Not too hip on the hip flexors? Hop on the hip flexor wagon and get those gams glamorous, abs fabulous and thighs less thunderous. Exrx.net categorizes the hip flexors as muscles surrounding the hips and inner, outer, upper and front thighs and core. The purpose of the hip flexors is to give the hips flexibility and to assist in jumping, running, jogging and simply walking. The American College of Sports Medicine considers strong hip and thigh muscles critical in previenting knee injury. Stronger and irresistibly irresistible hip flexors can be obtained through resistance training with resistance bands. If you're a first timer using bands, try a longer and thinner band with sturdy handles, or use a mini band, which resembles a large rubber band. Bands are a lot like weights -- if resistance is too intense to reach a 15-count set, then drop to a thinner tube or band; if it's too easy, then switch to a thicker tube.
Hip flexion workouts, whether lying down, standing up or sitting, involve bringing the knees closer to the chest. Using the leg of a sturdy piece of furniture or gym equipment, wrap the resistance band around the object so the handles are accessible. Slip one foot into both of the handle holes and lie flat on the ground with legs straight and tension in the band. Using the ab and hip muscles, bend the right knee and pull it close to the torso and back down. Complete three sets of 20 on each leg.
Here's the inside scoop for an effective inner-thigh exercise. Squeezing those inner thighs together is called adduction in the exercise world. The best band for this exercise is the mini band. Find a sturdy object and wrap the mini band around it. Secure the other end of the band around the right ankle and stand with the left leg straight, making sure there is enough resistance in the band. With hands on your hips, lift the right foot up and cross it in front of the left leg without bending the knee. Move slowly using a one, two count, and back to the start position. Complete three sets of 20 on each leg.
Outer thighs are worked using hip abduction exercises. Stand with your feet together in the middle of the resistance band with a tight grip on the handles. Pull the bands up as if in a halfway biceps curl and step to the right far enough to feel a stretch in the band and a burn in the right thigh. Try 20 steps to the left then to the right, continuing until three sets of 20 are completed on each leg. The same can be done using a mini band wrapped around each leg just below the knees.
This exercise gets the abs, hips and thighs involved. Place the mini resistance band around both legs just above the knees. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Make sure the lower back is pressed firmly against the floor. With hands behind your head, chin up and elbows out to the sides, lift the torso and knees up at the same time to complete a crunch. Before moving back to the start position, push your legs out to the side at the top of the crunch until the band is taut and resistance is felt in the outer thighs. Complete five hip abductions before lying back on the floor in the start position. Start off with 25 crunches -- and don't forget the five abductions -- until you are able to complete more.
Pre- and Post-Workout
Don't forget to warm up prior to any workout. Start with five to 10 minutes of cardio to get the heart pumping and the blood moving. Stretch out the hip flexors with a few stretches that you hold for at least 10 seconds. In a plank position bring the right leg forward just under the chest and bend the knee at a 90-degree angle, keeping the left leg straight. Switch legs. Another stretch involves the inner thighs. Standing straight, spread your legs as far as you can, lean to the right and bend the right leg, making sure the left leg is straight and stretched. Stretch the other leg. Complete the stretches at the end of the workout as well.
Melissa Hannah has a Master of Science in kinesiology and Bachelor of Science in nutrition. The nutrition degree gave her the opportunity to help individuals learn how to eat healthy while the kinesiology degree helped tie in the exercise component. Hannah wrote health-related newsletters and lesson plans for a wellness company, and designed a nutrition resource website for a university wellness program.