For a full range of motion, hip flexion exercises are essential. The main muscle in this movement is the Iliopsoas, which works to bring the thigh up towards the abdomen.
The Iliopsoas actually consists of two muscles, the Iliacus and the Psoas Major, and is also active when the abdomen is being moved towards the thighs, for example when you do crunches.
The Hip Flexion exercise is an easy one to perform, and will strengthen both the thigh and hip muscles. This is important for a variety of movements including walking, squatting, even simply having good balance.
- Start by standing up straight, holding on to a table or chair for balance.
- Slowly bend and raise one knee toward chest, keeping your waist and hips still.
- Hold the position for 5 seconds.
- Slowly lower your leg to the floor.
- Rest and repeat with the other leg.
- Continue alternating legs until you have done 8 to 15 repetitions with each leg.
There are various progressions of this exercise if you are finding it too easy. The obvious one is to add some ankle weights, but you might also consider these progressions:
- Hold the table or chair with one hand
- Hold with one fingertip
- Perform with no hands
- Perform the exercise with your eyes closed