3 SIMPLE Exercises to Strengthen Hip Flexors (This is Easy)

Today I’d like to introduce you to a few exercises to strengthen hip flexors.

I’m guessing that strengthening the hip flexors isn’t something that many people think about, and I know for many years that I didn’t.

However, following a lower spinal disc injury a number of years ago, it became blatantly obvious to me that I had extremely weak hip flexors (among other things too).

Another reason for me writing this article today is because of a recent conversation I had with a friend in the gym.

He’s really been suffering with tight hip flexors recently.

Even though he lifts some awesome numbers on the big lifts, plays football (soccer) on a regular basis, he feels that his performance is being hampered by a weakness in this area.

So, I wanted to share some of the simplest and easiest moves you could possibly imagine, but they are powerful enough to strengthen the hip flexors.

Exercises To Strengthen Hip Flexors

1. Get Up and Walk

The hips and hip flexors are far more important than we give them credit for.

They’re at the centre of our body and are crucial for a number of reasons.

The hips and hip flexors have an impact on how we feel, how we function on a daily basis, as well as how we perform in our workouts.

Now I don’t know about you, but even though I am extremely active in terms of the exercise and workouts I perform, I still spend the vast majority of my day sitting behind a desk.

So, I actually make a concerted effort to get up numerous times a day and walk around.

I’ll typically take a break every 30 minutes or so, and either go and make a coffee, walk up and down the stairs, or if the weather permits, just walk for a few minutes around my garden.

Sitting is probably one of the worst things we can do for the strength of both our hips and hips flexors, and yet for many of us this is how we spend the majority of our day.

I’m not saying the human body isn’t designed to incorporate sitting into our daily lives, but it is far more attuned to standing up or lying down.

Basically, keeping the body in a straight line.

I can quite easily spend 8-10 hours a day working at my desk, so I ensure that I get up and move around 20-30 times a day.

On most of these occasions I actually walk upstairs and come back down again.

It’s hardly strenuous, it only takes about 15-20 seconds, but the benefits are unbelievable when it comes to strengthening my hip flexors.

How many of you are sat at a desk every single day?

Or perhaps your job involves driving, whereby yet again you spend most of your time in a seated position.

If so, please take every opportunity available to simply get up and walk around for a few seconds.

2. Leg Swings

I find leg swings are absolutely amazing for loosening the entire hip area, as well as strengthening the hips and hip flexors as well.

Leg swings can be performed in any number of directions, although the most well-known is probably front to back.

Steady yourself by placing your left hand on something such as the back of a chair, or even against a wall would suffice, and then swing your right leg forward and back.

I often see people performing leg swings almost violently, as though they’re trying to launch a ball some 300ft into the air.

There really is no need.

Simply swing the leg forward to about waist height and then back behind you.

Then turn around, place your right hand against whatever you’re using to steady yourself and swing with your left leg.

You can also perform leg swings side-to-side, diagonally, whatever direction the hips allow.

You can even perform leg swings in the office environment, if unlike me you don’t work from home.

Okay, you may receive a few weird stares, but surely your colleagues will follow suit once they realise how beneficial leg swings are.

Weirdly enough, leg swings also benefit the non-swinging leg too.

As you stand on one leg and stabilise yourself, you’re actually strengthening both the hip and hip flexor on that side too.

Leg swings also happen to be one of the main go-to exercises in the Unlock Your Hip Flexors program that I have recently reviewed.

3. The Lunge or 90/90 Stretch

Another great exercise to strengthen the hip flexors is one that many of you may be familiar with.

This is the lunge stretch, which is often referred to as the 90/90 stretch.

Basically, both legs are bent at the knee so that your upper and lower leg are at 90 degrees to each other.

This stretch is typically used as a cool-down exercise at the end of your workout.

I know it’s definitely an exercise that I always perform once I’ve finished training.

With that said, there is nothing wrong with doing the lunge stretch at various times of the day.

You can make it more difficult by elevating the back leg, taking the knee off the floor, or even extending your arm overhead.

In fact, this is a fantastic way to active the psoas muscle (pronounced so-az).

The psoas muscle is the only muscle in the human body that connects the upper and lower body, so it’s obviously extremely important to keep this loose and strong.

The Myriad of Problems That Weak Hip Flexors Cause

I mentioned above that most of us don’t usually pay much attention to the hip flexors, but in truth this could be to your detriment.

I know I certainly paid the price for it.

Some of you may have experienced pain or tightness in the hip flexors, but the knock-on effect from this is pretty unbelievable.

In fact, it is said that the hip flexors can generally be the root cause for many conditions, including:

  • Problems with sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive issues
  • Circulatory issues
  • Poor posture
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Feeling tired and sluggish during the day
  • Discomfort when walking
  • Joint pains in your legs, hips, or lower back
  • Reduced sexual desire and performance
  • A decline in sports or gym performance

So, if any of the above sounds familiar to you it could in fact be an issue with your hip flexors.

To be honest, nearly all of us suffer with tight hip flexors at one time or another, but very few of us realise the impact that this has on the body as a whole.

Personally, I have now realised that my weakness in this one area was affecting me in a number of ways.

Okay, the most obvious consequence of me having weak hip flexors was that I eventually succumbed to injury.

However, just going through the list of ailments and issues above I can definitely see other areas of my life that were suffering too.

Once again.

What about you?

Sound familiar?

5 Advanced Stretches & Exercises to Strengthen Hip Flexors

There’s More to the Hip Flexors Than Static Stretching

I wanted to keep things very simple today when talking about exercises to strengthen hip flexors.

So, by ensuring that you perform some or all of the above exercises on a regular basis you should see dramatic improvements in the strength of your hip flexors.

However, I have noticed that many people are lost beyond performing a few static stretches when it comes to working the hip flexors.

Don’t get me wrong, completing static stretches, such as the lunge stretch I’ve mentioned here, will go a long way to improving this area of your body, but there’s far more to it than that.

Some other fantastic ways to strengthen your hip flexors include:

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching basically means that you are moving a joint through its entire range of motion.

With a static stretch you are simply stretching a muscle or joint and holding that position.

So, as an example, the lunge stretch is a static stretch, but actually performing lunges would be considered a dynamic stretch.

Dynamic stretching will eventually increase the range of motion around a joint, as well improved circulation around the same area.

Core Stability Exercises

It’s amazing to think how many core-based exercises actually activate the hip flexors.

However, if you think about it, one of the major functions on the hip flexors is to lift the knee and bring the thigh towards your midsection.

So, an exercise such as mountain climbers may generally be viewed as a cardio and core workout, but the hip flexors are definitely getting a lot of action here too.

Therefore, by performing certain exercises that require you to stabilise the core, you are certainly hitting the hip flexors as well.

Mobility Exercises

I think the best way I can describe mobility in terms of fitness is that you have the ability to move your body naturally and freely.

In terms of the hip flexors, you are looking to perform exercises that target the hip joint in order to help it function at optimum levels.

In truth, I think we should all be performing hip flexor strengthening and stabilising exercises for at least 5-10 minutes a day.

The hip joint happens to be the largest joint in the body, the hips and hip flexors are located at the very centre of the body, and we now know that there is only one muscle that connects our “two halves”.

So, hopefully you’re starting to understand just how important the hip flexors are.

Final Thoughts

I did say this was going to be extremely simple and easy.

Therefore, I don’t see any reason why you cannot commit a few minutes a day to exercising the hip flexors.

As you can see, there are many ailments and conditions that are also in some way connected to weak hip flexors.

I’ve recently reviewed a program that concentrates solely on this area of the body.

It was created by the Critical Bench team, and I have reviewed many of their programs and products on this very website.

Pretty much everything they produce is awesome, and their hip flexor program is definitely one of their best.

So, please take this opportunity to check out my Unlock Your Hip Flexors Review.

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8 thoughts on “3 SIMPLE Exercises to Strengthen Hip Flexors (This is Easy)”

  1. Hey Partha,

    I’m so pleased that you have written a really easy article of exercises for us to do 🙂

    I myself at the moment do quite a lot of lunges while holding weights in my hands. I am guessing they would be good hip flexors?

    I do get a bit of pain in my hips sometimes, but I think that is from all the sport and jumping around on a stage I did when I was a lot younger. I think all that strain on my hips is coming back to bite me a bit. So it is good timing that I came across this article because I think these hip flexor exercises might help with that pain. What do you think?

    Thank you for sharing as always and keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    Reply
    • Hi Tom,

      Always good to hear from you.

      Yes indeed, lunges not only work the quads, glutes, and the hamstrings to some extent, but there is a focus on the hips and hip flexors too.

      I think many of us take the hips and the hip flexors for granted, but in truth the hips are the biggest joint in the body, plus the hip flexors are pretty much at the centre of everything we do.

      So, it makes perfect sense to give this area of the body as much focus as the more “popular” areas.

      There are many reasons that the hip flexors can become weak over time, but this is mainly due to our activity levels (or lack of) as we make our way through life.

      The reason I wrote this article as well is because I often focus on more intermediate or advanced types of exercises and workouts, but we can still achieve a great deal from some of the simplest exercises out there.

      Thank as always for your kind words too Tom, it always feels good to know that what I share on my website is appreciated in some way.

      Partha

      Reply
  2. Hi Partha.

    You picked an awesome topic. Hip Flexor is on my list of “To-Do” Posts, because it’s such an important and overlooked muscle.

    I have been furloughed since March! And in my job, I do a lot of standing, walking and climbing up stairs, so all this disappeared overnight. Instead, I have now signed up for numerous courses and started a Blog, therefore I, too, sit 10h a day.

    If lockdown didn’t happen, I would probably never notice my Hip Flexors 😀 Because my normal job is not sedentary and because I am very active in my free time, I’ve never had a problem.

    9 months of sitting, and here we go. I think I have quite decent mind-muscle connection, so I immediately realised there was something wrong with my hips. I started doing Yoga focused on Hips and Hamstrings at least 3x week and it did absolute wonders. The discomfort in my hip area is gone and I feel a lot more flexible.

    I’d also like to mention one thing in connection to other issues tight hip flexors may cause. Particularly Anxiety. After releasing the tension in my hip flexors, I have felt very emotional. I have a friend, who practices Yoga professionally, so I have told her. She said that this is absolutely normal and apparently there is a lot of emotional stress in hip flexors, same as the shoulders and upper back. This is incredibly interesting and hardly ever discussed.

    Thank you for another great piece!

    Merry Christmas.

    Reply
    • Hi Silvie,

      It’s always fantastic to hear from you and understand your take on things.

      I think what you describe is something that many of us have gone through over the last 9 months.

      So, even the most active of people are probably not doing as much as they were last year.

      I can imagine that with all the activity that you have in your normal working life that your hip flexors were getting a great “workout” on a daily basis.

      I know myself, irrespective of the all the walking and workouts I do, I have still become less active than I usually am.

      It’s weird to think of just how much we do on a daily basis that we take for granted, but it’s really hit home to me over the past few months, as I tend to leave the house far less than I’m used too.

      I must admit that I’ve often considered working Yoga into my week at least a couple of times.

      Don’t get me wrong, I typically perform some of the basic Yoga exercises, but more as a warm up or a cool down.

      I’ve found that it does make a big difference to my flexibility and mobility, so I’m not entirely sure why I don’t do more of it, LOL.

      It’s weird that you mention about becoming more emotional through unlocking your hip flexors, and this is something I would have been skeptical about a few years back.

      However, the more I study and research about the human body, the more I come to realise that nearly everything, physically, emotionally, and mentally, is interconnected in some way.

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, it really helps to further my understanding too.

      Plus, I can’t wait to read your post about hip flexors, so please do let me know when you publish, and I’ll definitely be over to take a look.

      Partha

      Reply
  3. What, Partha, no squats? Oh, wait, now it has lunges instead. I have discovered I dislike those as much as squats. And I hear you, that’s why I should do them. 😀

    Yes, sitting is the new smoking, as they say. Like you I exercise and hike and still sit behind the computer a lot. Also like you, I get up every 25-30 minutes, yet I walk at least 5 minutes then. I am glad to hear that 15 seconds would be enough as well, but my body feels better if I walk longer.

    Plus, I get bored easily by just walking around my desk, so I read during this time. What I do have to take care of as well, of course, is to keep my head up. Otherwise I would probably create another problem, don’t you think?

    In your list of risks you don’t mention breaking a hip. Young people don’t break hips easily, so I can imagine you leave it out. But for me preventing a break and strengthen my hip joints is an issue. My mother broke both her hips in the last years of her life (luckily not both at once). Ever since I have exercises for my hips.

    They are a bit different than the ones you describe here, but I suppose that any exercise to strengthen your hips will do, or do you think different?

    Reply
    • Hi Hannie,

      Hahaha, well I did want to include squats, but I thought I’d let you off just this one time, LOL.

      I wanted to keep it as easy as possible, so you don’t even have to do lunges in the traditional sense.

      With the lunge stretch you can actually rest your back knee on the floor, so there’s no actual real physical exertion going on here, apart from getting a nice stretch into the hip flexor area.

      I’m actually quite impressed that you get up that often and actually spend 5 minutes walking around.

      In fact, I’m even more impressed that you spend this time reading.

      I think you’ve somewhat inspired me here actually.

      I’ve been thinking that I need to do some more reading, other than research I mean, as I’ve always been an avid reader of just about anything, but it’s taken a bit of a back seat while I’ve been working on my website.

      So, I actually think a 5-minute “stand up” break while looking through a book (or kindle) would be great thing to do. I’m on it.

      I’m sorry, you’re right I didn’t mention broken hips, and I know that this is a huge issue for many people when they get to a certain age.

      With that said, just performing simple stretches like I’ve mentioned in this article can actually go a long way to strengthening the hips and hip flexors, which may actually help to counteract weak hips and the potential for breaking the hips as we get older.

      However, thanks for keeping me grounded, and “keeping it real”, I shall certainly focus on all aspects far more now, taking age and other factors into consideration.

      Always a pleasure Hannie.

      Partha

      Reply
  4. These tips are very helpful. And yes, hip flexors are overlooked most of the time, well unless you do yoga.
    I do remember one time when my husband got an extreme pain on his lower back that he couldn’t even sit nor stand up straight. Later we found that he has a spinal disc problem.
    The doctor suggested yoga, or to do some stretching at home but due to lack of time he couldn’t do neither. Until a friend who has the same problem, adviced him to walk (I don’t understand why guys prefer to listen to a friend rather than the doctor, lol!)
    To do walking as an exercise. And, he’s fine since then.

    That’s why I’m a fanatic of walking. It’s simple and easy yet effective. But you have to do it the right though.

    Anyway, this reminds that I too, need to do stretching myself. I think I’d follow the inforgraphics you provided.

    Reply
    • Hi Minah,

      It sounds like your husband had a very similar experience to me.

      I suffered two prolapsed discs a number of years ago, and among others, this was due to weak hip flexors (I also had weak glutes and hamstrings too).

      I believe the injury was caused from lifting weights, but due to the weaknesses in these areas of my body, the problem was simply made worse.

      So, it was only a matter of time before I got injured.

      I will say that I’ve had far more of a focus on training the hips and hip flexors ever since, and I certainly feel a lot more mobile and flexible.

      And, touch wood, I haven’t had any real further spinal problems since.

      Hahaha, just thinking about you saying your husband took the advice of a friend over that of a Doctor. Okay, hands up, I admit it, this probably is a “guy thing” to do, LOL.

      Funnily enough, I’m much the same as you, and even though I exercise and work out a lot, I still ensure that I go for a walk every single day without fail.

      At a guess, I walk anywhere from 25-30 miles every week.

      Admittedly, I mainly do this for the mental benefits, as opposed to the physical benefits, as I find it is a fantastic way to clear the mind and set myself up for the day.

      With that said, I know my daily walking routine is having an awesome impact on my overall health.

      I’ve also taken to performing various Yoga exercises in an attempt to keep both my hips and hip flexors strong, but even the extremely simple moves I’ve mentioned here today will go a long way to strengthening the hip flexors.

      Thank you so much for sharing your (your husband’s) story, and it just goes to show how important the hips and hips flexors are for our overall health and fitness.

      Partha

      Reply

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