Exercising your hip flexors -- the muscles of your upper thigh region -- helps improve the overall shape of your thighs. If you've done situps, you may have felt a burn in your lower abs and upper thigh region. The burn you felt was actually in your hip flexor muscles, which are heavily recruited during situps. You can also do other exercises to develop these muscles and take your physique to the next level.
Lie face-up on the ground with your knees bent and feet down on the floor.
Cross your arms in front of your chest. You can also keep them by your sides, or position your hands by the sides of your head.
Raise your torso upward until your chest is close to your knees. Do this by bending your spine, thus contracting your abs, and bending your hips, thus contracting your hip flexors.
Lower your torso until your back is in contact with the ground. Do this by extending your spine and extending your hips.
Lying Leg Raise
Lie face-up on the ground with your legs straight and your arms by your sides on the ground.
Keep your feet close together or slightly apart, and keep your legs as straight as possible throughout the range of motion.
Bring your legs upward until they are perpendicular to the ground.
Bring your legs down to the ground by extending your hips.
Hanging Bent-Leg Raise
Hang from a pullup bar with your hands grasping the bar in an overhanded grip and with your legs straight.
Keep your feet together or a bit apart from one another.
Raise your knees toward your abdomen region by bending your hips and knees.
Return to the beginning position with your legs straight by extending your hips and knees.
- Do two to three exercises per hip flexor workout. Perform three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions per exercise. In between each exercise, rest for two minutes. You should train your hip flexors following thigh workouts. Always train these muscles last in your workouts, as you should focus on the larger thigh muscles first, such as the quadriceps and hamstrings. This is because you have the most energy in the beginning of your training sessions.
- If you have spinal problems, do situps very carefully and avoid using added resistance during the motion. This is to avoid excessive pressure on your spine, which is placed in a rounded position during the situp.
Richard Choueiri is a fitness and nutrition expert and the author of "The Human Statue Workout." He began writing professionally in 2007 and his work has been featured in Bodybuilding.com and "Physique Magazine." Choueiri studied exercise science and nutritional science at Rutgers University. He holds an American College of Sports Medicine CPT, and a National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association CMMACC.