Lunges are a popular hip flexor workout.
Hip flexors, also known as Iliopsoas, are a group of muscles used to pull the knee upward. Weak hip flexors can impair coordination and even make walking or going upstairs difficult. There are several exercises you can do to strengthen the hip flexors, but always consult with a doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.
Lying Scissor Kicks
This workout can be done on the floor or on a workout bench. Start scissor kicks by lying flat on your back and placing your hands under your buttocks with your palms facing the floor. With your legs starting together, vertically raise your right leg so the heel of your foot is about 18 inches off the ground. If you're on the floor, raise your left heel about 2 inches off the ground. Keep your knees slightly bent during the exercise. In the same motion as scissors, simultaneously change positions so your right leg lowers toward the ground and your left leg vertically raises. Continue to move your legs in a scissor-like motion. To increase the intensity of the exercise, use ankle weights.
Seated Leg Raises
If you're using an exercise machine for seated leg raises, sit with your back firmly against the seat and place the padded lever over your ankles on the top portion of your feet. Grasp the side grips to keep your buttocks on the seat, but do not use the side grips to assist you during the workout. Contract your hip flexors to raise the lever up and then lower the lever using slow and controlled motions. This exercise can also be done sitting on the edge of a bench holding a dumbbell between your feet. Grasp the sides of the bench to keep your buttocks from moving off the bench as you extend your knees to raise the dumbbell.
Lunges are an effective workout for your hip flexors. Start lunges by standing with your feet and your abdominal muscles contracted to stabilize your spine during the workout. Step forward about 24 inches with your right leg making sure your heel lands on the floor first and then shift your body weight to the remainder of your right foot. Simultaneously bend your knees until your left knee moves about 2 inches from the floor and your left thigh is parallel to the floor. To return to your standing position, push off the ground with your right leg by contracting your thigh and buttocks muscles until you're standing. The intensity of this exercise can be increased by using a barbell or dumbbells.
Before starting your workout, warm up for five to 10 minutes with a light jog or brisk walk. If you use dumbbells or barbells during these exercises, choose a weight that's at least 70 percent of the maximum amount you can lift during one repetition. Perform one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions making sure to rest for a few minutes between exercises. Once you've completed your exercises, stretch your hip flexors with lunge stretches. Place your right knee on the floor and step forward with your left foot so your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Push your hips forward as you straighten your rear leg behind you. Once you feel painless tension, hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then switch sides.