top of page

Unlocking Athletic Potential: The Imperative of Strengthening Hip Flexors in Youth Athletes

As youth athletics continue to gain prominence, emphasis on proper training and injury prevention takes center stage. One of the critical, yet often overlooked components of a young athlete's physical development is the strengthening of the hip flexors. The hip flexors, a group of muscles that enable the upward movement of the knee toward the torso and assist in hip flexion, are pivotal for optimal performance across various sports disciplines.

The Hidden Power of the Hip Flexors

Hip flexors are instrumental in executing numerous sports-related movements, such as running, jumping, and changing direction swiftly. By cultivating strong hip flexors, youth athletes can unlock several benefits, such as:

  1. Improved Performance: Strong hip flexors enhance speed, agility, and explosive power, essential in virtually every sport.

  2. Injury Prevention: Strengthening these muscles can mitigate the risk of hip, knee, and lower back injuries by ensuring stability and proper alignment during physical activities.

  3. Enhanced Balance and Stability: A robust hip flexor group contributes significantly to an athlete's balance and stability, which is paramount for executing controlled movements in sports.

  4. Improved Posture: Robust hip flexors help maintain a neutral pelvic position, ensuring optimal posture and spinal health.

Biomechanical Compensations Due to Weak Hip Flexors

When the hip flexors are weak, the body intuitively engages in biomechanical compensations, altering the movement patterns to accommodate the lack of strength and stability in the hip region. Some noticeable compensations include:

  • Anterior Pelvic Tilt: Weak hip flexors may lead to an anterior pelvic tilt, where the pelvis rotates forward, potentially causing lower back pain and hamstring strains.

  • Decreased Stride Length: In sports involving running, weakened hip flexors might shorten the stride length, diminishing speed and efficiency.

  • Compromised Knee Stability: Weak hip flexors can result in increased medial (inward) rotation of the femur, which places additional stress on the knee joint and could lead to conditions like patellofemoral pain syndrome.

  • Inhibited Glute Activation: Suboptimal hip flexor functionality may hinder the proper activation of the glute muscles, diminishing power in lower-body movements like jumps and sprints.

Empowering Athletes with Effective Hip Flexor Exercises:

Supine Psoas March w Mini-Band:

  • Lie on the back with hips and knees at a 90-degree angle and a band wrapped around the feet.

  • Keeping the core tight, alternately extend each leg, resisting the band’s pull.

  • Ensure the lower back remains in contact with the ground.

2. Seated Straight Leg Raise

  • Sit upright.

  • Keeping the core tight, alternately extend raise each leg and slowly raise over Kettlebell

  • Option - to keep hands on the ground - behind you = easier, in front of you harder

3. Standing Single Leg March w Mini Band

  • Stand tall. Avoid bending alternate knee.

  • Slowly lift leg to hip height

  • Option - place hand on a wall for balance

4. Standing Single Leg Raise with Kettlebell

  • Stand tall. Avoid bending alternate knee.

  • Slowly lift leg to hip height

  • Option - place hand on a wall for balance

bottom of page