9 Best Strengthening Exercises For Hip Flexors

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When you concentrate on getting sturdy and jacked, the hip flexors should not one of many first areas that come to thoughts. The massive muscle tissue just like the chest, again, quads, and glutes get the entire love. However, hip flexor workouts could make an enormous distinction, which means this muscle group deserves some consideration too. 

Muscle tissue just like the hip flexors act synergistically to help not directly in lots of actions. In actual fact, the hip flexors are concerned in practically each decrease physique exercise. This implies you’ll be able to’t be as sturdy as attainable you probably have weak hyperlinks on this space.

The hip flexors are necessary for one more purpose, too. With how a lot we sit, it is common for our hips to grow to be extremely tight and motionless. Attempt squatting heavy with tight hips. It isn’t enjoyable. Warming the hips up correctly earlier than decrease physique exercises is a secret of the professionals. 

The excellent news is it does not take a lot to get your hip flexors transferring higher and stronger than ever. You’ll be able to enhance issues considerably with the correct hip flexor workouts and programming. 

Desk of Contents:

  • What Are The Hip Flexors?
  • What Causes Tight Hips?
  • How To Inform If Your Hip Flexors Are Tight Or Weak
  • Greatest 9 Hip Flexor Strengthening Workout routines
  • Stretches For Tight Hip Flexors To Enhance Flexibility
  • Programming Hip Flexor Workout routines
  • Actual-Life Perspective: Suggestions & Tips For Stretching & Strengthening Your Hip Flexors
  • Advantages Of Hip Flexor Workout routines

What are the Hip Flexors?

The hip flexor muscle tissue are on the entrance prime of your thigh within the pelvic space. They perform by bringing the knee nearer to your chest and work with the hip joints, that are ball and socket joints. This motion is named hip flexion, therefore the identify. The hip flexors play an important function anytime you sit, squat, run, or experience a motorbike.

As much as eleven muscle tissue are concerned in hip flexion. The first hip flexors are the iliacus, psoas (iliopsoas), pectineus, rectus femoris, and sartorius. 

  • Psoas: The psoas are two totally different hip muscle tissue: psoas main and psoas minor. These muscle tissue help in stabilizing your decrease again. The psoas muscle runs from the decrease again via the pelvis and attaches to the femur. The distinctive function of the psoas muscle is it attaches the higher physique to the decrease physique. As it’s important for hip flexor well being, it is essential to include psoas exercises into your routine.
  • Iliacus: The iliacus muscle works synergistically with the psoas main to create motion within the hip joint. When contracted, it flexes and externally rotates the femur. The iliacus can be a essential muscle that helps keep correct physique posture.
  • Pectineus: The pectineus is extra generally generally known as a groin muscle however is concerned in hip flexion, too. Because of the place of the muscle fibers, the pectineus flexes and adducts the thigh on the hip joint, which means it performs an important function in hip adduction exercises.
  • Rectus Femoris: A quadriceps muscle, the rectus femoris attaches the pelvis to the knee. The quad muscle is a hip flexor, helps to stabilize the backbone, and is concerned in squats and lunges.
  • Sartorius: The sartorius can be a quadriceps muscle operating from the pelvis to the knee. It’s the muscle that runs throughout the thigh. The perform of the sartorius is exclusive because it acts as a hip and knee flexor. 

hip flexor exercises for strength

What Causes Tight Hips?

Tight hip flexors, hip ache, and hip flexor pressure are among the many extra prevalent complaints you hear within the health club. However what causes tight hips?

In at present’s society, it’s common to reside a sedentary life. In addition to being a number one reason for weight problems, the shortage of exercise additionally creates tight hips1. Above all else, sitting all day causes the hip flexors to shorten and grow to be tight. Brief and tight muscle tissue don’t generate as a lot power and energy as lengthened muscle tissue. When it comes time to stroll, run, or squat, they could resist or not work as they need to.

You can even get tight hips from exercise. We all know, we all know. Typically with hip flexors you’ll be able to’t win.

Any time you carry your knees towards your torso, your hip flexors are working. Actions that require repetition of this movement can lead to pressure, resulting in tightness within the space. Operating, skating, kicking, and a weight-lifting workout split can all trigger tight hips.

Having poor posture may also result in tight hips.

How do you inform in case your hip flexors are tight or weak?

A clear indication that your hip flexors are tight is that they really feel tense if you attempt to stretch them or carry out an exercise. 

There are different much less apparent indicators too. When the hip flexors are tight, they’ll influence many areas of your physique. A number of the frequent signs are:

  • Tightness or decrease again ache, particularly when standing. 
  • Not capable of hit depth comfortably when squatting.
  • Decreased sports activities efficiency.
  • Hassle sustaining correct posture. 
  • Neck tightness and ache. 
  • Glute tightness and ache.

You can even do a take a look at to test for hip tightness. It is known as the Thomas Check, and it is used to test for each anterior pelvic tilt and posterior pelvic tilt.

To carry out the take a look at, lie face up on a sturdy desk or bench so your legs dangle off. Deliver each knees towards your torso so your decrease again lies flat in opposition to the desk or bench. Whereas holding the fitting knee near your chest, slowly straighten your left leg and let it calm down downward. Typically it helps to have somebody maintain that leg for you.

Your hip flexors are okay if you happen to can totally lengthen the thigh, so it is parallel to the bottom, and the opposite knee is bent to 90 levels with out the opposite thigh rising. It signifies tight hip flexor muscle tissue if you happen to wrestle to forestall the relaxed leg from developing.

The video under exhibits you precisely how one can do the Thomas Check.

How To Strengthen Hip Flexors: 9 Greatest Hip Flexor Strengthening Workout routines

The very first thing it’s essential do is use the Thomas Check above to find out whether or not your hip flexors are tight or weak. In the event that they’re weak, this part is for you!

One Reddit commenter explains that stretching does not do something constructive for weak hip flexors, so it is necessary to determine your true situation. “I am extremely in opposition to stretching your hip flexors till you are 100% sure they’re tight. Stretching your hip flexors whereas having weak hip flexors as an alternative of tight ones will solely worsen the issue. Please test if they’re tight first, more often than not hip flexors are simply weak.” (source)

If you happen to’ve decided your hip flexors are weak, I am certain you are able to dig into the very best hip flexor strengthening workouts. Let’s get into the 9 greatest hip flexor workouts!

1. Alternating Straight Leg Elevate: 

 exercises to strengthen hip flexors

The straight leg increase improves hip mobility, stability, and power. It is among the most used workouts throughout bodily remedy following hip and knee accidents. That mentioned, it is usually a fantastic train to enhance wholesome hips and enhance hip mobility.

 How you can do the Alternating Leg Elevate:

  • Start by mendacity on the bottom together with your legs in entrance of you and your arms at your sides. 
  • Squeeze the quad in your left leg and, whereas maintaining your left knee and leg straight, raise it to a 45-degree angle. Maintain for as much as 5 seconds and return to the ground in a managed movement. Be sure that your proper leg stays straight and on the bottom your complete time.
  • Repeat for the specified reps on one facet and swap legs.

2. Again-Supported Leg Elevate:

supine hip flexor stretch

The back-supported leg increase, additionally known as The Roman Chair or Power Tower, is among the greatest general ab workouts you are able to do. The motion explicitly targets the decrease part of the abdominals but additionally incorporates the hip flexors.

The again help protects the decrease again and helps preserve the motion strict. You will have to search for this gear at your health club. And remember to do some ab stretches afterward!

How you can do Again-Supported Leg Raises:

  • Assist your physique by resting your elbows on the pads. Place your again in opposition to the again help. 
  • Start the motion by elevating your legs to 90 levels earlier than you, rounding the decrease again to contract the belly core. The bottom line is attempting to get your legs up excessive sufficient.
  • As soon as your legs grow to be horizontal, decrease them down below management. Be sure that your ft lengthen down between reps.

3. Decline Sit-Ups:

how to strengthen hip flexors

The decline sit-up is one other nice ab and hip flexor train. It permits us to make use of gravity to make the usual sit-up tougher and efficient, which is nice for addressing weak hip flexors.

One error many individuals make when coaching the hip flexors is sticking to straightforward workouts and performing them with excessive reps within the muscular endurance vary (sometimes 16+ reps).

Keep in mind, the hip flexors are muscle tissue that reply to resistance like different muscle tissue. To construct muscle, it’s essential practice with excessive resistance. If it’s essential, begin with body weight. In any other case, make this tougher by holding a weighted plate.

How you can do Decline Sit Ups:

  • Safe your ft below the pads on the finish of a decline bench and lie down. Cross your arms throughout your chest, or maintain a weight airplane in entrance of your chest. That is the beginning place.
  • To start the motion, push your decrease again on the bench and convey your torso up off the pad.
  • Proceed sitting up till your arms are available contact together with your knees. Maintain the highest place for a second.
  • After the one-second maintain, start slowly to the beginning place.

4. Strolling Dumbbell Lunge:

flexors exercises

The strolling lunge is a good dumbbell leg exercise. One of the crucial vital advantages of this motion is that it really works to enhance stability and muscular power.

How you can do the Strolling Dumbbell Lunge:

  • Stand together with your physique upright, holding one or two dumbbells at your sides. Start with ft hip width aside. That is the beginning place.
  • Take a step ahead together with your proper leg round two ft or so from the foot being left on the bottom and decrease your higher physique down, whereas maintaining the torso upright and sustaining stability. Don’t lean ahead.
  • To carry out the motion, push up and return to the beginning place.
  • Repeat the motion for the really helpful repetitions after which carry out together with your left foot and leg ahead.

5. Dumbbell Bulgarian Break up Squat:

 best hip flexor exercises

The Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat (BSS) is a single-leg train that may be a nice decrease physique developer. Top-of-the-line advantages of this motion is how secure it’s. The BSS is usually used as a alternative for the again squat if folks have a decrease again harm or one other limitation.

How you can do Dumbbell Bulgarian Break up Squats:

  • Maintain one or two dumbbells at your sides whereas standing in entrance of a bench.
  • Attain one leg again behind you, and relaxation the highest of your foot flat on the bench.
  • Brace your core and descend below management till your again knee is a few inches from the bottom or your entrance thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Lengthen your knees and hips totally to return to the highest. Guarantee your torso stays upright throughout your complete rep.

6. Psoas March:

 hip flexor lifts

Though it’s a nice motion to strengthen your psoas, you can even use it in your warm-up. If you wish to make this train tougher, place a resistance band round your ft for an additional problem.

How you can do the Psoas March:

  • Lay in your again, sustaining a impartial backbone, together with your knees bent at 90 levels. Your arms could be positioned on the ground or within the air.
  • Lengthen one leg together with your knee straight, and slowly carry the leg again, then repeat on the opposite facet.

7. Dumbbell Step Up:

strong hip flexors

The dumbbell step-up is a good decrease physique train to incorporate in your leg workouts because it develops muscle, power, and stability. Use a field or bench 12 to 18 inches (30-46 cm) or excessive sufficient to create roughly a 90-degree angle on the knee joint when the foot is on the field.

How you can do the Dumbbell Step Up:

  • Maintain the dumbbells at your sides, about 12 inches from a field or bench. Step up one leg to position your complete foot on the field.
  • Together with your knee bent, okayeep your torso erect as you step up on the field, and keep away from leaning ahead. Push off together with your lead leg already on the field, and convey your again foot onto the field.
  • As soon as each ft are on the field and your legs straight, return each ft to the bottom, one leg at a time.
  • Repeat on the opposite leg.

8. Barbell Rollout:

hip flexor exercises gym

The barbell rollout and ab wheel are underused and underappreciated, however there isn’t a doubt they’re brutally efficient.

You’ll be able to decide up an ab wheel on-line for affordable in case your health club does not have one. It is definitely worth the funding to have one in your health club bag. You can even use a barbell with 10-pound plates on both sides and roll out.

How you can do the Barbell Rollout:

  • Together with your knees about hip-width aside, kneel and grasp the ab curler with each arms. The ab curler must be on the ground in entrance of you.
  • Slowly roll the ab curler or barbell ahead, stretching your physique right into a straight place. Similar to within the plank, be sure the motion is not coming out of your backbone or your hips. Preserve a impartial backbone all through the set.
  • Go as little as you’ll be able to, with out every other a part of your physique touching the ground apart from your knees and ft.
  • After a pause on the finish vary of movement, begin pulling your self again together with your core to the beginning place. Hold your abs tight always.

9. Standing Knee Elevate:

 hip flexor activation

Final however not least is the standing knee increase. Though the standing knee increase is difficult to load, it is among the greatest methods to focus on the hip flexors instantly. Consider it as a slow-motion, standing-in-place march.

How you can do the Standing Knee Elevate:

  • Stand together with your ft shoulder-width aside. Elevate one knee till your thigh is parallel to the bottom.
  • Pause and return to the beginning place. 
  • Repeat together with your reverse leg.
  • You’ll be able to load the train by sporting ankle weights or placing your foot via the highest a part of a kettlebell. 

How To Stretch Hip Flexors: Enhance Flexibility With These Stretches for Tight Hip Flexors

Stretching is a instrument to cut back muscle tightness and enhance vary of movement. Nonetheless, there’s debate over the very best technique and time to implement it. For a very long time, static stretching, the place you stretch a muscle and maintain it for a interval, was believed to be a fantastic warm-up exercise.

Most coaches and trainers have lately switched to dynamic warm-ups. And, for many muscle teams, that is the fitting strategy.

That mentioned, the hip flexors are distinctive. A 2021 systematic evaluation with meta-analysis examined the affect of stretching the hip flexor muscle tissue on efficiency parameters.

Not like different muscle teams that decreased efficiency with static stretching pre-activity, the meta-analysis discovered no detrimental impact and improved efficiency in some instances2. The researchers hypothesized that hip flexor stretches results in higher positioning for the lumbar backbone and pelvis.

With this in thoughts, it’s useful to incorporate dynamic and static hip flexors stretches as a part of the warm-up. Moreover, in case your hip flexors are tight, it is smart to have hip flexor stretches within the cool-down for additional work.

Greatest Dynamic Heat-Ups For Hip Flexors

Heat up tight hip flexors with these two dynamic hip flexor mobility workouts.

1. Leg Swings:

hip flexor raises 

Leg swings are a dynamic warm-up train that prepares your muscle tissue for these powerful barbell leg exercises you are about to sort out. Not like static stretches, the place you maintain one mounted place, dynamic stretches help you transfer via a spread of movement.

The dynamic nature of the motion not solely reduces the prospect of harm however may also assist enhance efficiency in decrease physique workouts.

How you can do Leg Swings:

  • To carry out the motion, stand together with your legs shoulder width aside and lengthen your arm in opposition to a wall or a sturdy object. There must be sufficient room so that you can swing your legs via a full vary of movement.
  • Together with your arm prolonged, stand in your left leg and lengthen your proper leg out in entrance of you in order that it’s simply off the bottom.
  • Start by swinging your proper leg to the entrance of the physique so far as you’ll be able to after which swinging it again behind you, crossing your left leg so far as you’ll be able to. End the set after which repeat on the opposite facet.

2. Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch:

strengthen your hip flexors 

The lunging hip flexor stretch is among the most typical hip flexor stretches, and for purpose. It’s efficient and can be a fantastic glute stretch.

How you can do the Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch:

  • Take a step ahead together with your proper foot from a standing place, and drop your again knee towards the bottom as if performing a lunge.
  • Place your arms in your proper thigh and shift your weight ahead till you’re feeling a stretch in your left hip. 
  • Deal with contracting your glutes. 
  • Maintain for as much as 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite facet.

Greatest Static Stretches For Hip Flexors

It’s simply as important to stretch and lengthen your hip muscle tissue post-workout with some cool down stretches and exercises. You can even embody these as a part of your warm-up. We promise they will really feel nice!

1. The Sofa Stretch:

best hip flexor strength exercises

The sofa stretch, made well-known by bodily therapist Kelly Starrett, is a good motion to stretch the quad and hip flexors. It’s extremely versatile.

You are able to do it to chill down from a brutal exercise or on muscle recovery days in case your legs or hips are tight. Maintain the stretch for at the very least 30 seconds on both sides.

How you can do the Sofa Stretch:

  • You’ll need a bench or a sofa to do the sofa stretch. Start the motion by getting right into a break up squat place, together with your again knee touching the bottom and your heel up towards your glutes.
  • Your again knee must be straight with the entrance fringe of the bench or sofa. Provoke the stretch by urgent your again hip ahead. Contracting the glutes can deepen the stretch. Hold your torso upright.
  • Repeat on the opposite facet.

2. The Hurdle Stretch:

flexor muscle exercises

The hurdle stretch has been a staple in bodily schooling lessons everywhere in the nation for years due to its skill to stretch the hamstrings and hip flexors.

How you can do the Hurdle Stretch:

  • To carry out a hurdle stretch, get down in a seated place and lengthen one knee at a 45-degree angle out of your hips.
  • Place your different leg straight out in entrance of you. Attain alongside the straight leg so far as you’ll be able to and maintain.
  • Repeat on the opposite facet.

Programming Hip Flexor Workout routines

Because the hip flexors are concerned in lots of workouts, correct programming could be tough. Listed below are just a few pointers that will help you out.

  1. Hip flexors pair properly with decrease physique and core exercises. Goal to coach them a couple of times every week.
  2. The hip flexors reply greatest to larger rep units within the muscular hypertrophy vary. Goal to carry out at the very least eight reps for all hip flexor workouts.
  3. To enhance decrease physique efficiency, together with dynamic and static hip flexor stretches as a part of a lower-body warm-up.
  4. In case your hip flexors are exceptionally tight, add hip flexor stretches into the cool-down part and different occasions of the day.

Actual-Life Perspective: Suggestions & Tips For Stretching & Strengthening Your Hip Flexors

I simply went over my favourite workouts and stretches, nevertheless it’s additionally helpful to see what fellow health club goers have discovered success with. This is some further recommendation on how one can greatest enhance hip flexor tightness and weak point!

One Reddit commenter provides the next recommendation: “You’ll be able to practice them with squats and leg raises, together with just a few different exorcises. Any motion that entails elevating your leg. Hanging leg raises from 0 – 90 diploma (legs parallel to ground) will work them. Above 90 diploma is when it turns into an ab exorcise. Simply standing and elevating your legs as excessive as you’ll be able to to the entrance and facet works nice, add a light-weight ankle weight for added issue. Or stand with you foot on a field about waist top and attempt to increase it from there. The most important situation folks have with hip flexors is just not lack of power however lack of flexibility. Ballet has some nice hip conditioning exorcises.” (source)

One other Redditor provides: “Hopefully your health club has a heavy bag. I like simply roundhouse kicking the shit out of the bag with some punches and all that. Crescent kicks, glute bridges, and simply flat out kicking the bag with all of your power like Spartacus (and preserve your focus in your core). And kick at head stage. Good for the arrogance.” (source)

As well as, this Reddit consumer recommends the next: “Your quads have 4 muscle tissue. The highest one is a hip flexor whereas the opposite 3 are extra knee oriented. You do produce other hip flexors as properly although. Along with the workouts others have listed, I actually take pleasure in “Monster Stroll” as complement to my operating.” (source)

Various things work for various folks, as everyone seems to be constructed otherwise. Attempt experimenting with totally different stretches and strengthening workouts to seek out your greatest match!

Advantages of Hip Flexor Workout routines

There isn’t any scarcity of advantages that include together with hip flexor workouts in your coaching program. Hip flexor workouts:

  • Enhance hip mobility
  • Enhance or forestall decrease again ache
  • Lower harm threat
  • Enable a snug full vary of movement on squats
  • Enhance sports activities efficiency
  • Enhance posture
  • Scale back neck tightness and ache
  • Enhance glute activation

    Workout routines To Strengthen Hip Flexors: Key Takeaways

    It’s straightforward to neglect concerning the hip flexors. The muscle tissue are exhausting to see, pronounce, and do not get a lot consideration. That mentioned, neglecting the hip flexors is an enormous mistake.

    If you wish to carry out at your greatest within the health club, weak and motionless hip flexors will be the lacking hyperlink to mastering these hip hinge workouts you have been engaged on. Moreover, begin stretching and strengthening your hips you probably have again ache earlier than you go to the chiropractor.

    After studying this text, you might have the data and blueprint for achievement. All that’s left is to get to work.

     in additional nice hip-focused content material? Try our articles on How to Fix Hip Pain When Squatting and the 6 Best Hip Internal Rotation Exercises And Stretches.

    hip flexor strengthening

    References:

    1.  Kim B, Yim J. Core Stability and Hip Workout routines Enhance Bodily Operate and Exercise in Sufferers with Non-Particular Low Again Ache: A Randomized Managed Trial. The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medication. 2020. doi:https://doi.org/10.1620/tjem.251.193
    2. Konrad, A., Močnik, R., Titze, S., Nakamura, M., & Tilp, M. (2021). The Affect of Stretching the Hip Flexor Muscle tissue on Efficiency Parameters. A Systematic Overview with Meta-Evaluation. Worldwide Journal of Environmental Analysis and Public Well being, 18(4). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041936

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