8 Strengthening Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors (2023)

As we age, our bodies go through many changes. We may not be as flexible as we once were, and our muscles may not be as strong, leading to increased fall risk and injury potential, not to mention bone breakage. This is why hip flexor exercises for seniors and older adults are so important.

Hip flexor strain is one of the most common sports injuries, but you don’t have to be an athlete to deal with it. Seniors and people who spend a lot of time sitting down may also deal with it – if they allow their hips to become too tight.

8 Strengthening Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors (1)

Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors hide

1 Clam Exercise

2 Hip Marches

3 Hip Flexor Stretch Edge of the Table

4 Hip Extensions

(Video) Hip Strengthening Exercises for Seniors

5 Standing Hip Abductors

7 Pigeon Pose

8 Mini Squats

Importance of Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors

The hip flexors are a muscle group that helps to lift your legs and bend your hips. These muscles can become weak and tight, which can lead to pain in the hips, knees, and lower back.

8 Strengthening Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors (2)

Regular physical therapy targeted at the hip flexors helps stretch and strengthen the muscles, which can improve your mobility and reduce hip or back pain.

Ultimately, it becomes easier to perform all your daily activities since the hip joint is responsible for your range of motion and keeping your body stable while walking, using stairs, and standing.

Strong hip flexors are also important for maintaining good posture and core stability and help reverse the effects of sitting.

Before you strengthen your hip flexor muscles, it’s best to stretch them to ensure they’re relaxed.

Great Hip Flexor Stretches and Exercises for Seniors

If you want to make sure you’re targeting the hips in your exercise regimen, try these excellent hip exercises. If you’re experiencing difficulty in balance, perform exercises in a seated position, or have a chair with feet resting nearby for support.

Clam Exercise

8 Strengthening Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors (3)
  1. Lie on your side and bend your legs at the knee. Keep your hips and shoulders in line.
  2. Place your hand on your lower hip to help keep your pelvis stable.
  3. Keep your feet together, and slowly raise your top knee as high as possible while keeping your hips level.
  4. Maintain the stretch for at least 3 seconds. Slowly lower your leg back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat 10-15 times, then switch sides.

Hip Marches

8 Strengthening Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors (4)
  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Lift a knee up as high as you can safely do so, making sure to keep your thigh parallel to the ground.
  3. Hold for a few seconds. Lower your leg back down.
  4. Repeat with the other leg.
  5. Do 10-15 repetitions on each side.

You can also perform this exercise sitting if you’re worried about balance.

(Video) How to Strengthen the Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors

Hip Flexor Stretch Edge of the Table

8 Strengthening Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors (5)
  1. Lie flat on your back on the edge of a table or other flat surface. Let your knees and legs hang off the edge of the table.
  2. Grab one of your legs at the knee and pull it toward your upper body while letting the other leg hang naturally until you feel a deep stretch in your leg and hip muscles.
  3. Maintain your position for roughly 15 to 30 seconds then release. Repeat up to four times.
  4. Switch sides.

Note: To make the exercise more challenging, try raising both legs at the same time or adding a resistance band as you raise both legs.

Hip Extensions

The hip extension exercise helps to open your hip joint so you get a bigger angle between your pelvis and thigh. Hip extensions use your gluteal muscles, hamstrings, and adductor magnus posterior head.

8 Strengthening Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors (6)
  1. Lie on your back on the ground. Bend your knees, keeping your feet flat.
  2. Put your hands on the ground next to you.
  3. Extend your right leg straight up towards the ceiling. Keep your left knee bent with your left foot flat on the ground.
  4. Slowly lower your right leg back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times before switching to the opposite side.

Standing Hip Abductors

This exercise not only helps your hips but can improve your core strength and make it easier to walk.

8 Strengthening Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors (7)
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips.
  2. Keep your pelvis level and slowly lift your left leg out to the side.
  3. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat with the right side.

To modify this hip abduction exercise: Hold on to a chair or the wall, and lift your leg up behind you.

Half Bridges

8 Strengthening Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors (8)
  1. Lie on your back. Bend both knees. Keep your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Put your hands on the ground beside you for support.
  3. Slowly raise your hips off the ground, contracting your core muscles, glutes, and hamstrings as you do so. Keep your shoulders on the ground.
  4. Hold this position for a second before slowly lowering your hips back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 10-15 reps.

Note: To make the exercise more challenging, try adding a resistance band around your thighs.

Pigeon Pose

This is a yoga pose that stretches your hip flexors and lower back. If you have a knee injury, existing hip issues, or lower back pain, you may want this pose unless otherwise recommended by your doctor or physical therapist.

8 Strengthening Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors (9)
  1. From a tabletop position, bring your right knee forward to rest just behind your right wrist, extending your left leg back.
  2. Lower your hips toward the floor, keeping your front shin perpendicular to the exercise mat.

Note: If you’re feeling it in your back hip muscles, place a block underneath your right hip.

Mini Squats

Mini Squats are a great place to start if a full squat is a challenging exercise. As you get used to the mini, you can progress to a full squat.

8 Strengthening Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors (10)
  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Keeping your upper body and back straight, lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground as if you were going into a seated position. Stop when your knees are at a 45-degree angle. Engage your core and glute muscles.
  3. Hold the position for a moment, then raise yourself back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times.

Note: For an added challenge, try holding some lightweight in your hands while you perform the mini squats. If you deal with poor balance, you can use a sturdy chair with feet to help keep yourself steady.

How do seniors release tight hips?

(Video) Standing Hip Exercises For Seniors | Beginner Hip Exercises | More Life Health

Hip stretches are an effective way to release tight hips. Stretches that target the hip flexors, gluteus muscles, and abdominal muscles are also crucial to alleviating hip pain. Use the stretches above to help you get started. Don’t be afraid to modify them to suit your ability. Pushing too hard could lead to injury and exacerbate your pain.

What is the best exercise to strengthen hip flexors?

A variety of exercises help to strengthen your muscles and improve hip flexibility. The best exercises are adapted to your ability, meaning, if you struggle with balance, you perform seated work or use a chair to keep yourself steady. Start with stretches to lengthen muscles before strengthening.

How do you strengthen weak hip flexors?

After performing various types of stretching to lengthen the hip muscles, you can work on making them stronger. The exercises we’ve included here are enough to get you started with a regular routine.

What are the symptoms of tight hip flexors?

Five common signs of tight hip flexors include:
Leg misalignment when standing
One foot rotates out more than the other
Tenderness when pressing the hip flexors
Pinching in the hip joint when bringing your knees to your chest
Popping or clicking in the hips when moving your legs

If you suspect your hip flexors are tight, stretch them daily and perform hip mobility exercises to strengthen them. If you’re experiencing hip pain and you’re having trouble managing it on your own with rest and pain relievers, it’s time to see a doctor.

(Video) Seated Hip Exercises For Seniors | More Life Health

How can seniors strengthen their hips?

Seniors can strengthen their hips and other muscles with a series of stretches and exercises. A strength training program for women over 50 is a great place to start to keep your hips strong.

How Often Should You Exercise Your Hips?

Ideally, you’ll perform hip stretches for seniors at least once a day. If you’re feeling especially tight or spend a lot of time sitting, stretch your hips two to three times a day, and hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. In addition to hip strengthening exercises, a senior exercise program should also include a variety of other moves to enhance core strength and balance.

This will ensure you maintain hip strength as you age, allowing you to live an active lifestyle for as long as possible.

(Video) Hip Flexor Stretches for Senior Citizens


How do seniors loosen tight hips? ›

Lie on your belly on the floor or in your bed. Bring both hands beneath your shoulders and gently press upwards. Press up until you feel a stretch in your hips. Stay here and breathe for at least 10 seconds.

Does walking strengthen hip flexors? ›

' Walking is good for the hip flexors, but to run far more efficiently (and, crucially, without pain), strategically opening and also strengthening your hip flexors needs to be part of your running routine.

What are the 8 movements of the hip? ›

The hip joint is a multiaxial joint and permits a wide range of motion; flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, external rotation, internal rotation and circumduction.

What is the best exercise for painful hips? ›

The best types of exercise when you have hip or knee pain
  • An elliptical trainer. ...
  • A stationary bike. ...
  • A rowing machine. ...
  • Pool exercises. ...
  • Short brisk walks. ...
  • Tai chi.
1 Aug 2021

How long does it take to build strong hip flexors? ›

Developing greater strength and endurance of the hip stability muscles tends to occur between three and six weeks.

Is stair climbing good for hip flexors? ›

Stair climbing strengthens and tones the muscles that control the movement of your hips. These include the glutes, abductors, adductors and hip flexors.

What is the biggest cause of hip tightness for most people? ›

The biggest cause of tightness is what we do all day long: sitting for too long is a major culprit in tightening the hip flexors.

How do you stretch your hip flexors while sitting? ›

Exercise of the Month: Seated Hip Flexor Stretch
  1. While seated, cross the right ankle over the left knee, and sit up straight and tall.
  2. Gently lean forward, keeping the back straight and reaching out with the torso until you feel a stretch in the right glute and hip.
  3. Press down to deepen the stretch.
1 Jul 2018

What aggravates hip flexor? ›

Football, hockey, running, and martial arts are more likely to create this type of injury. However, there are also aggravating factors that can lead to hip flexor strain include, such as: Weak muscles surrounding the hip flexors. Not warming up/ poorly conditioned muscles.

Does sitting make hip flexors weak? ›

Sitting for prolonged periods could cause the hip flexors to become tight, as well as weak. Symptoms that come with tight hip flexors include lower back pain and hip pain.

Can sitting too much cause hip flexor pain? ›

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to tight hip flexors and hip flexor pain. That's because excessive sitting causes the muscles to relax and deactivate. They become progressively weaker and shorter, sometimes causing a painful condition called adaptive shortening.

Do leg raises strengthen hip flexors? ›

One of the easiest and most gentle hip flexor exercises you can do is the straight leg raise. This move targets the hip flexors as well as the core muscles. It's often included in a rehab program after a hip or pelvis injury, and it's also an excellent exercise to add to a lower-body routine.

What are the symptoms of tight hip flexors? ›

What begins as tight hip flexors can eventually give way to:
  • A sharp or sudden pain in the hip, pelvis or groin area.
  • Cramping, tender or sore muscles along the upper leg.
  • Swelling or bruising on the hips or thigh.
  • Pain in an adjacent muscle group, like your glutes or core.
  • Decreased strength along the groin area.
11 Aug 2021

How do you massage hip flexors? ›

Simply use your fingertips to apply pressure against sore muscle and hold. The pressure should be strong enough for you to feel but not so much that it causes you to tense up. Hold for 60 or more seconds, the longer the better. You should notice a gradual decrease in tension and increased relaxation with time.

What are the 7 functional movements? ›

There are seven basic movements the human body can perform and all other exercises are merely variations of these seven: Pull, Push, Squat, Lunge, Hinge, Rotation and Gait. When performing all of these movements, you will be able to stimulate all of the major muscle groups in your body.

What are the 9 movements of the hip? ›

6. The movements that take place at the hip joint are: flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, lateral (external) rotation and medial (internal) rotation.

What are 4 rehab exercises that you could do for the hip? ›

5 Great Exercises to Strengthen Your Hips
  • Knee lifts. Knee lifts stretch your hip flexors, thigh muscles, and gluteal muscles. ...
  • Leg raises. Leg raises to build strength in your hip muscles. ...
  • Butterfly pose. ...
  • Seated marching. ...
  • Hip circles.

What is the best exercise for hip and lower back pain? ›

Lie on your back with knees bent and just your heels on the floor. Push your heels into the floor, squeeze your buttocks, and lift your hips off the floor until shoulders, hips, and knees are in a straight line. Hold about 6 seconds, and then slowly lower hips to the floor and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

What are 3 simple ways to increase your hip mobility? ›

8 Effective Hip Mobility Exercises
  1. Lying Hip Rotations. This easy warmup exercise will get you into the rhythm of your hip exercise routine. ...
  2. Piriformis Stretch. ...
  3. Butterfly Stretch. ...
  4. Frog Stretch. ...
  5. Kneeling Lunge. ...
  6. Squatting Internal Rotations. ...
  7. The Cossack Squat. ...
  8. 90/90 Stretch.
8 Jul 2020

What vitamins help with hip pain? ›

Supplements and Medications To Help Joint Pain
  • Vitamin D. The number one supplement I recommend for joint health and overall musculoskeletal health is vitamin D3. ...
  • Estrogen. Estrogen is important for musculoskeletal health, including joint health. ...
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate. ...
  • MSM. ...
  • Turmeric. ...
  • Omega 3. ...
  • Ginger. ...
  • SAMe.
27 Sept 2018

What is the best exercise for arthritis in the hips? ›

Walking: Bone and joint specialists suggest that walking is one of the best forms of exercise for hip arthritis. Walking boosts blood flow to your cartilage, giving it the nutrients necessary to provide cushion to the ends of your joints.

Where is hip flexor pain felt? ›

You will feel a hip flexor strain in the front area where your thigh meets your hip. Depending on how bad the strain is, you may notice: Mild pain and pulling in the front of the hip. Cramping and sharp pain.

How many times a week should I train hip flexors? ›

Some examples of exercises that help stretch hip flexors. Both should cause you to feel the stretch along the front of your upper thigh. Stretches should be held for about 30 seconds and repeated two to three times each side. They can be done daily or at least three times weekly to gradually improve flexibility.

Should you stretch hip flexors everyday? ›

Your hips bear the weight of your body all day — not just when you're sitting down, but also when you're walking, running and jumping. Making time to stretch daily can help improve your mobility and prevent pain or injury.

How should I sit to avoid tight hip flexors? ›

Seated Hip Flexor Stretch
  1. Begin sitting upright in a chair.
  2. Move to the side of the chair, extending your leg back backward.
  3. Hold onto the chair or another sturdy object for balance.
  4. Gently rock your pelvis forward to feel a stretch in the front of your hip.
21 Oct 2019

Should I stretch my hip flexor if it hurts? ›

Stretching the hip flexors when they feel tight can help improve your mobility. Keeping these muscles loose and flexible can also help you avoid issues with other muscle groups, like the quadriceps or low back.

Does cycling train hip flexors? ›

The cycling action involves repeated hip flexion where the hip is never fully flexed or extended, which often leads to the hip flexors becoming tight. In addition to cycling, prolonged periods of sitting (driving, office jobs for example) can also lead to tight hip flexors.

Do squats strengthen your hip flexors? ›

Strengthen. The hip flexors are strengthened when they are bent or creased, causing a contraction. Both lunges and squats work into the hip flexor muscles, such as the psoas, by shortening the muscle and shortening the hip flexor itself.

Should I keep walking with hip pain? ›

Walking is good for hip pain and you should try to walk as much as you can each day. You'll find that in time and with consistency, your hip pain will diminish, and in a best case scenario, it will disappear altogether.

How long does it take to release tight hip flexors? ›

How long does it take to release tight hip flexors? To release the hip flexors, a period between 30-90 seconds of applying firm, direct pressure to the muscles is recommended to experience a release, or a reduction in tightness felt within the hip flexors.

What causes weak hip flexors? ›

Underuse of the muscles or sitting down for extended periods can cause weak hip flexors. Conditions such as and osteoarthritis can also cause weakness in this muscle group.

Do massage therapists massage hip flexors? ›

Three Techniques of massage that can help your hip flexors:

Trying certain specific techniques that your massage therapist will use to help relieve hip pain: Myofascial Release Massage: This technique provides stability for the entire body through the connection of the muscle on the truck into a functional system.

Can you massage tight hip flexors? ›

Give Them A Massage

Muscle tightness can be addressed in many ways. As mentioned above - Stretching on it's own is not always the right tool for the job. Massage is yet another tool you should have under your belt that can be used to help calm those tight hip flexors.

What is the fastest way to relieve hip flexor pain? ›

Applying ice or heat to the affected area of the hip or groin. This can be done with ice cubes or frozen vegetables (in plastic bags) wrapped in a towel, or a hot water bottle. Compressing the affected hip with an elastic bandage to reduce any swelling. The elastic bandage can be wrapped around the hip and pelvis.

How do you tell if your hip flexors are weak? ›

Lie down flat on the back, bringing one leg to the chest, using the hands. If it is difficult to keep the leg up close to the chest after letting go of it, a weak hip flexor may be the culprit.

How can I keep my hips healthy as I age? ›

Tips on How to Keep Hips Healthy
  1. Exercise. Although it's possible to wear your joints out prematurely with excessive movements, moderate exercise is the best way to keep your hips healthy. ...
  2. Practice Weight Training. You need to keep the muscles supporting your joints as strong as possible. ...
  3. Eat Healthy. ...
  4. Quit Smoking.

How can I strengthen my hip degeneration? ›

  1. Lie on your side, with your affected hip on top. Keep your feet and knees together and your knees bent.
  2. Raise your top knee, but keep your feet together. ...
  3. Hold for 6 seconds.
  4. Slowly lower your knee back down. ...
  5. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  6. Switch legs and repeat steps 1 through 5, even if only one hip is sore.

How can seniors strengthen glutes and hips? ›

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat.
  2. Squeeze your glute muscles to lift your hips up. Keep your back flat and do not arch your back.
  3. Hold for three seconds at the top, then lower your hips back down.
  4. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
  5. Rest, then repeat for a total of three sets of 10 repetitions.
18 Feb 2021

What vitamins are good for hips? ›

Proper nutrition including supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, Vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids give your body the building blocks it needs to maintain healthy hips.

How do you lubricate your hip joint? ›

Consuming healthy fats can increase joint health and lubrication. Foods high in healthy fats include salmon, trout, mackerel, avocados, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds. The omega-3 fatty acids in these foods will assist in joint lubrication.

What foods goes to your hips? ›

Unfortunately, Harvard Health states that there are no foods that go straight to your hips and bum. According to a May 2012 study in the Biology of Sex Differences, the way your body stores fat is based on other factors, such as sex hormones, genetics and epigenetics.

What is the best exercise for osteoporosis of the hip? ›

Examples include walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics, elliptical training machines, stair climbing and gardening. These types of exercise work directly on the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine to slow mineral loss.

How can I regrow my hip cartilage? ›

Types of Hip Cartilage Repair Surgery
  1. Microfracture.
  2. Autologous matrix-enhanced chondrocyte transplantation (AMECT) (Read research by our providers on this treatment type.)
  3. Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI)
  4. Osteochondral grafting. Osteochondral autograft transplant. Osteochondral allograft transplant.

What is the best exercise for severe osteoarthritis of the hip? ›

Walking: Bone and joint specialists suggest that walking is one of the best forms of exercise for hip arthritis. Walking boosts blood flow to your cartilage, giving it the nutrients necessary to provide cushion to the ends of your joints.

How can elderly improve weak legs? ›

12 Leg Strengthening Exercises for Seniors
  1. Calf Raises. Calf raises are one of the best leg strengthening exercises for seniors. ...
  2. Lunges. Lunges are a great lower body exercise for seniors. ...
  3. Half Squats. ...
  4. Knee Extensions. ...
  5. Ankle Circles. ...
  6. Step Up. ...
  7. Walking Heel to Toe. ...
  8. Single-Leg Stance.

Which is the best form of exercise for an elderly with arthritis? ›

Roth recommends low-impact exercise for arthritis sufferers. He cites swimming, water aerobics, stationary cycling and elliptical machines as great forms of cardiovascular training that are easy on the joints. Dr. Soloway also suggests practicing Tai Chi to help a senior improve their balance and flexibility.


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