Hip Flexor Exercise The 7 Best For Improving Physical Health

Hip Flexor Exercise | The 7 Best For Improving Physical Health

Hip Flexor, through your workout journey, people usually train muscle groups that can be spotted. Such as the biceps, to give them the desired appearance.

But smaller muscles like the Hip Flexor can be forgotten and left untrained. Which can have a detrimental effect on your overall health.

Hip flexors have a major role in your daily life. We need them right from when we get up from bed to walking, climbing stairs, and even when standing still.

Working on them is necessary for this day and age. However, as we are sitting down for a prolonged amount of time throughout the day.

It’s especially important for older people If left untrained. It can cause your risk of injury to increase drastically. 

What Are Hip Flexors?

Whenever, you lift your knees towards your hips or flex them in any way, the hip flexors are activated.

As the name suggests they are responsible for hip flexion. Flexion is required. Whenever, you walk, run, sit, ride a bike, or squat. If one of your goals is losing weight then excluding hip flexors training can make this task very difficult. However, due to the limitation of physical activities, you may be able to do them. They are made up of 5 different muscles.

Here are a list of 5 different muscles, which are:

  • Sartorius– This is one of the longest muscles in the body. That runs from your hip down to your knee joint at the length of your thighs. It helps your thighs to externally rotate and abduct.
  • Pectineus– Also known as the groin muscle, it is located in the inner front part of your thighs. As your hip joint contracts, it is responsible for hip flexion and rotation & adduction of your thighs.
  • Rectus femoris– It is located at the middle front part of your thighs that run from your pelvis down to your kneecap. It is also one of the muscles that make your quads. This muscle attaches to the hip and knee, helping with hip flexion and knee extension.
  • Psoas- is a special muscle because it connects your upper body to your lower. It attaches from the spine, runs through the pelvis, and attaches to the femur. It supports keeping your lumbar spine in the correct posture. And helps with flexion & stabilization of your thighs.
  • Iliacus – It is tucked away deep inside the pelvis. One end attaches to the pelvis while the other end to the femur. It supports the flexion and external rotation of your thighs.

Below I have listed 7 Hip Flexors exercises to keep them flexible and strong.

What Are The 7 Best Hip Flexor Exercises?

Here is the list of the best Hip Flexor exercises:

  • Glute Bridge
  • Squat
  • Seated Butterfly
  • Leg Raises
  • Lunges
  • Stair Climb
  • Romanian Deadlift 

Glute Bridge

               Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

It primarily works on your gluteus maximus. However, as you squeeze your glutes at the top half of the movement. It will loosen up your hip flexors and lengthen them.

Furthermore, Glutes bridges are simple movements to perform making them great for beginners. 

How to perform the exercise:

  • Lie down flat on the ground, with your hands on your side.
  • Bring your feet a few inches away from your glutes, while keeping them flat on the ground.
  • Using your feet, lift your hip and squeeze your glutes at the top.
  • Likewise, slowly bring your hips back down and repeat the process.

Important things to consider:

  • Lie down on a mat, to prevent hurting your back.
  • Make sure your feet are not too close or too far away from your body.  Also, an optimum placement would be, your heels almost touching your fingers.
  • When you lift your hip, make sure not to hyper-extend as this can put unnecessary pressure on your lower back. You should be only feeling the burn in your glutes and on your hamstrings.
  • So, don’t forget to keep your core engaged, it will help you keep a steady tempo when executing the movement. 

Squats

              Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

Squats are great as your body is engaged with one movement. As you go down in a squat, you need your hip flexors to stabilize your body, this will help strengthen those muscles. You can slowly load up with weights either using a barbell or dumbbells for extra resistance.

However, getting the form right is crucial for an effective workout and targeting the correct muscles. Make sure to fully stretch out beforehand, so you can sit in a squat position comfortably. 

How to perform the exercise:

  • Get your feet a little wider than your shoulder width and hold your hands in front of you.
  • Bend your knees and hips simultaneously to descend.
  • Get to a parallel position and drive your feet to the ground to get back up.
  • Compose yourself for a few seconds and repeat the movement.

Important things to consider:

  • Keep your core engaged throughout the workout
  • While descending make sure your upper body is not leaning too far forward. In this phase, the only parts of your body that should be moving are your hips and knees
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top for extra stimulation

Seated Butterfly

This is a great exercise to stretch out your inner thigh (groin) area. It works best to open your hips up whenever they are feeling tight.

How to perform the exercise:

  • Sit down and bring the soles of your feet together.
  • Grab your feet with both hands and lean forward as much as you can. Hold the position for 10-20 seconds.
  • With extreme tightness, you might be unable to execute that. In this case, just sit straight up and move your knees up and down. This will help bring blood to the area and loosen your hips slowly.

Things to consider:

  • Make sure to bring to feet as close to your body as possible.
  • Therefore, take it slow, going too hard too fast can cause muscle injuries

Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

Single Leg Raises

               Image by azerbaijan_stockers on Freepik

Leg raises are a great ab and hip flexor strengthening exercise. More specifically the iliopsoas is being worked on. Iliopsoas is the combination of the psoas and iliacus muscles.

There are many variations of the exercise to try such as hanging leg raise, scissors leg raise, and top hold leg raise.

How to perform the exercise:

  • Fully lie down with your leg & hand flat on the ground. Or you can raise your upper back with your arms as shown in the picture
  • Bring one of your feet close to your body, while the sole stays planted on the ground.
  • With the alternative leg, slowly raise it to as high as you can without your glutes coming off the floor. Hold the position for 10 seconds
  • Slowly bring your legs down and switch

Important things to consider:

  • Make sure when lifting your leg, it is locked straight
  • This is all about your form then how high you can lift your legs. Therefore, don’t try to cheat and lift your leg with your glutes coming off the ground.
  • However, keep a steady tempo

Lunges

                      Photo by Anna Shvets: on pexels.com

Lunges not only build strength but stretch out your hip flexors as well. With it being a unilateral exercise. This will support correcting any imbalances present in your lower half muscles.

With multiple big muscles being worked like the quads and hamstrings, lunges make a great calories-burning vehicle

Therefore, start with just your body weight, then gradually incorporate weights into your routine.

How to perform the exercise:

  • Firstly find an open area to perform the exercise.
  • Stand straight up and put one foot forward.
  • Drop your body straight down~ bending both knees simultaneously. However, as you go down keep your front foot planted to the ground and on your tip toe for your back foot.
  • Push yourself up and bring your back foot to the level of your front foot.
  • Perform the same movement with the alternative leg. 

Important things to consider:

  • The movement might be too hard for some people. So, to build form & strength you can just do stationary lunges while holding a walk or chair for support.
  • The step you take shouldn’t be too wide. A good reference would be, the step you take should be double the length of your normal walking stride.
  • Maintain a straight posture throughout the movement. 

Stair Climb

Most of you reading this probably climb a flight of stairs every day. But did you know that this very action you take? Without thinking much about having great benefits for your muscles?

Climbing those stairs conditions your lower half muscle groups. As you have to lift your legs to walk up. So, this puts constant tension on the hip flexors making them stronger over time.

However, stair climbing can be done right from home. However, going to a gym where there is a Stairmaster or somewhere outdoors will provide better results. 

How to perform the exercise:

Everyone probably knows how to climb up the stairs. So in this section, I will give some variations to make the movement efficient. 

  • You can climb 2 sets of stairs instead of one. This will allow for a greater stretch of your hip flexor.
  • You can carry a weighted bag for extra resistance. Slowly adding more load gets your lower half muscles working harder, increasing their strength along the way.
  • You can increase the time you climb up the stairs. Increasing the time slowly over time will grow the endurance of the muscles keeping them healthy.

Important things to consider:

  • Don’t underestimate the exercise, climbing those stairs can get tiring pretty quickly.
  • However, keep a good posture, and don’t sway or slouch your upper body.

Romanian Deadlift

                      Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

The primary movement of the exercise would be a hip hinge. With a hip hinge, you will be including both hip flexion and extension.

The flexion will occur as you lower your upper body while the extension. However, this will happen as your body goes back to an upright position.

Romanian deadlifts are also a great workout to work the posterior chain. Which are the muscles located on the backside of your body.  So, this can be a great workout to tone your body when trying to lose weight.

How to perform the exercise

  • Firstly you would need a barbell to do this exercise.
  • Hold the barbell with both hands shoulder-width apart. Your feet placement should be within your hand width.
  • Roll your shoulders back and chest up.
  • Move your hip backward, while slightly bending your knees.
  • Get down until the bar is at your kneecap and get back up to the upright position.

Important things to consider:

  • Remember you are hip hinging, so don’t bend your spine. Your spine should stay flat to prevent any injury
  • You should be bending with your hips and not knees. There should only be a slight bend of your knees, to get the maximum stretch.
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top position

What Are The Causes Of Tight Hip Flexor?

The most common reason for a tight hip flexor would be one thing that we love to do, which is sitting down.

Our life has become more and more sedentary. Where there is less demand for any physical activities. We have our car for moving around, got delivery to get us food, and got a nice couch to relax.

Sitting for a prolonged time compresses the hip flexors. Shortening them and making them feel tight. Shortening of the muscle gets them weaker making them unable to accommodate normal physical activities. Build up of this pressure can affect various aspects of your life such as your quality of sleep.

However, overdoing hip flexor exercises can have a negative effect as well. Over-taxing them will make your hip flexors focus on stabilizing your body. Instead of proper hip flexion thus making them feel tight.

So, you need to be careful about both underworking and overworking them like any muscle group in your body. 

What Are The Benefits Of Hip Flexor Exercises?

Before we talk about the benefits we need to talk about the negatives of not training your hip flexors:

  • Lower back pain
  • Hip Pain
  • Difficulty moving around
  • Bad posture
  • Knee pain
  • Foot pain
  • Neck pain
  • Increased risk of injuries
  • Decreased hip mobility

By looking at all the negatives we can see the benefits it can provide:

  • Decrease/prevent lower back pain
  • Decrease/prevent hip pain
  • Make moving around easier
  • Support your posture
  • Decrease/prevent knee pain
  • Decrease/prevent foot pain
  • Increase hip mobility 
  • Decrease/prevent neck pain
  • Decrease risk of injury

Conclusion

The hip flexors might be small but they provide great value to the body. So, don’t forget about them.

Training them regularly can reduce or even fix many of the pains and aches you might be suffering from. 

Most of the exercises can be done within a couple of minutes. Making it easy to fit them into a tight schedule and help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Untrained hip flexors down the line as you get older become even a bigger problem. Which can even leave you bedridden for days.

Therefore, focus on strengthening them using exercises such as squats & lunges and incorporate stretches such as seated butterfly & glute bridge. 

Kevin-rai

Hey, my name is Kevin and I am all about spreading positive information about living a healthy life. Leading a healthy life does not need to be complicated. There are plenty of easy methods that fit everyone. Additionally, I also, share health & fitness topics over on my website raikevin.com. Feel free to check them out.

Images sources....

Photo by Gabin Vallet on Unsplash,  Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

By Sarah Pflug from Burst,  Image by azerbaijan_stockers on Freepik 

Photo by Anna Shvets: on pexels.com,  Image by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash 

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash 

Check out our other article from this author, Does Sweating Help Reduce Belly Fat? Continue Reading.>

 

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