Say Goodbye to Tight Hip Flexors!

Hip Flexor Blog

As athletes ourselves, we understand the unique challenges faced by athletes like runners and cross-country skiers. Today, we’re tackling a common issue that many of you may have encountered (heck, we even have too!) – hip flexor pain. Contrary to popular belief, we’re here to debunk the myth that stretching is the ultimate solution. Instead, we’ll shed light on the benefits of strength training and provide you with practical exercises to address hip flexor tightness.

Why do Hip Flexors Get Tight?

Athletes, especially runners and cross-country skiers, often experience tightness in their hip flexors due to the repetitive nature of their activities. Overuse, certain biomechanical factors, and muscle strength deficits can lead to a sensation of tightness in the hip flexor muscles, named the iliacus and psoas muscles. Running and skiing involve repetitive flexion and extension of the hips. As training progresses, so do demands on the hip flexor. Often hip flexor tightness occurs when increasing training more volume, moving at faster paces, or training on more variable terrain, this can result in muscle fatigue and soreness, which can masquerade as muscle tightness.

Debunking the Stretching Myth

Contrary to popular belief, stretching the hip flexors may not address the root cause of this sensation of tightness, instead it may only provide temporary relief. In fact, excessive stretching may result in greater soreness and can result in a temporary reduction in muscle strength. Strength training the hip flexor can instead, improve muscle strength, increase its ability to keep up with training demands, and reduce the level of fatigue the muscle experiences with running and skiing. This can reduce the sensation of tightness, result in performance improvements, and reduce the likelihood of future injuries.

4 of the Best Resistance Band Exercises for Tight Hip Flexors

We know that runners want to run and often neglect the gym. The good news about this hip flexor workout is that NO GYM IS REQUIRED! Only a resistance band is needed.  Don’t have one? Pick one up at the clinic and get started on your journey to stronger hip flexors today! 

Overhead Hip Flexor Marches

  • Standing with a resistance band under your feet and weight over head 
  • Lift one knee towards your chest while keeping the other foot on the ground.
  • Alternate legs in a marching motion, engaging your core.
HIP FLEXOR OH MARCH scaled

Knee Drive at a Wall 

  • Lean against a wall with your arms fully extended. (walk your feet back to make more difficult) 
  • Place band under your feet, drive one knee to your chest, while keeping the other foot on the ground
  • Repeat on other side
  • The goal is to keep your body flat and stable throughout the movement
  • Speed it up and hold for 3 seconds on the 3rd lift to make it more difficult
HIP FLEXOR KNEE DRIVE AT WALL scaled

Hip Flexor Lift Offs

  • Start seated with your legs fully extended in front of you
  • Place an object in front of you (the taller the object, the harder it will be) 
  • Keeping your torso upright, lift one leg over the object and repeat 
LEG LIFTS HIP FLEXOR scaled

Hamstring March, Full Extension

  • Start lying on your back with your feet on a bench, the resistance band is around the bottom/top of your feet 
  • Lift your hips up into the air
  • Drive one knee towards your chest, then return to starting position, switch sides
HIP FLEXOR BRIDGE MARCH scaled

Expert Tips:

  • Consistency is Key: Perform these exercises regularly to build and maintain hip flexor strength. We suggest implementing these 2-3x week. 
  • Listen to Your Body: If you experience pain beyond mild discomfort, consult a sports physical therapist. Not sure if an appointment can help? Schedule a FREE discovery visit with one of our PTs to ask any questions you have. 
  • Incorporate Warm Ups & Recovery: Include activities like dynamic warm-ups and active recovery to support your hip flexors.

Ready to take the next step towards a stronger, pain-free athletic experience? Inquire about our comprehensive strength testing services and personalized strength training programs. Our team of experts is here to guide you on your journey to optimal performance and injury prevention. Contact us today to schedule your FREE Discovery visit!

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