When we do regular exercise, we only concentrate on toning our bodies for proper shape and appearance. We focus on strengthening those body parts, which are more prominently visible like (arms, legs, stomach, or chest). Hips, along with core muscles of the lower body, are often neglected.
As per the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, hip replacements are on the rise in the United States. Hip flexor injuries are peak amongst early middle-aged adults.
One study has found athletes who regularly do hip flexor exercises in routine, improved their hip flexion strength by 12.2%, and cut their run times by 9%.
Sitting for much of the day leads to tight hips, hip pain, and lower back pain.
With the help of hip flexor exercises, lower body muscles become active.
Hip Flexors: The Basic Idea
Hip flexors(1) help to connect the top of the femur, the largest bone in the body, to the lower back, hips, and groin. Several core muscles bring the legs and upper body together in a flexion movement. It helps in the smooth functioning of the body like bending, stretching. With a sudden change, extend, or fall, we tend to injure these hip flexors. These injuries are mostly seen in athletes and sportsperson as they do rigorous exercises to increase body strength(2) and stamina.
It is essential to workout hip flexors while standing or doing any work. Sometimes the damaged hip area requires little treatment for minor injuries, and sometimes it may lead to major surgeries.
To avoid these painful procedures, it is essential to keep the hip flexors flexible. Hip flexor exercises like (swimming, cycling) and stretches can be done at home at a moderate pace.
Hip Flexor Exercises
1. Skater Squats
This move is similar to regular squats.
- Bend from the knee. Lower your butt toward the ground. Keep your back straight.
- After each squat, shift your weight to either your right or left leg. Lift the opposite leg off to the side.
- Alternate legs each time.
- Lie on your back. Place your palms at your side. Extend each leg up and off the ground for about 3-4 seconds.
- Hold your leg roughly at a 45-degree angle. Bend the opposite knee with your foot planted on the floor.
Switch legs, and then repeat ten times for each leg.
2. Seated Butterfly
It helps in stretching muscles of inner thighs, lower back, and hips. It is a good exercise for athletes who are on fields, runners, or anyone who has tight hips or groin injury. It also provides support in relaxing the muscles and making them flexible.
This simple move will stretch your inner thighs and lower back.
- Sit on the floor with your back stretched straight.
- Push the soles of your feet, pointing in front of you. Bend your knees out to the sides.
- Pull your heels toward you. While you do so, relax your knees.
- Take a deep breath.
Hold this pose for 10- 25 seconds.
[Read: Yoga for Hip Pain Relief]
3. Bridge Pose
You can do Bridge pose while lying on the back. It stretches our entire upper body and strengthens the lower body parts and muscles. Practicing bridge pose improves blood circulation, digestion and calms the mind. Experts also recommend it during mild depression and stress.
- Lie down on your back. Place your arms at your sides. Your feet should be placed on the floor, and your knees bent. Try to position your feet so your fingers can touch your heels.
- Press into your heels, and lift your hips off the floor toward the ceiling while squeezing your glutes. Try to shimmy your shoulders as close together under your body as possible.
Hold the position for a few seconds before returning to the original position, then repeat several times. Don’t forget to breathe!
4. Pigeon Pose
It is a new yoga pose but only needs to be performed if comfortable. It has many health benefits. It helps in opening all hip flexors, glute muscles, relaxes the piriformis and psoas muscles. It may create discomfort if someone has a knee problem but is helpful in maintaining digestion.
- You should begin in a plank position.
- Lift your left foot off the floor. Slide it forward. Your knee should be on the ground next to your left hand, and your foot near your right hand.
- Slide your right leg back as much as you can. Keep your hips square and lower yourself to the floor and onto your elbows.
- Bring your upper body down as much as possible.
Hold the stretch without letting your chest fall. Now switch sides.
Hip-strengthening exercises (Floor-Sliding Mountain Climbers)
To do these exercises, you will need sliding discs, paper plates, or even hand towels.
- Position yourself on a wood floor or any surface.
- Place the sliders under the balls of your feet. Stay in a pushup position.
- Pull your right leg toward your chest. Alternate with your left leg as you would stand for standard mountain climbers position.
- Slowly pick up the pace.
Hips flexor exercises are significant to keep our bodies flexible and moving.
With regular hip flexor exercises, body strength and flexibility is increased. Hip flexor exercises should be done on a regular basis. It is crucial to follow up on the activity under the guidance of an expert for better results and avoid any self-injury.
1. Is Hip Flexor Exercises Beneficial for Seniors?
Yes, it helps them remain mobile while moving around and even helps in bending. Seniors can perform the exercise either standing by taking support or while sitting on the chair.
2. Are Squats Good for Hip Flexors?
Yes, squats are beneficial for hip flexors as they provide great mass and strength to muscles. It can be practiced with a medicine ball, bodyweight, etc. which gives fantastic benefits to the lower body.
3. What Happens When Your Hip Flexor Is Tight?
If the hip muscles are too tight, hip flexors can tear or stretch, which can be very painful and create hindrance in walking correctly.