"The body has the capacity to compensate for weak hip flexors, but the strategies to do that can lead to muscle imbalances and injury," says Gregory Holtzman, P.T., D.P.T., associate professor of physical therapy at Washington University and director of the university's Running Clinic, who recommends doing the following exercises three or four days a week.
Plus: Perform this workout with perfect form by watching our video demo.
Single-Leg Stance1 of 6
*Engages the hip flexors using an isometric hold while also strengthening the standing leg's glutes, increasing stability and balance.
To Do: While standing on your right leg, lift your left knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold for 10 seconds. Do three sets of 10 reps on each side.
Seated Hip Flexion2 of 6
* Engages the hip flexors past a 90-degree angle to strengthen the muscles throughout their range of motion.
To Do: Sit with good posture. Raise your right knee up toward your chest, not letting your thigh roll in or out. Pause, then slowly lower your knee to start. Do three sets of 10 reps on each side.
High Knees3 of 6
* Builds muscular endurance in the hip flexors to maintain proper form on long runs.
To Do: While standing on your left leg, raise your right knee as high as you can, then repeat with your left leg after you return your right foot to the floor. Quickly continue alternating legs for 30 to 60 seconds. Do three sets.
Standing Knee Drive4 of 6
* Builds power in the hip flexors and hamstrings.
To Do: Loop a resistance band around a sturdy object. Stand facing away from that object with the band around your right ankle. Drive your right knee up until it's parallel to the floor. Slowly lower your knee back down. Do three sets of 10 reps on each side. http://www.runnersworld.com/stretching/stretching- 20?cm_mmc=Active-_-Flex%20Benefits-_-Slideshow-_-Stretching%202Po int0
Standing Hip Flexion5 of 6
* Isolates the hip flexors, while also improving balance and muscle control
To Do: Maintain the same position as in the standing Knee Drive. This time, keeping your right leg straight, slowly flex your hip forward, pause for a second, then return to start. Do three sets of 10 reps on each side.