It is easy to overlook the value of the hip in allowing you to do things such as ski, backpack or swim. You might be surprised to find out that, according to "The Male Body: An Owner's Manual," the joints in your hip support 70% of your body weight. Strengthening those hip flexors can therefore help you avoid a very real potential for injury when your muscles aren't strong enough to support all that force upon the body.
Hip Extension While Lying Down
The hip extension while lying down is an exercise designed to strengthen your hip flexors that can be done anywhere you can find enough space in which to lie down with your body spread out. You get down on your stomach and your hands clasped beneath your forehead. Stretch out your toe, keep your knee straight and very slowly lift your entire leg straight up while squeezing your buttocks. You only need to lift the leg a few inches off and make sure you keep the leg straight. Hold for just two seconds and repeat 10 times.
Resistance Band Stretch
Resistance exercises are a natural for the hip because of its movement. The movement of the leg in relation to the hip means you can use a resistance band to either move the leg back and forth or away and back from the hip. The best way to go about using a resistance band to strengthen hip flexors is simply to slip it under the leg of a chair and then slip your leg against the other end. Hold the chair down with your hands while you either pull back on the resistance band or pull sideways on the resistance band.
The hip flexion requires little more than a table and some kind of weight around your foot or ankle. You want to make sure both legs are hanging off the table so that your legs are at a 90-degree angle. You can buy an attachment from which free weights can hang or you can just use ankle weights, but you'll want to find heavier ankle weights than just one or two pounds. The hip flexion is more often done when you can strap the weight attachment around your instep, but if all you can manage are ankle weights, you are still going to get some benefit. The keys to this exercise are that you don't lean backward and you do raise your knee straight up rather than bending it so that you are just doing standard leg lifts. You need to slide far enough down the table that you can lift your leg straight up in the air with the weight attached to exercise your hip rather than just your thigh. Do 25 reps for each leg.
Article Written By Timothy Sexton
Timothy Sexton is an award-winning author who started writing in 1994. He has written on topics ranging from politics and golf to nutrition and travel, and his work appears online for Zappos.com, Disaboom and MOJO, among others. He has also done work for "Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.