Hip Flexor Exercises

Photo Credit: Scuba-limp CC-BY-SA-3.0-Unported

The hip flexors are a group of muscles around the hip joint that flex the joint when sitting and bending. A group of three muscles, the psoas major, the psoas minor and the iliacus, that together are called the iliopsoas that flex the hip joint. When the iliopsoas muscles are weak or tight, you can experience hip and back pain. Exercises that target the hip flexor muscles can strengthen these muscles to improve posture and relieve hip and back pain. 
Lying leg raises will strengthen the hip flexors. Lie on an exercise bench on your back and place your hands underneath your buttocks with your palms down. Flatten your back against the bench and squeeze your abdominal muscles to help stabilize your hips and pelvis. Bend both knees and simultaneously raise your knees toward your chest. Keep your legs together and your lower back pressed to the bench. Do 20 repetitions of this exercise. If you have trouble performing this exercise, lie on the floor and bring your heels to the floor between repetitions. 
Tight hip flexor muscles can make it difficult to bend, stand up from a seated position and walk. Stretching the hip flexor muscles can help improve flexibility and range of motion. Lie down on your back on an exercise bench or on your bed. Bring your bottom to the edge of the bench. Place your feet flat on the floor hip-width apart. Bring one knee toward your chest. Grasp your knee with your hands and bring your knee as close to your chest as possible without causing pain. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times with each leg. 
Strong hip flexor muscles stabilize the pelvis and improve endurance. Hip flexor strengthening exercises can be performed 3 or more times each day. Do 10 or more repetitions as long as you do not feel pain. The straight leg raise helps to strengthen the hip flexors. Lie on your back. Bend one knee until your foot is flat on the floor. Keep the other leg straight but do not lock the knee. Flex your foot so that your toes point at the ceiling and raise straightened leg up toward the ceiling. Hold the lift for 10 seconds when you have lifted your leg as high as you can without experiencing pain. Slowly lower your leg back to the floor. Repeat with the other leg.  
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About Robin R.
I’m an AFPA certified personal trainer & nutrition consultant, NASM certified corrective exercise specialist, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, online fitness coach and freelance writer specializing in health and fitness. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health. I specialize in weight loss, functional strength training, total body toning, aerobic conditioning, plyometric training, nutrition planning, and home-based boot camp style workouts for women. My goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for my clients. My services include both in-home personal training and online fitness coaching.

4 Responses to Hip Flexor Exercises

  1. Those are some great exercises to strenghten and keep good tone in the hip muscle. Thanks for the post. http://www.pulled-muscle.com/hip-flexor-injury http://www.pulled-muscle.com/hip-flexor-injury/

  2. Candy says:

    Here are good exercises to look out for if you're feeling any pain on your hips, or thighs. Always aim to have good muscle condition. Make your muscles work to make it more firm and stronger. This will help reduce the risk of injuries when you’re participating in sporting events of your company or in your neighborhood.Candy Rowe

  3. A couple of years ago, I had been dealing with intense pain in the hip area. This happens whenever I was walking or running. I asked my close friend, who was a therapist, and he said that this sudden pain remained concentrated in the hip area, that’s why it’s difficult for me to move around. Good thing I immediately consulted him because if my condition became worse, I may have had trouble sitting down. Now, I regularly exercise, with special attention to the thigh and hip joint area. Well, I perform some of the exercises mentioned above especially the lying leg raises exercise. It’s good!Hugh Fernandez

  4. Stacey Beck says:

    Thanks for all the help. I went to physical therapy in Naperville for my hip and he helped a lot, but I'm going on vacation and wont be able to visit him for a while so I need to keep doing something while I'm gone. Thanks for posting.

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