Strong hip flexors provide great benefit in a variety of athletic activities but they just might be the most neglected muscle group in strength training.
For the athletes the difficulty in developing Hip Flexor Strength has been the lack of suitable exercises. By comparison there are a lot of emphasis on workouts for the leg extensors.
There are some understandable reasons for neglecting hip flexor strength.
The main muscles that are used in flexing the hip are the psoas and the iliacus, known together as the iliopsoas.
Because they are relatively innate rather than apparent muscles they might be ignored by bodybuilders who are traditionally seen as the main trendsetters in strength training. Also, there are no clear ways to sufficiently exercise them with weights.
Finally, these hip flexor muscles don’t have the obvious practical status of their extensor equals. However, as antagonists, both knee and Hip Flexors do have a vital role in regulating the level of ascent and descent in leg extension exercises, for example squats.
There’s really no corresponding problem of underdevelopment with the muscles responsible for knee joint flexion, the hamstring group. Because they cross two joints they are active in both leg extension and leg flexion.
Related article: Shaping Up Hips and Thighs
3 Exercises for Strengthening Hip Flexors
- Straight Leg Raise
- Hip Flexion Standing
- Lunge Knee Raise
Watch the video below for proper technique
How Strong Hip Flexors Can Give You an Advantage in Sports
Strong hip flexors give an advantage in many sports and workouts. In sprinting and hurdles high knee lift is associated with improved stride length and that is why considerable attention should be given to exercising the hip flexors. Yet, they aren’t usually trained against resistance and consequently there is unlikely to be any appreciable strength increase.
Hip flexor strength is also very relevant to a range of activities in soccer. Kicking the ball is a coordinated action including synchronized hip flexion and knee extension, so developing a more powerful and strong kick does require exercises appropriate to these muscle groups.
In addition players in American football and rugby who have enormously developed gluteus muscles and quadriceps are often unable to generate rapid knee lifts and therefore tend to shuffle around the field. Having stronger hip flexor muscles would considerably improve their mobility.
It is frequently stated that marked strength disparity between hip flexors and extensors might be a contributing factor in hamstring injuries. It is interesting to speculate on whether hip flexor/extensor imbalance could also be related with the relatively high incidence of groin injuries in footballers.
Other sports where increased hip flexor strength would offer benefits include rowing, cycling and mountain climbing, in particular when scaling rock faces.
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