When most people think of problems with the hip flexor muscles they think of tight hip flexors. But like any other muscle in the body it is also possible to have weak hip flexors.
Weakness in the hip flexor muscles can effect the position of the pelvis which ultimately effects the functioning of the hip and the lower back.
As previously discussed in the stretching the hip flexors post, hip flexors refers to five muscles that cross the front of the hip and help bend the hip. These muscles include the Iliacus, Psoas Major, Psoas Minor, Rectus Femoris and Tensor Fasciae Latae.
When it comes to weak hip flexors the main muscles we are concerned about are the Psoas Major, Psoas Minor and Iliacus. These muscles combine together to form one insertion into the thigh bone and are often collectively referred to as Iliopsoas.
Strengthening these muscles is NOT for everyone. Because the origins of these muscles start in the lower back, it is crucial to have a strong core to help stabilize the spine.
Do not perform these exercises if you already have tight hip flexors.
Hip Flexor strengthening exercises are most suited for people with Flat Back posture and Sway Back Posture.
With out proper spine stabilization exercising these muscles can cause increased compression forces on the lower back which can lead to back problems. To learn more about how to strengthen the core muscles click here.
Watch this video to learn how to strengthen the hip flexor muscles.
The Iliopsoas muscle is the only hip flexor that works at the end of range hip flexion. Therefore in order to make sure we are strengthening the Iliopsoas and not the other hip flexors, use your hands to help place the hip in end of range hip flexion (i.e. maximum bending of the hip).
Be aware of your posture, sit with a straight back, and make sure to gently contract your abdominal muscles by drawing the belly button in towards your spine, to help stabilize the spine.
Method 2 shows a way to add resistance to this exercise.
Hold each repetition for 10 seconds, repeat 10 times.
Stop this exercise immediately if it gives you pain.