Weighted Straight Leg Raises
Weighted straight leg raises can improve hip strength enough to tackle back-country hiking trails and tough slopes with renewed vigor. Secure weights around one ankle. Lie flat on your on back on a table or bench with one knee bent and the other straight out. You will be raising the straight leg, the one to which the weight is attached. Keep the leg completely straight as you raise it about a foot off the table. After raising the weight, lower it very slowly to the starting position. Repeat 20 to 25 times, and change legs.
Bridging is an exercise you can do anywhere there's room to lie down with your knees bent. Bridging strengthens the hip flexors and also helps buck up your lower back. Bikers will especially benefit from bridging. Stretch your arms down by your sides. Lift up at the hips so that you create a straight diagonal line from your knees down to your shoulders. Tighten the muscles in your buttocks and hold for a count of two. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Simple dumbbell lunges are a good exercise for strengthening the hip flexors. If lunges are not already part of your workout, add them. They not only help the hips, but also help improve your posture and work your thighs. Stand straight, holding the dumbbells at your sides. Take a step forward so that your knee is bent and your thigh is parallel to the floor. You'll be standing on the toes of your back leg, with your knee bent so that your shin is parallel to the floor. Keep your back completely straight when doing this lunge. Perform three sets of 10 reps.
In "The Ultimate Body Book," Linda Shelton recommends step-ups as a way to increase strength and flexibility in your hip flexors. This is a "buffet" exercise that also works your quads, buttocks, hamstrings, calves and inner thighs. Step-ups also use your abs and spine extensors as stabilizers, so you are really giving your body a workout. Use a workout bench or 8- to 12-inch step. Put your right foot up on the bench with a bent knee. Keep your left leg straight with your heel lifted and step up onto the bench so that you straighten your right leg and bring your left knee up. Step back down with your left and repeat 10 times. Then do the same thing with your legs in the opposite position and repeat 10 more times.
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.