Your hip flexors are made up of several muscles that are important to how well you are able to walk, run, and do a range of other activities. Out of all the muscles that make up your hip flexor the iliopsoas is the strongest and most important of them all.
If the iliopsoas becomes injured, strained, or tightens up on you it can cause a lot of pain in the front of your hips and other parts of your body like the lower back and groin area.
What Causes Weak Hip Flexors
There are number of things that can cause your hip flexors to become weak, but the number one cause is remaining in a seated position for too long. When you stay in a seated position for too long it shortens up your hip flexor muscles, which leads to tightness and painful symptoms.
You can also develop weak hip flexors if an injury occurs due to overusing them. Athletes are usually prone to hip flexor injury that leads to this group of muscles weakening.
The Best Way to Strengthen Hip Flexors
The best way to strengthen weak hip flexors is to perform certain exercises that lengthen and increase mobility in the area, states Hip Flexors Info.
The hip flexor exercises below will not only strengthen your hips, but also increase mobility and strength in surrounding areas that are often affected by weak hip flexors like your glutes, pelvis, groin, and lower back.
4 of the best hip flexor exercises to reduce pain and increase strength in your hips include:
When it comes to exercises that strengthen and lengthen hip flexors the bridge pose is definitely worth mentioning. Along with strengthening your hip flexors, doing the bridge pose regularly will also help strengthen your back, hamstrings, and other areas.
To do the bridge pose follow the steps below:
- Start off on your back with both of your knees bent and the soles of your feet planted firmly on the ground. Make sure that your feet are shoulder width apart.
- Now push your feet down on the ground to lift your hips upward off the ground towards the ceiling. To help you get more elevation with your hips use your forearms to push into the ground until your hips have been raised as high as you can get them. While you raise your hips upward make sure the soles of your feet and your head are still resting firmly on the floor.
- Hold this position for at least 30 seconds before releasing and returning to the position you started in.
Repeat this yoga hip flexor stretch at least 10 times for the best results.
As you perform the bridge pose make sure you are taking deep breaths as you hold the stretching position. Continue to perform this hip flexor exercise each day to prevent injuries and keep this group of muscles as strong as possible.
Seated Hip Flexor Exercise
This is one of the best hip flexor exercises to increase strength and range of motion in your hips. To do the seated hip flexor exercise correctly follow the steps below:
- First you’ll need to take a seat on a workout bench, or a chair if you don’t have a workout bench available.
- Next you’ll need to elevate your left knee upward towards your chest area and hold it there for at least 30 seconds.
- After 30 seconds of holding your knee upward to your chest area slowly drop it down to the position you started in.
- Now repeat steps 1 to to 3 with your right leg.
For the best results do at least 3 sets of 10 reps of this simple exercise. As you do the seated hip flexor exercise make sure your back remains straight and upright. It’s important to have good posture as you do this exercise.
The High Knee Stretch
The high knee stretch is a simple exercise that will help strengthen weak hip flexors and increase range of motion in this area. To do this exercise follow the steps below:
- The first step is to stand up straight with your legs shoulder width apart. Now elevate your left knee as high as possible towards your chest area.
- As soon as you drop your left knee back to the ground, raise your right knee off the ground as high as you can.
- Continue to alternate bringing your right knee and left knee upwards to your chest area for about 30 seconds and then rest.
Repeat this exercise for at least 3 sets for the best results. Make sure you keep your back as straight as possible while bringing your knees upward and keep your hands at your side.
Straight Leg Raises
Finally, one of the best exercises to strengthen your hip flexor muscles and prevent injuries is called straight leg raises. This exercise will also help reduce pain in your lower back and other areas where your weak hip flexors may be affecting.
To do straight leg raises effectively follow the steps below:
- Start off laying down flat on your back with your arms positioned at your side.
- Now bend your right knee and bring your left leg up off the ground while keeping the sole of your right foot flat against the ground.
- Next, push your left leg straight into the air without bending the knee.
- Hold your left leg straight in the air with your right knee bent on the ground for about 30 seconds.
- After the 30 seconds has passed drop your left leg back down to the floor and repeat with your right leg extended in the air towards the ceiling.
Repeat this exercise by alternating each leg in the air for about 10 reps.
To keep your hip flexors strong and pain-free you should do the exercises listed above at least 3 times each week. Doing these hip flexor exercises regularly will also help strengthen other parts of your body like the lower back, groin, and hamstrings.