20 Hip Flexor Exercises for Strength & Flexibility
Doing hip flexor strength exercises is important for anyone who lives an active lifestyle and wants to improve their performance and stay injury-free.
Because these muscles play such a key role in movement, keeping them strong and flexible is also vital for people with reduced mobility, whether this is from injury, sedentary lifestyle or old age.
In this post I want to show you 20 hip flexor exercises using a resistance band. Done regularly, these exercises will help you get stronger, more flexible and more mobile around your hip joints.
What are hip flexors?
Your hip flexors are the group of muscles that attach your legs to your hip and spine. They are responsible for the forward flexion motion of your legs and lifting your knees up. The hip flexors include: Psoas Major, Iliacus, Rectus Femoris, Sartorius and Pectineus muscles.
You use these muscles continually while walking, running and basically doing any movement which involves your legs. So, having strong and supple hip flexors is essential for active people who wish to increase performance, for seniors who have begun to lose mobility and for people who have weak and stiff muscles due to a sedentary lifestyle.
How to do Hip Flexor Exercises for Strength & Flexibility
These hip flexor exercises are all done using a mini resistance loop. This is the perfect workout tool for hitting your hip flexors because the concentric resistance they exert on your legs activates all the hip, glute and core muscles which bind your legs, pelvis and spine together.
In this workout, I’ve listed 20 of the best hip flexor strength exercises you can do with a resistance band. But first, here’s a quick video from our YouTube channel showing you how to do a lateral shuffle exercise, which targets your glute and hip flexor muscles:
Hip flexor workout: 20 of the best strength exercises:
For each exercise, aim to do 10-15 reps on both sides. Pay attention to correct body posture as shown in the images. At the end of the exercise, hold briefly before returning to start.
#1 Knee Raise
Loop the band around your feet and lift one knee up as high as possible. Keep your body straight with hands on hips, and try not to lose your balance!
#2 Standing Hip Flexion
With the band around your ankles, lift one leg until your foot is at waist-level. Try to keep your leg as straight as possible during the movement.
#3 Standing Hip Abduction
This time, lift your leg out directly to the side as far as possible.
#4 Sumo Squat
Loop the band around your knees and drop down into a squat position. Now raise your body and, at the same time, lift one leg up to waist-level. Then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
#5 Diagonal Split Squat
Drop down into a squat with the band around your knees. Now step one foot back and diagonally across to the opposite side. Then step your foot forward again and return to a standing position.
To do deadlifts, stand on the inside of the band and hold onto the other end of the loop. Bend at the waist with your back straight and knees slightly bent. Now come up into a standing position by pulling the band up and driving your hips forward. Keep your lower back slightly arched throughout the movement.
#7 Mini Band Walk
Loop the band either just above or just below your knees, with legs bent. Take a medium or large step forward, stretching the band. Continue walking forward for several step, then return to the starting point by walking backwards. Continue for as long as you can!
#9 Leg Extension
Sit on a chair or bench with the band attached at the base and looped around your ankle. Lift your foot up until your leg is straight, then return slowly. It may be better if you can arrange some cushions under your knee so that your thigh is angled slightly upwards. And wear socks to prevent the band rubbing or slipping out of place.
#10 Lying Hip Abduction
Lie on your side, with your upper body upright and supported on your elbow. With the band looped around your ankles, lift one leg as high as possible.
#11 Bridge Thrust 1
Lie on your back with your knees bent and the band looped around your legs. Lift your hips up high while pushing down with your arms and pushing your knees out slightly, then lower your hips to the floor. To add a variation, when you’re in the top position, you can stretch the band wide apart with your knees for one rep before returning to start.
#12 Bridge Thrust 2
Same as the previous exercise except this time you loop the band around your waist and hold the loop onto the floor with your hands as you lift your hips.
Lie on your side, resting your head on your arm, with the band looped around your knees. Keeping your lower leg pressed to the floor and your feet together, stretch the band by pulling it wide apart.
#14 Inverse Clamshell
Kneeling on all-fours with the band around your feet, lift one leg up and out to the side.
#15 Mountain Climber
Get into a plank position with the band looped around your feet. Now stretch the band by bringing one knee up towards your chest. Then return and repeat with the other leg.
#16 Lying Leg Raise
Lie on your back with the band around your ankles. Keeping one leg pushed down to the floor, lift your other leg up high. To make the exercise more difficult, keep your lower leg raised slightly off the ground.
#17 Bicycle Crunch
Lie on your back with the band around your feet. Keep one leg straight and off the floor and bring the other knee up towards your chest. At the same time, lift your upper body and touch the knee with the opposite elbow. Then repeat on the other side, and keep going as long as possible.
#17 Oblique Leg Lift
Start resting on your side with one leg straight and one bent beneath you. Place the band around your ankle and knee and support yourself with one hand. Then simultaneously lift your upper leg and bring your free hand to your knee.
#18 Oblique Crunch
Start in a sideways reclining position with the band around your ankles. Support your body with one elbow at your side and the other behind you. Raise your legs and bring your knees into your chest, then return to start and repeat.
#19 Side Plank Leg Raise
Start in a side plank with the band looped below your knees. Keeping your body and legs straight, stretch the band by lifting your upper leg as high as possible.
#20 Side Plank Crunch
Start in a side plank position with the band around your feet and your upper arm stretched over your head. Now simultaneously bring one knee up towards your chest and your elbow down to touch the knee. Then return and repeat.