8 Innovative Exercises For Stronger Hip Flexors and Adductors: A Collaboration with Meghan Callaway

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Recently the indelible, delightful, and impressive Meghan Callaway and I collaborated on a series where we each shared four innovative exercises for both the hip flexors and adductors.

As far as duos go, we rank somewhere in between peanut butter & jelly and Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga.

Check em out.

You Won’t Believe Your Eyes

#1 Isometric Copenhagen Side Plank + Band Resisted Psoas Marches ⁣

⁣This exercise strengthens the adductors and hip flexors, improves lumbo-pelvic stability, and shoulder and scapular stability.⁣

 

Meghan’s Coaching Tips:

  • Place a resistance band around your feet.⁣
  • ⁣Fully extend your upper leg, and place your ankle and foot of this side on an elevated surface. ⁣
  • ⁣IMPORTANT: If this position bothers your knee/any other part of your body, opt for the bent leg variation (your knee should be bent to 90 degrees, and your knee, lower leg and foot should be on the surface). If you do this, the band will need to be placed above your knees. ⁣
  • ⁣Get into a side plank position from your forearm, and set your body so it is in a straight line from your head to foot.⁣⁣ Maintain this position for the duration of the exercise. ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣
  • ⁣Your shoulder should be above your elbow.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣
  • ⁣Now use your adductors and press your body away from the surface and towards the ceiling. ⁣Do this for the duration of the exercise.
  • ⁣Perform psoas marches on your other side. ⁣
  • ⁣Pay attention to your supporting arm. Push away from the floor and protract your shoulder blade (move it away from the spine and around the ribcage).⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣
  • ⁣Do not allow your lower back to hyperextend, round, or flex laterally, ribcage to flare, torso, spine or hips to rotate, or hips to pike or collapse. ⁣⁣⁣
  • ⁣Aside from your moving leg, the rest of your body should remain in a fixed position. ⁣
  • ⁣Maintain a 360 degree brace.⁣ In terms of breathing, do what works best for you. ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
  • ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣Do 8-12 marches per side

#2 Copenhagen Side Plank Tempos

This exercise strengthens the adductors, improves lumbo-pelvic stability, and shoulder and scapular stability.⁣

 

Tony’s Coaching Tips:

  • Fully extend your upper leg, and place your ankle and foot of this side on an elevated surface.
  • IMPORTANT: If this position bothers your knee or any other part of your body, opt for the bent leg variation (your knee should be bent to 90 degrees, and your knee, lower leg and foot should be on the surface). If you do this, the band will need to be placed above your knees versus around your feet.
  • Assume a side plank position making sure your elbow is directly below your shoulder. From there push away from the floor so that you’re not “hanging out” on your upper traps (and to better support your shoulder blades).
  • Think about pressing your top foot (the one on the elevated surface) INTO said surface and think about PULLING your lower leg up from the floor via the top leg. Your body should remain in a straight line throughout – no deviating via your lower back or slouching forward with the shoulders and upper back.
  • The key here is the tempo.
  • THREE second count up and THREE second count down with EVERY rep.
  • This is an exercise that can easily be butchered and adding in a strict tempo helps to increase the challenge and to ensure the muscles we want to engage (adductors) actually do the work.

#3 Towel Adductor Slides aka “Thighmaster”⁣ ⁣

This exercise strengthens the adductors and improves hip controlled mobility.

 

Meghan’s Coaching Tips:

  • Kneel on two towels (you may place a pillow on each towel if this is more comfortable). Your head, torso and hips should be in a stacked position.⁣ ⁣
  • Now slowly slide your knees apart, and to a range where you are able to maintain proper form (and where it feels comfortable). ⁣ ⁣
  • Once you hit your end range, really squeeze your inner thighs (adductors), and return your legs to the starting position.⁣ ⁣
  • Do not allow your lower back to hyperextend, round, or flex laterally, ribcage to flare, torso, spine or hips to rotate, or weight to shift from knee to knee.⁣ ⁣
  • Maintain a 360 degree brace.
  • ⁣⁣In terms of breathing, do what works and feels best for you.

#4 Lateral Lunges With Plate Slides

This exercise strengthens the adductors – bilaterally (<– Cue emphatic & dramatic music here).

 

Tony’s Coaching Tips:

  • A quick shout out to friend and colleague @vernongriffith4 for this brilliant idea.
  • Place a light plate on the inside of your LEFT foot, grab a kettlebell or dumbbell in your left hand and step laterally to right making sure to sit BACK into your RIGHT hip. Return to the standing position by “pulling” or gliding the plate with your left foot.
  • Repeat for 5-8 repetitions per direction.

#5 Prone Band Resisted Psoas Marches With Feet Elevated

This exercise strengthens the hip flexors, improves lumbo-pelvic stability, and shoulder and scapular stability.⁣⁣⁣

 

Meghan’s Coaching Tips:

  • Place a resistance band around your feet.⁣⁣⁣⁣
  • ⁣⁣⁣⁣Get into a plank position from your hands and feet, and elevate your feet on a wall or other surface. Your body should be roughly parallel to the floor. ⁣⁣⁣⁣
  • ⁣⁣⁣⁣Place your hands so they are well ahead of your shoulders.
  • ⁣⁣While remaining in the plank position, lift one foot off the wall and bring your knee in towards your torso. Return your leg and foot to the starting position with control, and repeat using the other side. ⁣⁣⁣⁣
  • ⁣⁣⁣⁣For the duration of the exercise, press your body away from the floor and protract your shoulder blades. ⁣⁣⁣⁣Also, press your body backwards against the wall. Otherwise your feet will likely slide down the surface.
  • For the duration, engage your glute on the side(s) that is in contact with the surface.
  • ⁣⁣Do not allow your lower back to hyperextend, round, or flex laterally, ribcage to flare, torso, spine or hips to rotate, or hips to pike or collapse. ⁣⁣
  • ⁣⁣Maintain a 360 degree brace. ⁣⁣In terms of breathing, do what works and feels best for you.
  • Do 3 sets of 6-10 marches per side.

#6 Core Engaged Ludicrous Deadbug

This exercise strengthens many things: your hip flexors, abdominals, glutes, lumbo-pelvic stability, your soul, everything.

 

Tony’s Coaching Tips:

  • Loop a band around an immoveable object: pole, squat rack, etc. Place a small mini-band around both feet and situate yourself so that your shoulders are on a bench and your heels are on another bench/box/chair a few feet away with the looped band over your head.
  • Next, perform a glute bridge, grab the band above your heads with both hands, and pull taught with arms straight until you have max (or ludicrous tension) in your abdominals.
  • While maintaining the glute bridge (don’t allow your hips to deviate position), press one heel into the bench as you bring one knee towards your chest against the resistance of the band while forcefully exhaling ALL your air.
  • Do not allow the tension from the band in your hands to diminish.
  • Lowering your leg back to the bench and repeat the same process of FIVE reps, making sure to exhale ALL your air every rep.
  • NOTE: You can regress this exercise to be performed on the floor only.

#7) Straight Leg Lifts⁣ (Lateral And Medial)

⁣This exercise strengthens the hip flexors, improves hip controlled mobility, and lumbo-pelvic stability.⁣⁣ You may use any items you have at home. I’m using some Lysol spray.

 

Meghan’s Coaching Tips:

  • Sit on the floor. Your head, torso and hips should be in a stacked position. Fully extend both of your knees, and plantarflex your feet (point them away from you). ⁣
  • ⁣⁣⁣While keeping your knees fully extended, ankles in a fixed position, and feet plantarflexed, lift your legs over the objects in a lateral direction, and then back to the starting position. ⁣⁣
  • ⁣⁣⁣Do not allow your legs or feet to strike the objects, or for your legs or feet to strike the floor. ⁣⁣⁣
  • ⁣⁣⁣Do not allow your lower back to hyperextend or flex laterally, ribcage to flare, torso, spine or hips to rotate, or weight to shift from hip to hip.⁣ ⁣Some minor spinal flexion is ok. ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
  • Maintain a 360 degree brace.
  • ⁣⁣In terms of breathing, do what works and feels best for you.⁣⁣⁣

⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #8 Seated Core Engaged Hip Flexor Lift-Offs

This exercise strengthens the hip flexors and abdominals and basically “locks” you into place so you can’t cheat with your lower back.

 

Tony’s Coaching Tips:

  • To give credit where it’s due: I stole this exercise from friend and colleague @dougivsc. The hip flexors can be both simultaneously tight and weak and endless stretching is NOT the answer. It actually (may) be feeding the symptoms.
  • Grab a foam roller, a light or average band, and a tennis ball. Wrap the band around a pair of J-hooks in a squat rack so that they match the length of the foam roller from the ground.
  • Sit down underneath the band with your legs in a V-shape and your torso as upright as possible; place a tennis balls to the side of your ankle.
  • With the foam roller upright and just in front of you press it UP into the band. Oh shit, that’s a lot of tension!
  • That’s good – it’ll make it harder for you to cheat.
  • Maintain tension INTO the band with the foam roller, lift your foot off the floor and “lift off” over the tennis ball alternating over and back for 8-10 reps per direction.

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