Let me know if you’ve ever had this experience…in fitness…or life.
You spent some time getting really good at something, only to realize later that building your strength in one area caused you to become weak in another.
For me this would be the hip…flexors.
Back when I taught high impact group fitness in college (think lots of high knees, kicking and jumping), my nickname should have been quadzilla.
Eventually, this led to some pretty miserable hip and back stuff, which is when I realized that I was a little…ok a lot…imbalanced. I was crazy strong in my hip flexors and pretty darn weak everywhere else.
So, I obsessively began to work on hip stability and hip extension. I was all about the glutes. And as a result, I stopped getting injured all the time and movement felt a heck of a lot better.
But there was one unintended consequence in this. A few weeks ago, I tried a fairly challenging Pilates exercise (the teaser on the reformer) and discovered I almost couldn’t do it.
The cause? Weakness in hip flexion.
A few years ago, I could have busted that move out no problem, but on that day, it was a struggle, which is of course when I realized I hadn’t reaaa-aaally been using my hip flexors much, even though they’re just as important as every other hip muscle when it comes to functional, powerful movement.
Because that’s the thing. There is no such thing as a bad or a good muscle – just relative imbalance from one muscle to another, which can easily change based on how you use your body.
Ultimately, if you want to move well and do cool things, you want to be balanced in your strength and well rounded in your fitness program.
And while this might require spending a little more time on certain areas – it doesn’t mean you want to abandon areas that were “already working.”
They need love and attention too.
So with this in mind, I’ve created a routine highlighting hip strengthening exercises to target hip movement in all directions, because strong stable hips means everrr-rrything you do will feel easier!
It works the glutes and inner thighs, which are key pieces in pelvic stability and power + the hip flexors and all those little stabilizing muscles (deep lateral rotators, yo’) that we often forget about.
The bonus to this is when you increase stability, you don’t just experience more strength. You also tend to experience less tension and greater mobility, because often it’s not tightness that decreases our range of motion, but a loss of neuromuscular control at end range in the joint…and all that tightness we feel is actually our nervous system trying to protect us from going out of a range that we can control.
All you need for this one is a light to medium resistance band and 10 minutes 🙂
Hip strengthening exercises for glutes & hip flexors
6-10 Pilates half rollbacks
6-8 sets toe taps with legs slack (for psoas)
6-8 reps bird dog prep with band (per leg)
8-12 reps side leg lifts kneeling (per leg)
6-10 reps internal & external rotation kneeling (per leg)