The hip flexor or iliopsoas is the inner muscles (Psoas and Iliacus) that lift your knee towards your chest. Weak hip flexors are common as people age and are less active in their day to day lifestyle. Weak hip flexors can have many negative effects. People start stumbling frequently, struggle going upstairs and have difficulty getting up from the ground.
Exercises to Strengthen Weak Hip Flexors
Forward and Backward Lunges
Start in a standing tall position with your feet shoulder width apart. Step forward with your right leg and your right heel should make contact with the ground first then your foot finishes facing straight forward. Slowly lower your body until your right thigh is parallel with the floor and your knee goes forward to your foot but not past it. Press into your right heel to stand back up to your starting position. Now you will step backward with your right leg slowly lowering until your left thigh is parallel with the floor. Press into your right toes to stand up and step forward back to the original starting position.
Glute Bridges also with leg lift
Start lying on your back with your arms either out to the sides or down by your thighs. Bend your legs at 90 degrees with your hips bent at 45 degrees to keep your feet flat on the ground. Squeeze your abdominals, lift your toes off of the ground so you are only pushing through your heels. Lift your hips to the ceiling and hold that position for 3 seconds before lowering your hips to repeat the exercise. Hold your last rep at the top working up to a 60 second hold. Once you can complete a 60 second glute bridge hold you can move on to a more advanced version extending one leg straight out to hold and perform single leg lifts.
Start in a plank position on your hands and toes. Bring your right leg towards your chest inside your arms while keeping your hips flat. From this position alternate bringing one leg towards your chest while extending the other leg out to straight. Start slow maintaining a tight core and keeping your hips down. Once you are efficient at this exercise you can increase your speed and the number of reps to build up your hip flexor strength. Another variation for a carpeted floor is to put furniture sliders under your feet and slide them back and forth or you can use fuzzy socks on hardwood floors.
Lying Leg Raises or Alternating Leg Raises
Start lying flat on your back with your arms down by your thighs. Contract your abs and lift both legs straight and together up to a 90 degree angle. Then slowly lower your legs to 6 inches from the ground. Repeat the repetitions without touching the ground. Another variation of this exercise is to scissor your legs working up 100 reps.
Single Leg Squats
Start seated on a bench or the edge of a chair. Extend your right leg in front of you off of the ground and stand up on your left leg. Lower to the starting position to complete the rep. Repeat on the other side.
These 5 exercises will get you started but if you need more guidance or want to learn about how to strengthen your hip flexors you can the program Unlock your Hip Flexor by Rick Kaselj.
More from Hip Flexor Rehab:
- Top 5 symptoms of tight or weak hip flexors
- Hip flexor mobility sequence
- Top 5 stretches for tight hip flexors
Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautions before following any of the exercises from this article and website. To avoid any problems while doing the exercises, it is advised that you consult a medical professional. The responsibility lies solely with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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1. Lunges – both forward and backward
2. Glute Bridges
3. Mountain Climbers
4. Lying Alternating Leg Scissors
5. Squats or Single Leg Squats