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Hip Flexor Shenanigans: What the Hell Do We Do With the Hip Flexors?

Hip Flexor Shenanigans: What the Hell Do We Do With the Hip Flexors?

Every day, I ponder several things.

Why is the grass green?
Is the moon made out of Swiss cheese?
Why do people spend money on organic food?
Why was $10 billion spent on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and not solving world hunger?
Will I meet Aragorn in real life?


Out of all of life’s mysteries, the one that stumps me the most is what the hell do we do with the hip flexors?

Should we stretch them? Should we activate them? Should we ignore them? Should we say “fuck it” and get drunk?

I’ll be honest: I’m a strength coach still trying to figure out these hip flexor shenanigans.

However, I have read some good articles highlighting how to tell when to stretch and when to strengthen. You can check them out here and here.

Normally, the default with the hip flexors is stretching them.

I’d argue the hip flexors appear “tight” due to a weak core. One way to tell if this is the case is to perform band resisted mountain climbers. If your client or athlete is rounding their back, you may need to address core and psoas activation.

Or, if they’re doing this…

Give them the green light and a fist pump.

In lieu of strengthening the hip flexors, here are a few other exercises to try:

What I like about these is they incorporate co-activation of the core and entire lumbo-pelvic region. The sartorius and psoas act isometrically to stabilize the lumbo-pelvic hip complex and help reduce chance of knee injury. Concentrically, they accelerate hip flexion for sport specific actions like accelerating, running at top speeds, and shooting.

So before you over stretch these muscles, perhaps it’s in your best interest to strengthen them.

1 Comment
  • JayFit
    Posted at 20:00h, 17 May Reply

    Hey Erica,

    Really appreciate your post – cause it was something that I neglected my entire life until… knocked out by injury. Have been soccer player and runner for years and never really thought about hips – or lower back for what its worth – and well, as I do have those abs, didnt care about core either.

    Until…

    Shit brought me back to reality.

    Apparently lacking hip flexor strength leads to putting too much pressure on your quads. And while mine are strong, they are not that strong. Being more specific – and after a year of PT and me starting on a degree in that, to spare others the pain… (such a good person… 🙂 ) – when there is such constant pressure on your lower body, cause your midsection (to which I count hips) are too week, the muscles twitch and break though the fascia. In my case, on several points and like big time. Real danger, cause at first you dont notice. The pain only comes when you are already pretty much down the rabbit whole.
    And yes, you can twitch them back (or a PT can) but it hurts AF.

    So if a player suddenly comes with a pain in their upper inner quads, that might be what is going on. Send them to a PT, they‘ll figure it out… but yes… what you need to do is really really do those exercises. Clam Shells are excellent as well, Or Hip Thrusts. Those are all boring. But they are what eventually brought me back to being painfree.

    And it is embarrassing to admit that I have – knowing all that – never done it, and just… well…. did the fun stuff. Started being super adamant about those now, though, and thus appreciate very much that you think about it as well.

    Cause no: Stretching is fine. But strength does not come for stretch but from exercise. And you need strength.

    So far so good,

    Jay

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