Top exercises for the hip flexors
Fire up those hips: Our top exercises for the hip flexors!
We’ve discussed in our previous blog, the important role of the hip flexors in running (here), and how to test if they are tight or weak (here). In this blog & video, we discuss our favourite exercises to target the hip flexors.
Psoas March: Lay on your back with an appropriate band around your feet. Separate your legs slightly to put tension on the band. Then one leg at a time, bring your knee up towards your chest as far as you possibly can. Ensure that your low back remains flat on the floor and doesn't over arch.
Psoas March progression: similar to the Psoas March, but have both legs off the floor. Again, ensure that your low back remains flat on the ground.
Side lying banded hip flexion: the advantage of this exercise is that you can replicate the swing phase of running when the hip flexors are most active. It’s easiest to perform this exercise through a doorway, as the wall helps stabilize your back & pelvis, and prevent it from rolling backwards. Ensure good lumbopelvic position when doing this exercise: don’t let the pelvis tilt forwards when the hip is extended behind you
Standing banded hip flexion: this exercise is a progression from the side lying hip flexion, where we add in the extra challenge of balance on the opposite leg. You can use something to balance you when performing this exercise, as we want most of the challenge to be on the banded leg. Again ensure good lumbopelvic position when doing this exercise: don’t let the pelvis tilt forwards when the hip is extended behind you
Seated straight leg raise: this exercise is deceptively tough on the hip flexors. Sitting on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you, bring one knee up to your chest. Then slowly lift the other leg as high off the ground as possible. Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly lower and repeat.
Standing banded march: similar to the Psoas March exercise, this exercise provides the extra challenge of standing on one leg at a time.
Standing march with kettlebell: This can be a good exercise to put some heavier loads on the hip flexors. Simply hook your foot under the handle of the kettlebell and lift it off the ground. See how heavy you can go! Another advantage of this exercise is that it incorporates ankle dorsiflexion with hip flexion which is an important combination during the swing phase of running, especially sprinting!
Banded mountain climbers: this exercise is simply a mountain climber exercise with a band around the feet. Ensure that the low back maintains a neutral position here
Single leg front plank (Anterior powerline Bunkie test): Similar to the test we previously described in our past blog, we can use the test as an exercise here!