When it comes to being active, the majority of recommendations forget about mobility work. We are told to hit a certain number of steps or be in the gym for this many hours, but are given little about fixing postural issues. With estimates suggesting 60-70 percent of the population struggles with lower back pain, it’s clear that just physical activity alone isn’t the solution.
Humans have always sought ways to make life easier. And if you didn’t know this already, sitting is easier than standing. With more jobs moving to a work from home or hybrid model, the average step count has decreased significantly. Due to sitting in chairs more often, our hip flexors have become tight and our glutes have also become weak. In practical terms, this means that the body is out of alignment. So in order to actually fix issues associated with bad posture, let’s first look at some hip flexor exercises as well as exercises to strengthen the glutes.
What are Hip Flexors?
Hip flexor tightness is an issue that many people across the world suffer with. Unfortunately for you, chances are you fall into this category. Do you sit a lot for work? Do you spend hours on the couch watching tv? All of these can contribute to tight hip flexors. But even for those who are active, there can still be tightness. With back pain plaguing the world and hips tightness being a main cause, you might ask what are some good hip flexor exercises to fix this issue?
One of the most important concepts to understand about the hip flexors is that they are not simply one muscle. Instead, the hip flexors refer to several muscles that control movement of the hip. These muscles include the iliacus, psoas, rectus femoris, iliocapsularis and the sartorius. Now you may find yourself wondering why it matters that the hip flexors are a group of muscles versus simply one. The answer is that you can’t simply do a few hip stretches and expect things to get better. You’ll have to stretch in multiple positions to see real results.
When looking at hip flexibility you should also consider the antagonist muscle. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, it simply means the muscle group that does the opposite function of the hip flexors. In this case that would be the glutes. When it comes to postural issues, the main issue you see will be tightness in one group and weakness in the antagonist. For this reason not only will you need hip stretches, but also glute strengthening ones as well!
About the Hyperwear Sandbell Free Weight
Today we will show you how to use the Hyperwear SandBell Free Weight to stretch the hip flexors in addition to strengthening the posterior chain. For those unfamiliar with the workout sandbags, it is a soft sandbag. Due to its soft nature, it is safer for both high intensity and flexibility exercises when compared with traditional iron weights.
Another unique feature for SandBells is that because they are made with sand, the SandBell will adapt to different body parts. For example, if you have the sandbell on your shoulder it will naturally sink into a comfortable position. This same phenomenon happens when using the SandBell on your foot, as seen in the Kate Hudson Challenge #KateHudsonhipchallenge.
Throughout today’s sandbag training you’ll see various ways to use the SandBell that would be hard to accomplish with any other piece of equipment.
5 Hip Flexor Exercises for a Hip Strengthening Workout
The 5 hip flexor exercises below are a great way to correct postural issues related to having tight hips. These hip flexor exercises are perfect whether you are a beginner who just needs to move more or an advanced athlete who has been struggling with range of motion.
In terms of load, we do recommend using a SandBell for this workout. It will be the safest form of resistance and will adapt to the various positions you’ll be loading.
Hip Flexor Exercise #1: Full Range Of Motion Hip Flow
This is an eye catching move popularized by the Kate Hudson Challenge. It is designed to take the hip through its entire range of motion. Start on your back, with the SandBell on your foot. Keeping a slight knee bend, proceed by rolling to your stomach while also rotating the leg. At this point you should be on your stomach with the SandBell still on the foot. For any beginner, start by getting comfortable with this flow. Once you have mastered this portion, continue by taking the leg all the way through and flipping to your back, getting you back to the initial starting position.
Hip Flexor Exercise #2: 90-90 Back Knee Raise
One of the best ways to work the hips is from a position known as 90-90. You will see many different manipulations from this position today. For this exercise, start with each leg at 90 degrees. Place your sandbell on the back leg, providing a safe form of resistance. Gently lift the back knee into the air, avoiding any shift of the torso. This will set your glutes on fire, so only go a range you feel comfortable at.
Hip Flexor Exercise #3: 90-90 Front Leg Raise
Once again utilizing the 90-90 position, we will instead focus on working the front portion of the hip. This is a great strengthening exercise for your hip flexors. Place the SandBell on your front leg and then slowly try to lift that entire front leg in the air. Be careful to keep your chest tall, as a slight shift in position will take away the effectiveness of this exercise. If you find this to be difficult, try using only your bodyweight initially.
Hip Flexor Exercise #4: Quadruped Hip CAR
The quadruped position is traditionally used for core engagement exercises. Although it is great for that purpose, it can also be used to activate the various parts of the hip. Start with all fours (hands and knees) on the ground with a light sandbell on your back. From there, raise one leg like a dog near a fire hydrant and slowly circle the leg back to the ground. This will actively work the hip through a large range of motion.
Hip Flexor Exercise #5: 90-90 Raise with Rotation
Doing hip flexor exercises is key for just about everyone in the world. Whether you are just starting your fitness journey or have been at it for a while, chances are you have experienced hip tightness. Remember that simply stretching won’t get the job done. So grab your SandBell and start activating those hips and glutes today!