3 exercises to strengthen your hip flexors

glute bridge

Your hip flexors are small but important muscles that are often overlooked. Located in the front of the hip, they play a crucial role in your stride, providing stability and power during each step and allowing for efficient leg movement for optimal performance. Weak hip flexors can lead to muscle imbalances, a less powerful stride and an increased risk for injuries. Luckily, training these small muscles is not complicated. By incorporating these exercises into your weekly routine, you will improve your running form, increase your stride power and enhance your overall running efficiency.

Exercise 1: Banded psoas march

  1. Place an exercise band around your feet and stand facing a wall.
  2. Lean forward slightly and place your hands on the wall so that your arms are out straight.
  3. Keeping your foot in dorsiflexion (toes pointed up), drive your right knee up until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Hold this position for one or two seconds, then slowly lower back down to the ground. Be careful not to round your back when you drive your knee upward.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Note–to make this more challenging, perform the exercise without the wall.

Exercise 2: Seated leg lifts

  1. Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you in a slight V shape, ensuring you’re sitting up straight with a tall back.
  2. Place a small object, like a yoga block, small kettlebell or any household object in between your feet.
  3. Keeping your leg straight, lift your right leg up and over the object, touching the ground on the other side of the object, then lift it back up and return to the starting position. Make sure your back doesn’t round as you move your leg.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Note–if you have trouble sitting up straight with your legs in front of you, you can do this exercise with your back against a wall, or with a small pillow under your butt.

Yoga for hips: become a well-oiled running machine with two simple poses

Exercise 3: Elevated bridge + psoas march

This is another variation on the psoas march from Exercise 1.

  1. Lie on your back. Place a band around your feet and rest your heels on a bench, chair or couch, with a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Driving through your heels, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips into a bridge position with your arms on the ground at your sides for stability.
  3. In the bridge position, drive your right knee toward your chest, making sure you don’t drop your hips as you move.
  4. Return slowly to the starting position, then repeat with the other side.

Note–if this is too challenging, try performing the position from the floor.

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