Exercises For Hip Flexor Injury
The hip flexor is often overlooked in training when it comes to the hamstring, quad, and groin muscles, even though it is just as important. Hip flexor injury prevention is an important part of any training program and consists of two parts.
Here are a few supplementary stretches that you should do:
Standing Quad Stretch
To perform the simple quad stretch bend your leg behind you and hold it with your arm on the same side. You will notice that you will feel a bit of stretch in your hip flexor, especially if they are tight.
To perform this stretch, sit down with your feet together facing inside and push down on your knees/thighs with your elbows at the same time. Remember to always try and keep a straight lower back.
The Piriformis stretch is a bit more difficult to perform. While you are lying on your back, bring one leg up and bend it across your other leg. Then hold your other leg at about a 90-degree angle. You should feel this stretch on the outside of the leg that is bent across the other(in the picture her left leg).
This stretch will hit the hamstrings and the gluteus-maximus, which act in opposing movements as the hip flexor does. Simply lie on your back, pull your leg up either with an elastic stretching tube or with your hands. Try to keep both of your legs as straight as possible.
Hip Flexor Strengthening
In order to prevent future injuries, we need to prepare through hip flexor strengthening. This is going to be a bit different than the strengthening presented in the recovery series because it has a different purpose now.
Hanging Leg Raises
Hanging raises are performed in the exact same way as lying leg raises but more difficult overall. If you do not have the strength to perform these right away, build up to them using the lying version first.
These are similar to lying leg raises except that while you raise your legs off the ground, you also raise your upper body off the ground, hence the name “V”-Ups. The benefit of these is that the upper hip flexor muscles are more targeted, so if this is an area you feel weak in, these can definitely help you.
Perform both these hip flexor stretches in the same way you would have before (3 sets of 30 seconds for each leg) 2-3 times a week and you will develop and maintain the hip flexor strength that you desire.
In part 2 of this hip flexor injury exercises mini-series, we examine how to put everything together to create a routine.