The best exercise to strengthen your hip flexor muscles (2024)

If your hip flexors are healthy and free of pain, that means that your entire lower body is doing well. Here is one exercise that will ensure this

The best exercise to strengthen your hip flexor muscles (1)

Tight hip flexors can cause a lot of pain. (Istockphoto)

By Pulasta Dhar

LAST PUBLISHED 16.02.2024 | 08:00 AM IST

The body is really good at sending alarms about what could be wrong—and the hip flexor tightening and weakening is the one alarm most of us have felt at some point. Whether it is while getting off the chair after a long day working at the desk, or when they scream in agony during something as simple as flutter kicks in an abs workout, the hip flexors are a good indicator of overall lower body fitness. But they are also stubborn when it comes to fixing the pain. Most people tend to stretch them for relief, but that is not always the right approach.

“But even while stretching and strengthening the entire hip area, the flexors in the front can be difficult to isolate. This is also because they are prone to muscle atrophy due to inactivity, which means they are difficult to feel or activate unless in painful ways,” I wrote in an earlier Lounge piece titled Why You Need To Strengthen Your Hip Flexors.

Also Read Why you need to strengthen your hip flexors

That story included some handy hip flexor strengthening workouts, but I came across one particular exercise a couple of weeks ago that has entirely transformed the health of my hip flexors. I scoured the internet for the name of the move, but failed. But logic suggested we could call it a hooked or anchored hip flexor extension until I learnt that the man who is making it popular calls it The Fall Back.

There are two videos, both YouTube Shorts, one which credits the other, for this exercise. It eventually took me to the Instagram page of high performance coach Vernon Griffith. With more than 700,000 followers, Griffith introduces himself as someone who “specializes in Mobility that works with Professional Athletes from the NFL, NBA and MLB as well Military Special Operations Personnel and extreme motorsports.”The comments section on the post is full of praise for how the move has changed the game for a lot of people when it comes to hip-flexor strength.

Also Read Why a strong core is more important than six pack abs

You would need a bench for this exercise, and a heavy dumbbell. With one foot hooked into the dumbbell as an anchor, pull the other one up in a 90-degree angle as you sit across the bench. Now slowly lower the body while keeping your core engaged without letting the spine go into extension until you feel a stretch on the hip flexor on the anchored side. Let the body drop until it is just slightly uncomfortable but still controlled, and use the hip-flexor to drive the body back up along with the bent leg.Griffith believes that the knee-to-chest movement of most hip flexor strength moves are “okay” but not the only way to make it stronger.

“The hips are mostly seen strengthened in a shortened position but I really see the value [of] challenging them in a lengthened position and loading that tissue having strength while at length. First is a fall back anchoring the foot driving your knee up while you load that length of the hips,” he writes. There is added star value to this post, with Premier League footballer Trevoh Chalobah doing the demonstration.

The above video has the three exercises that Griffith swears by, which also includes the banded version of The Fall Back while lying on a medicine ball in case you don’t have access to a bench. YouTube fitness page GuerrillaZen Fitness also demonstrates this exercise, while crediting Griffith for teaching him this exercise.

“Basically you are stretching the hip flexors and then contracting them to pull yourself to hinge at the hip,” the trainer says in the video, simplifying the main function of the exercise.

Also Read How to activate your arms before a workout

I have been doing this exercise every second day for the past ten days and my hip-flexor pain is nearly gone. The value of doing this regularly is not just on one particular muscle. “The hip flexor muscles are major contributors to lumbar spine stability. Tight hip flexors can lead to pain in the lumbar spine, and hence to an impairment in performance,” states a paper in the National Library of Medicine titled The Influence Of Stretching The Hip Flexor Muscles On Performance Parameters.

In one of his videos, Griffith says that the effect of the exercise will also be felt on the core and hips, and train them to learn how to help support the spine. And there cannot be a better takeaway from any move.

Pulasta Dhar is a football commentator, podcaster and writer.

Also Read 5 activation exercises to pump up your chest


    16.02.2024 | 08:00 AM IST



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The best exercise to strengthen your hip flexor muscles (2024)


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