Hip flexor exercises are important for maintaining stability, balance, and flexibility. Hip flexors are a group of muscles that rest at the front of the hip. They help people move their legs and knees upwards, which means they are essential for walking, running, biking, and standing. Without proper care, hip flexors can stretch or tear, resulting in injuries that limit mobility. Those looking to take better care of their hip flexors should try these strategies for strengthening and stretching the muscles.
Hip Flexor Stretches
Stretching hip flexors before and after exercise can help loosen the muscles and joints. The seated butterfly is perhaps the best-known hip flexor stretch. Sit on the floor and put the soles of the feet together in front of the body, then allow the knees to bend out to the sides. Pull the heels toward the center of the body and relax the knees, bringing them closer to the floor. When done correctly, this stretch should cause a tightness toward the proximal anterior portion of the thighs and hips.
Those who want to try a different stretch should consider the bridge pose. Lie down on the back and place the arms at the sides of the body. Place the feet on the floor and bend the knees. Then, press into the heels and lift the hips off the floor toward the ceiling. This should cause tightness in the abdominal muscles, the gluteus maximus, and the hip flexors.
Hip Flexor Exercises
Stretching hip flexors can loosen the muscles, but exercises are designed to improve strength. Those interested in strengthening their hip muscles should try practicing forward lunges several times per week. Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart and look forward. Then, take a large step forward with the left foot. Bend the extended knee and lower the body into a lunge – just until the knee hovers slightly above the ground. Then, push off and return to the standing position. Repeat the exercise with the right leg.
Remember to Rest
Muscle maintenance requires stretching and exercise, but rest is of tantamount importance. Resting allows muscles to grow and rebuild. If a person experiences constant soreness or hip flexor pain, consider visiting a physical therapist. These professionals help patients with more complicated stretches and exercises to help improve their conditions.