammatory diet’.
To be honest, I didn’t care much for the bonuses. My only goal was to strengthen my core at that point in time.
The Mystery Muscle Called ‘The Psoas’
Rick explains in the manual about the probable causes of a weak hip flexor, ways to fix the problem and preventive measures to ensure that the problem does not occur again.
The information is laid out in a simple and easy-to-understand way.
Despite being a subject that involves the use of some heavy medical terminology, even my eldest daughter could understand what it was all about.
But there was one word that caught my attention, the ‘psoas’ muscle.
The Psoas muscle is the biggest and strongest muscle in the hip flexor muscle group and it is burdened with the herculean task of connecting the vertebra to the femur.
Something like a bridge on which most of your organs rest.
When the psoas muscle gets weakened, the effects can be felt on just about everything that you do.
Your energy levels
Lower back pain
Your performance in the gym
Having worked in the healthcare industry, I have learnt to take a lot of claims with a large grain of salt.
But some further research actually proved everything that Rick mentions. The psoas is indeed related to every single thing mentioned above.
It does some serious heavy lifting and in 90% of the population, it is weak and stressed which causes problems galore.
Unlock Your Hip Flexors Review: My Experience With The Program
I spent a day reading the manual. And then I read it again. The last thing I needed was the pain to flare up again.
Then I started off with the instructional videos where Rick explains each and every exercise and the reason why you are performing it.
This leaves no room for error. Every exercise is explained to the tiniest of detail over here.
Then, I played the follow-along videos where you can perform the exercises with Rick. Once again, I went slow.
The first thing that I noticed was how easy the exercises are. Or maybe they are explained in a way that make them easy.
Also, the exercises are always performed in a particular sequence.
Rick calls this ‘Sequential Flow’. According to him, performing these exercises in this particular sequence will ensure that the tight hip flexor muscles are released.
If you jump the gun and perform them in a wrong order, it might just get worse.
The Progress – Week 1
On the first two days, the pain marginally increased. I was almost about to give up thinking that the program is bunk.
But I held on.
On day three, I woke up with no pain whatsoever. And this is coming from someone who has been struggling with severe pain in the lower back, hips and shoulders for the past two months.
The pain had just disappeared. Had my hip flexor muscles been released? Was the psoas back to normal again?
Hell, I didn’t know. All I knew was that I was all charged and continued with the program.
By the second week, I was more comfortable with the exercises. I didn’t really need the instructional videos anymore. I had memorized the sequence as well.
The effects were incredible.
Here are the immediate effects.
Complete pain relief
No more anxiety attacks
More confident in my workouts
For the first time in two months, I cycled around the park, almost expecting the pain to pop up out of the blue.
But nothing. No pain at all.
What Are The Exercises That You Perform In The Program?
There are 10 exercises in the Unlock your Hip Flexors program. Here are some of them.
PNF Stretching or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation: A method in which you activate a specific set of muscles around joints and thereby relax the joints. Great for acute joint pain.
Dynamic Stretching: Improved blood circulation around the joints.
Dimensional Core Stability Exercises: A range of movements to increase the endurance of the core
Mobility Exercises: Targetted joint exercises normally performed by Physical therapists.
Muscle Activation Movements: Activate muscles that are tightened due to prolonged inactivity.
The rest of the exercises are too complex to be explained here. You can read the entire list of exercises over at unlockmyhips.com
You’ve got to perform them and experience the difference that it brings to your life.
Why It Works
It is a scientifically proven set of exercises performed by a licensed physical therapist and Kinesiologist.
It is easy to follow.
You can do them anywhere, anytime at your convenience.
It comes with a 60 Day money back guarantee.
I Was Able To Wean Off Medications
By implementing the amazing workouts in ‘Unlock your hip flexor’, I was able to wean off my painkiller medications.
It’s true that I ensured that I never missed my PT sessions, but it was strengthening my core and hip flexors that truly helped me manage my AS to a large extent.
I owe it to Rick Kaselj.
I highly recommend ‘Unlock your hip flexors’ to anyone who’s struggling with chronic back or hip pain, poor posture, kyphosis and other conditions.
It comes with a 60-day money back guarantee. You just cannot go wrong with it.