The hip flexor exercises play a crucial role in everyday movements, for walking, running, sitting, and standing.
Sitting for a long time without moving much, not stretching enough, or not exercising properly can make the hip muscles (lower body) tight and weak can lead to discomfort, mobility issues, or pain.
When your hip flexor muscles are both tight and weak, it can cause pain in your lower back and hips.1
Including targeted hip flexor exercises in your routine can help improve flexibility, strength, and overall functionality. Here are hip flexor exercises to strengthen your hip flexors and prevent injuries.
Best Hip Flexor Exercises and Stretches
1. Straight Leg Raises
Straight Leg Raises are a basic exercise that focuses on muscles like the abdomen, hip flexors, and quadriceps.
- Lie on the floor with straight legs and arms by your sides.
- Lift the right leg off the ground, keeping it straight, and raise it towards the ceiling.
- Hold for five seconds.
- Exhale and slowly lower the right leg to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times.
2. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers are a high-intensity exercise that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, providing a full-body workout. this exercise engages the core, hip flexors, shoulders, and leg muscles
- Get in a plank position with hands on the floor and core engaged.
- Alternate bringing each knee towards your chest in a running-like movement, engaging the hip flexors.
- Switch legs and alternate right and left legs for 30 seconds.
3. Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle crunches are a highly effective abdominal exercise that engages multiple core muscles simultaneously. This exercise targets the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors,
- Lie on your back, hands behind your head, knees bent.
- Bring your left elbow towards your right knee while extending your left leg out, then alternate to the other side, just like a cycling motion.
- This exercise engages the hip flexors while working the core.
4. Pigeon Pose
The Pigeon Pose, known as “Eka Pada Rajakapotasana” in Sanskrit, is a yoga posture well-known for its effectiveness in stretching the hip flexors.
- Start in a plank position
- Start by raising your left foot and bringing it forward toward your left hand. Simultaneously, slide your right leg backward as much as you can.
- Gradually lower your upper body towards the ground, aiming to stretch as far as feels comfortable for you.
- Maintain this position for around 10 seconds to feel the stretch. Then, switch sides and repeat the same sequence with the opposite leg.
5. Russian Twists
Russian Twists are an effective core-strengthening exercise that targets the abdominal muscles, mainly the obliques.
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent and heels touching the ground.
- Lean back slightly, activate your core muscles, and raise your feet off the ground.
- Twist your torso from side to side, reaching towards the ground on each side. As you do this, maintain stability and engage your hip flexors to support the movement.
- Repeat 10 times.
6. Bridge Pose
The Bridge Pose, known as Setu Bandhasana in yoga, is a basic posture that targets the back, hips, and thighs while engaging the glutes and core muscles.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms resting by your sides.
- Engage your gluteal muscles by squeezing them, then lift your hips upward toward the ceiling.
- Hold this lifted position for 5 seconds, focusing on maintaining stability and control.
- Slowly lower your hips back down to the starting position on the floor.
- Repeat this movement for a total of 5 repetitions.
7. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
The Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch is a beneficial exercise aimed at stretching and increasing flexibility in the hip flexor muscles.
- Begin by kneeling on the floor with your left foot planted firmly on the ground and your right knee positioned behind you. Keep your upper body upright, maintaining a tall and straight posture.
- Slowly and gently push your hips forward, allowing for a comfortable stretch in the front of your right hip. Ensure you feel a good stretch without any discomfort.
- Hold this stretched position for 20-30 seconds, maintaining a steady and controlled breath.
- Switch sides by placing your right foot on the ground and your left knee behind you, and repeat the stretch on the opposite side.
- Do this stretch four times on each side.
These are the best seven hip flexors strengthening exercises and stretches. Practicing them regularly can alleviate tightness, improve flexibility, and enhance overall hip strength and mobility. Also, hip flexor exercises contribute to better posture, reduced discomfort, and improved functional movement in daily life.