How to Strengthen Your Hip Flexors for Running

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If you want to strengthen your hip flexors for running, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to show you two workouts to strengthen your hip flexors for running.

Your hip flexors play an important role in running. For instance, when you’re flexing your thigh to move forward, you’re using your hip flexor muscles.

So, having weak hip flexors can negatively affect your running performance, such as making you run slower. Besides that, it could also cause lower leg running injuries.

Now, the two workouts are by Kinesiologist and Injury Specialist Rick Kaselj, M.S. He’s the creator of the Unlock Your Hip Flexors program.

Hip Flexor Workout for Running #1

The first workout consists of 5 exercises. They include: (1) Single-leg glute bridge; (2) Donkey kicks; (3) Single-leg hip abduction; (4) Single-leg deadlift; (5) Split lunge. Here are the details of each exercise:

1. Single-Leg Glute Bridge

  • Lie on the ground with your knees bent; your hands by the side; and relaxed in your upper body.
  • Straighten one of your legs, then lift your hips up until your knee, hips, and shoulder are in line. Then, hold it for one second.
  • Lower your hips and then your leg to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this exercise by alternating legs.

2. Donkey Kicks

  • Start in a four-point kneeling position.
  • Tighten your abdominal area, then lift and extend one of your legs back.
  • Lower your leg back to the starting position.

3. Single-Leg Hip Abduction

  • Lie on your side with your hips and legs stacked, and your bottom arm straight overhead so you can rest your head on it.
  • Lift your top leg up but don’t go more than a 45-degree angle.
  • Lower your leg back to the starting position.

4. Single-Leg Deadlift

It’s better if you use weights, such as dumbbells, in this exercise. But, if you don’t have them, you can do the exercise without any weight.

  • Start in a standing position, with your hands (and dumbbells) at your sides.
  • Bend forward through the hips with your hands (and dumbbells) down, and lift one leg back so that your weight rests on the other leg. Hold this position for one second.
  • Return to the starting position.

5. Split Lunge

  • Stand with one leg in front and the other leg extended back, and your hands holding a dumbbell in front of your shoulders.
  • Lower the knee of your extended leg to the ground.
  • Straighten your extended leg back up to the starting position.

Do each exercise for 1 set of 5 reps on each side. Perform the movements in a smooth and controlled way. You can see more clearly how these exercises are done in the video below:

Hip Flexor Workout for Running #2

The second workout is similar to the first one, with slight differences. For example, the first and second exercises in both workouts are single-leg glute bridge and donkey kicks, respectively, but they are done in slightly different ways. Then, the fourth exercise in both workouts is completely different.

There’s a total of 5 exercises in the second workout. They include: (1) Single-leg glute bridge; (2) Donkey kicks; (3) Side-lying hip abduction; (4) Bird dogs; (5) Lunge to knee driver. Here are the details of each exercise:

1. Single-Leg Glute Bridge

  • Lie on the floor with your knees bent; your arms by your side; and relaxed in your upper body.
  • Tighten your abdominal area and lift your hips until your knee, hips, and shoulder are in line.
  • Straighten one leg and hold it for one second.
  • Lower your leg and then your hips to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this exercise by alternating your legs.

2. Donkey Kicks

  • Start in a four-point kneeling position.
  • Tighten your abdominal area and lift one leg up with the knee bent at 90 degrees. Lift it until the knee is in line with the hip, and hold it for one second.
  • Lower your leg back to the starting position.
  • Repeat this exercise by alternating your legs.

3. Side-Lying Hip Abduction

  • Lie on your side with your bottom arm straight overhead so you can rest your head on it. Your body should be in a straight line, but you can bend your knees a little to keep you from rocking forward and back.
  • Tighten your abdominal area and lift your top leg up to about 30-45 degrees.
  • Lower your leg back to the starting position.

4. Bird Dogs

  • Start in a four-point kneeling position.
  • Tighten your abdominal area, then reach forward with one arm and reach back with the opposite leg. Your body from your wrist to your ankle should be straight.
  • Lower your arm and leg to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this exercise by alternating your arms and legs.

5. Lunge to Knee Driver

  • Start in a lunge position, where one leg bent at the front and the other leg bent at the back. You can put your hands on your hips to help balance your body.
  • Move into a knee driver by standing up and lifting your back leg.
  • Lower your legs and return to a lunge position.

Each exercise should be done for 1 set of 5 reps. Perform the movements in a smooth and controlled way. You can see more clearly how this exercise is done in the following video:

Closing Remarks

If you’re a runner or run regularly, you need strong hip flexors to support your running activity. So, try those two workouts to strengthen your hip flexors for running.

Also, keep your hip flexors from tightening up. Just like weak hip flexors, tight hip flexors could affect your running performance. Not to mention, it can also cause other health problems, such as joint and back pain.

And if you have tight hip flexors, check out Rick Kaselj’s Unlock Your Hip Flexors program. It consists of stretches and exercises put together in a certain order to loosen up your tight hip flexors.

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