Hip replacement surgeries have been on the rise in recent years. Although not all of the injuries that result in hip replacements can be associated with hip flexors, most of them are.
The problem is, most people spend their day sitting in front of a computer these days. This position harms your hip flexors.
Then, when people finally get a chance to squeeze in a workout at the gym, it’s rare for them to dedicate the day’s workout to hip flexors. Most people will have a leg day, abs day, or upper body day, but rarely will you hear someone say they had a hip flexors day in the gym.
In this article, I’m going to share 4 exercises you can do to exercise your muscle flexors, but before we get there, let’s first look at what they are.
What are hip flexors?
Hip flexors are a bunch of muscles around your pelvic region surrounding the ball and the socket of your pelvic bone and your leg joint. These muscles connect your legs to the rest of your body and are responsible for almost all the movements we make.
When you bust a move, you are using your hip flexors. Walking, jumping, sitting, and even standing are made possible by your hip flexors.
So, what happens when your hip flexors become weak or tight? You get hip pain. These muscles also help a lot in maintaining a good body posture, so if you are having issues with your hip flexors, it likely will affect your posture too.
Some of the hip flexor muscles extend around to your lower back as well. If they are weak or too tight, you might end up with lower back pain.
Hip flexor exercises to target and strengthen your hip flexor muscles
Now that we’ve covered the problems you may face with weak hip flexors, let’s get to work! Here are some exercises that will help strengthen your hip flexor muscles.
Straight leg raises
There are two variations of this exercise. You can do it lying down on your back or sitting down with your back tilted backward at an angle while supporting yourself with your hands behind you. I prefer the second one, as it targets your hip flexors more specifically. Here is how to do it.
- Sit down on a flat firm surface.
- Start with your legs extended flat on the surface below them. You should feel your quad muscles engaging.
- Tilt your upper body backward to a 30 to 45 degree angle.
- With the other leg still resting straight on the surface under it, raise one leg to a 30 to 45-degree angle from the ground, while keeping it straight.
- Hold it up for a few seconds and bring it back down to the resting position.
- Do 10 to 15 reps on that leg and then switch and do the same on your other leg.
Reverse lunges with a knee drive
This is another exercise you can do to strengthen your hip flexor muscles. With the knee drive, you work to strengthen your hip flexor muscles, and when you lunge back, you are stretching your hip flexor muscles. Here is how to do it.
- Start by standing up straight with your feet hip-width apart.
- Step back with your right foot so that your left knee is at a right angle and your toes are bent behind the lunging foot. While you are doing this, ensure that your torso is upright and that you are not leaning forward when you lunge back.
- Bring the back foot forward, but instead of stopping at the starting position, drive your knee up as far as you can.
- Bring back the foot to the standing position and do the same with your left foot.
- Do 10 reps on each leg.
If you want to make this exercise more impactful, you can add dumbbells into the exercise or ankle weights. If you are a beginner, however, you’ll want to work on your balance first, as this requires excellent form and balance to do properly.
Most people do mountain climbers for cardio workouts. When you are doing mountain climbers for your hip flexion muscles, however, you want to slow it down and concentrate on getting maximum hip flexion. Here is how to do it.
- Start by getting in a high plank position on a mat. You can do it without a mat too, but you’ll want to cushion your hands against the hard floor somehow.
- Keep your back straight, while pushing the ground below with your hands.
- Bring your right leg forward towards your elbow as far as you can and hold it there for a few seconds.
- Return your leg to rest in the plank position where you started and do the same with the left foot.
- Do 10 to 15 reps on each side.
The dead bug is another exercise that works to tighten your hip flexor muscles. Here is how it’s done.
- Lie on a mat on the floor while keeping your back flat on the mat.
- Bring both your knees up so that your legs are parallel to the floor.
- Tighten your core and extend your right leg out until it’s straight but a few inches off the ground, while pulling back your other knee towards your chest.
- Hold that position for about 2 seconds.
- Bring your right leg back and do the same with your left leg.
- Do 10 to 15 reps on each side.
Muscle flexors are an important bunch of muscles very crucial to your movement and posture. People tend to forget to exercise these important muscles, but it often catches up with you in your later years. Even if you don’t have issues with your hips, it’s worth it to start engaging them now.
Remember, if you spend most of your days sitting, you have to exercise your muscle flexors once in a while to maintain good mobility. Even if you are an athlete and you are active most days, you will still need to set aside some time to exercise your muscle flexors. Don’t let yourself forget about this important set of muscles!