If you play a sport that requires running, or a game where you need to run and kick a ball, such as soccer, you might find that you need stronger and more flexible hips. If this sounds like you, then you need to strengthen the hip flexor muscles that run across your upper thighs. Weight-training exercises are among your options.
Secure a dumbbell or a similar weight between your feet, then grasp a horizontal bar above you. The bar should be high enough that your feet don’t touch the floor when your arms and legs are extended.
Exhale as you lift the weight by bending from your hips and knees. At the top of your movement your thighs should be parallel or a bit higher than parallel with the floor, while your shins should remain vertical and your feet continue to hold the dumbbell.
Inhale as you return slowly to the starting position. Perform at least 15 repetitions, or try to work up to that level.
Increase the exercise’s difficulty by keeping your knees straight and moving your legs and the weight with your hips alone.
Lie on your back with your feet in front of an exercise machine with a low cable. You can lie on the floor or on a bench.
Attach an ankle strap to each of your ankles, then attach the straps to the low cable. Position yourself so the cable is straight, then hold onto the far end of the bench, another machine or some type of support behind your head. Alternatively, attach the cable to one ankle to work one side of your hip flexors at a time.
Exhale as you lift the machine’s weight stack by bringing your knees up toward your chest. At the end of your movement your shins should be parallel to the floor and your knees should be over the middle of your chest. Keep your hips on the floor throughout the exercise.
Inhale as you lower the weights in a controlled motion back to the starting position. Perform at least 15 repetitions, or try to work up to that level.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.