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Hip Flexors - The Most Underdeveloped Muscle Group in Strength Training

The hip flexors are a very important group of muscles located in your legs. These muscles are responsible for lifting the knee and stabilizing the pelvis and hip joint.

The hip flexors are often neglected when it comes to training, but because of their importance they should be strengthened using specific muscle building exercises.

In this article I will discuss the different muscles of the hip flexors and some useful exercises to strengthen them.

There are 10 muscles that comprise the hip flexors, they are: psoas major, psoas minor, Iliacus muscle, rectus femoris, sartorius, tensor fasciae latae, pectineus, adductor longus, adductor brevis, and the gracilis. 

Most are small, thin muscles, but if you have ever torn one you know that injuring just one of them can mess up your entire stride and performance. There are many different exercises you can do to strengthen the hip flexors, and because they don’t only flex the hip they can be worked with a variety of other movements.

Lying leg raises is a great exercise for strengthening the hip flexors. Lie on you back with your feet straight out in front of you. Keeping your legs straight, slowly lift them off the ground until they are parallel to your body.

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Pause for a second at the top and then lower them. As your raise and lower your legs, concentrate on using your hip flexors instead of your abs. To make this exercise even more challenging, place a 5 or 10 pound dumbbell or medicine ball between your feet.

Another excellent exercise for hip flexor strength is the barbell hip thrust. Grab a moderately heavy weight or EZ bar and place it on your hips as you lie on your back. Put your knees up and slowly raise your hips off the ground until you feel your hip flexors contracting. Lower the weight steadily and repeat for 8-12 times.

It is important that you keep you core and lower back tight while doing this exercise so that you really target the hip flexors. If this seems to hard for you, feel free to perform the exercise with no weight. As long as you are contracting the hip flexors and you feel them working, the exercise will be effective.

One of the best exercises for the hip flexors is the band or cable knee raise. This is a great movement for anyone who wants to strengthen their hips for sports or running because it mimics your stride when you run. Attach an exercise band on to a fixed point or find something that can attach around your leg and onto a cable machine.

If you are using a band, your resistance will already be pre-set, although you can move farther away or closer to the fixed point for more or less resistance. You will have to select your resistance when using a cable machine. Once you have a secured the band around your foot, you are going to stand with your feet shoulder width apart and then raise your knee to your chest. Focus on contracting your hip flexors while raising the weight for a more effective leg workout.

These three exercises are guaranteed to strengthen your hip flexors and improve performance. Try to work them into your routine when you have a bit of time!

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