If you have tight hip flexors you know just how painful it can be to do simple daily tasks like bending over to pick something off the ground. Just about every movement you make with your legs is controlled by your hip flexors.
Your hip flexors are a group of muscles responsible for bringing your legs up towards your chest area. Without your hip flexors it would impossible for you to walk, run, and do other activities with your legs like kicking.
How Do Hip Flexors Get Tight
Hip flexor tightness is something that develops due to a number of different reasons. However, the most common cause of tight hip flexors is due to sitting for extended periods of time. When you sit for too long it causes your hip flexors to shorten up which leads to them tightening up.
Other things that can lead to tight hip flexors are injuries, an underlying condition like arthritis, and overusing these muscles without properly stretching them. You can read more about the causes of hip flexors over at Hip Flexors Info.
Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises
Anyone from athletes to the average joe who does very little physical activity can develop tight hip flexors. Below you’ll find a few of the best hip flexor strengthening exercises that will help you loosen your hips and improve your hip mobility.
Cycle Sit Ups
This is one of the best hip flexor exercises because it really works the muscles in your hips that need to be worked. These sit ups are little different from your normal sit ups because you’ll have to keep your hands behind your head and switch between bending and raising your knee upward as if you were riding a bicycle.
As well as working the major muscles in your hip flexor this exercise will also help strengthen your abdominals as well as your lower back.
One of the most effective ways to strengthen your hip flexor is to do leg raises. This exercise works all the major hip flexor muslces like the psoas major, iliacus, and the rectus femoris.
To do this simple exercise you’ll have to take your time and bring your legs up into the air as far as they’ll go. As you bring your legs up into the air make sure you don’t bend them.
While keeping your legs as straight as possible in the air try to keep them there for as long as you can. Generally with leg raises you want to keep your legs elevated in the air for at least 30 seconds before dropping them back down to the starting position.
There are different variations of this exercise that will target specific areas in your hips. Check out this article on NY Times about how to do different variations of leg raises effectively.
There are a number of different resistant band exercises you can use to strengthen your hip flexors. The great thing about these resistance bands is that they come in different sizes, resistance levels, and are super easy to store. You can use these bands anywhere whenever you need to add more effectiveness to your strength training exercise.
Simply attach the resistance band of your choice to your ankle, and then attach the other end to a door or wall. Now begin raising your leg slowly up to your chest. Hold this position for at least 20 seconds before dropping back down and switching to the other leg.
Adding these bands to your hip flexor strengthening exercise routine is a great way to unlock your tight hip flexors.
Lunges are another great way to strengthen your hip flexors and reduce hip flexor tightness and pain. There are various ways to do lunges but the simplest way is to get into a standing position with both your feet close together.
Now go ahead and step forward with your right leg and bend it to a 90 degree angle while keeping your left foot towards the back and straight. Hold this stretched position for at least 15 to 20 seconds and then release back into the starting position. Do this about 10 more times before switching to your other leg.
These are some of the best hip flexor strength training exercises out there to unlock hip flexors and get rid of tightness. Continue doing these exercises regularly for about 6 weeks for the best results.