The hip flexors are a group of muscles toward the front of the hip. They help you move, or flex, your leg and knee up towards your body. A hip flexor strain occurs when one or more of the hip flexor muscles becomes stretched or torn.
What and where is it?
The hip flexors are a group of muscles that hold your legs and torso together. They are responsible for flexing your hip, bringing your thigh up towards your torso and nearly every movement we perform in everyday lives. Each hip flexor comprises 3 major muscles, Psoas Major, Psoas Minor and Iliacus. The Recus Femoris (main thigh muscle) can sometimes be included in the group of muscles as the origin of the muscle is on the Iliac spine, crosses the hip joint and helps with the flexing movement.
Why is the muscle important?
The hip flexors keep the leg attached to the trunk of your body. This is the main area for injuries (hips and lower back) if your hip flexors are too weak it can cause tightness in your lower back causing pain and discomfort.
If the hip flexors are too tight, they will pull your trunk down to your leg causing the back to over stretch. This can cause pain down the whole back and can cause deformities in the spine such as hyperlordsis, this is an over curvature of the lower back, it will create a dip in your lower back constantly putting pain and pressure through it.
In everyday life we perform actions that weaken, tighten and shorten the hip flexors such as; sitting at the computer, driving and desk work. If you go to the gym after your day at work and do not stretch your hip flexors out you can help reinforce the bad posture.
How to train the muscle?
Watch our video to see these exercises and stretches demonstrated.
- Standing tall with hands on hip and core tight
- Step one leg forwards and bend both knees until they reach 90 degree angles, ensuring knee doesn’t go beyond the ankle
- Power through the front leg and bring yourself up to standing again
- Repeat on other leg
- Standing tall in front of step (any height you feel comfy with)
- Step right foot up onto step and follow with the left
- Step right foot back down to floor and follow with the left
- Repeat with left foot leading
- Plank position on the floor with hands on the floor
- Keep body strong and straight
- Drive right knee into stomach and back down
- Follow with your left knee
- This can be done as fast or as slow as you find comfortable
- Make sure your hips don’t start lifting during
How to stretch?
Stretching your hips is an important part of keeping your posture in alignment and helps relieve the pressure in the hips and back. If you are finding that you have lower back pain or lordosis it is always worth seeing if your hips are very tight. Tight hips will pull the body down to the legs and stretches out the lower back at the same time as putting pressure through it.
- Kneeling on left knee
- Place right foot in front ensuring the foot in completely flat on the floor and the knee and ankle are in a straight 90 degree angle
- Drop weight into the back hip until you feel a stretch in the hip and down the front of the back leg
- Sitting on the floor with knees bent and soles of the feet together
- Allow knees to drop down to the floor as far as possible
- Hold on to your ankles and place your elbows into your knees
- Keep back long and straight and slowly lean forwards until you feel the stretch
Standing Quad Stretch
- Standing tall and holding onto a wall if you need support
- Lift right leg up behind you and hold onto the ankle
- Pull the leg into the back of the body and push your hips slightly forward to get the stretch if you can’t feel it
How to activate the muscle?
Lying Straight Leg Raise
- Lie on your back with one knee bent
- Lift straight leg up slightly off the floor and hold for 10 seconds
Standing Knee Lift
- Standing tall
- Lift one knee up to torso and hold for 10 seconds
Open and Close The Gate
- Standing tall
- Lift one knee up and circle it outwards and bring it back to the centre
- Repeat 8 times
- Circle the same knee inwards and back to centre
- Repeat 8 times
Standing Straight Leg Swing
- Standing tall
- Lift one leg up in front of body, keeping leg straight
- Then swing the same leg behind the body, keeping leg straight
- Repeat 8 times forward and 8 times back
Do these exercises regularly and you will see improvements in all areas of your training.
If you want any more advice or help whilst you are in the Aztec Gym, just speak to one of the team.
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