The hip-joint is a large ball and socket joint responsible for nine hip movements. One of those movements is hip flexion.
The function of the hip flexor muscles is to move the upper legs toward the torso. They also play an important role in core (abs, lower back and hip muscles) strength and stabilization.
There are three major muscles and several smaller/assistor muscles involved in hip flexion. The major muscles are the iliopsoas and the rectus femoris.
The iliopsoas consists of two muscles that act together as one. Those muscles are the iliacus and psoas major.
The psoas muscle originates on the lumber vertebrae. If this muscle is overdeveloped, tight or short, it can lead to a misalignment of the spine resulting in hip and low back pain.
Tight hip flexor muscles pull your pelvis forward resulting in a misalignment of the lumber spine which can lead to an anterior pelvic tilt.
Note: Although the next section describes a great hip flexor exercise take note that excessive strengthening (over exercising) of the hip flexor muscles or consistent prolonged sitting can lead to the conditions stated above.
PIKE EXERCISE (my favorite hip flexor exercise)
Equipment: stability ball, trx
Major muscles used: Iliopsoas (iliacus and psoas) and rectus femoris
Position: Rest shins on stability ball or foot hold of trx. In a push-up position, keep neck, spine and pelvis in a neutral position. Your body should form a straight line. Hands are in line with the shoulder and slightly wider than shoulder-width. Fingers face straight ahead. Abdominals are contracted.
Movement: With knees straight, exhale and roll ball or foot hold of trx toward the body. Hips should raise, toward the ceiling, as high as possible – ideally forming a 45° angle. Pause. Inhale and return to starting position.
– rounding the lower back at top of position
– hyper-extending or flexing the neck. Neck should stay in line with the spine.
– over exercising the hip flexor muscles
A dandy stretch to perform should you develop tight hip flexor muscles:
Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
In position shown above, slowly push pelvis forward. Maintain a neutral spine and contract abdominals. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat three times.
Need further advise or information on hip flexor exercises? Please leave a comment…