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What in the world are hip flexors and why the heck should you worry about strengthening them? They are a group of muscles (Psoas Major, Iliacus, Tensor Fasciae Latae, to be exact) between your abdominals and quadriceps that sit on the front of your hips bones. Remember, your body is connected and works together, so it is important to keep your muscles working efficiently so your body functions efficiently. Because they connect the abs and legs, Hip Flexors are a very important muscle group for runners, so I’ve worked on strengthening and stretching them my entire life. Here I pair them with Squats, an essential movement for everyone.
Complete three circuits of the cable Glute Kickbacks, box jumps, and Kettlebell Split Lunges. Then move into squats. Try to up the weight each set, and give yourself full rest between sets. Then finish with two rounds each of the remaining circuits.
Cable Glute Kickbacks: Use either a cable ankle strap or the regular cable handle. Put the handle right in the arch of your shoe. Start bent over, with right knee bent. Balancing on your left leg, kick your right leg backwards using your butt and hamstring (back of leg) muscles. Return to knee bent position and kickback again.
Box Jumps: With box in front of you, Jump up! I tend to squat a little bit and use my arms to get up. You can do them as fast as you want or slow it down and force more power from your legs.
Kettlebell Split Lunge: With a Kettlebell in each hand and a box behind you, balance on one leg and extend the other leg backward to rest your foot on the box. Lower yourself by bending your back leg first, then the front leg. This gives you the “lunge” I am looking for. With the weights, there is an added balance and stability factor.
Squats: An ever evolving movement, there is always something you can tweak to make it better. With weighted bar on back, step feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Open from your hips to drop your butt low, while maintaining a straight back and upright posture. Not only are you using all your legs and booty, but there is a lot of core control in this movement as well.
Wide Leg Press: One the leg press machine, step feet as wide as you can. Really open up from your hips (you do NOT want your knees to turn inwards, always out). Let your legs come down as far as you can to really work your full range of motion.
Lunge Double Jumps: Lunge with one leg back and front leg bent. Jump up and switch legs. This move is just like regular lunge jumps, except you bounce the lunge once before switching again.
One Leg Curl: Lay on the prone leg curl machine, only use just one legs. This really targets the hamstrings.
Plank Jax: Start in a plank position with body in straight line and hands directly under chest. Jump legs out and in, use like you are doing jumping jacks.