4 Exercises To Help Eliminate Hip Flexor Pain (common in MMA)

four different exercises that target your hip flexors in order to decrease the pain in them, loosen them up, and stretch them out.

#1- Hip Flexor Massage

Hip Flexor Massage

The first exercise involves foam rolling. I will get Andrea to demonstrate it. You need a full-sized foam roller. Start just above your hip and roll down just above your knee and then come back up to your hip. We are focusing on the superficial hip flexor called rectus femoris. We are loosening up that muscle by doing this hip flexor massage.

Start with five repetitions, going up and down. See how it feels on one side and progress to 10 repetitions.

#2 – A Tennis Ball into the Hip Flexor

Have that tennis ball in that hip area and move up and down, side to side, and in circles. This is a great hip flexor exercise that releases the hip flexors, the rectus femoris muscle in that hip flexor area to decrease the stress, tension, and pain in the hip and in your hip flexor.

A Tennis Ball into the Hip Flexor

So we end up doing things in a specific order with the foam roller. We kind of worked on things in a superficial way. We worked on the whole muscle in order to massage that hip flexor and then with the second one, we targeted releasing that hip flexor and loosening up that hip flexor in order to help when it comes to hip flexor pain.

Perform five repetitions of this exercise on one side and then get up and see how those hip flexors feel. If better, then go through the other side. You can also progress to 10 repetitions.

#3 – Press Up

Press Up

You are lying on your stomach. Hands are underneath your shoulders. And then you are going to push up and arch through the back. Here, you are working on the mobility in your back but then you are also stretching the front of those hip flexors, and then coming back down. Hold this position for two or three seconds or even five seconds and see how it feels. Go through two repetitions then get up. See if that area is loosened up. See if you are able to squat better and then progress the length that you hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds.

And as you saw with Andrea, when you are doing that press up movement, you want to make sure that your hips are coming off the mat so you end up having a good hip flexor stretch. With this exercise, again, we are targeting the rectus femoris muscle.

#4 – 90-90 Hip Flexor Stretch

The front foot is at 90, ankle, knee, and hip and same as the back one where your hip, knee, and ankle are at 90 degrees. Tighten up that abdominal area, bring one arm straight up overhead, and then bring the hips forward. Now with this exercise, we are specifically targeting more of the deeper hip flexor muscle called iliacus.

90-90 Hip Flexor Stretch

There is a second one that we can do in this position that targets the psoas. Same thing, 90-90, arm overhead, hips forward, and then we can add a little bit of a side bend. What you will feel is that stretch moving deeper into that spine area.

90-90 Hip Flexor Stretch with Side Bend

You are looking for a light stretch. You are not trying to rip apart the muscle.

Go with two repetitions on each side holding for about 20 seconds.

There you go. Those are the four exercises to do in order to help you with hip flexor pain, hip flexor tightness, and loosen things up. Make sure to do them in the order that I listed them off and in the reps and sets that I recommended. You can do these exercises every day. You just need to have that balance on how many sets and reps you do. Like I said, with the foam rolling one, you want to look at 5 to 10 repetitions. You are not looking at doing 50 repetitions.

About the Author Rick Kaselj

I create exercise programs that help people heal injuries and eliminate pain, so they can go back to living a full, active, healthy life. I’ve always been a fitness and exercise enthusiast, so starting in 1994, I decided to make this my career also. I started as a personal trainer, exercise therapist and kinesiologist, but quickly discovered that many of the traditional exercise and treatment programs weren’t producing the results I wanted for my clients… …so I took it upon myself to get the right knowledge, scour the medical research, and do hands-on testing, so I could ACTUALLY help my clients get better. With the advent of the Internet, I saw a terrific opportunity to offer and deliver my programs to many more people, so they too could finally get relief from pain, heal their injuries, and get back to the lives they enjoy. I USE RESEARCH, STUDY, AND HANDS-ON TESTING TO FIND WHAT REALLY WORKS TO HEAL INJURIES AND ELIMINATE PAIN. I’m all about finding what works… and unfortunately, a lot of the advice out there, even from trained professionals and reputable sources… does not work! Some of the most effective methods I’ve discovered for eliminating pain and healing injuries are counterintuitive… and they required diligent research, testing, and creativity to discover. People get the best results when they follow a program that’s been properly designed. The best programs include only the exercises that are necessary, instructions for how to perform them properly, the proper order in which to perform them, and instructions for what the right amount of rest is, and when to take it. Not doing all the steps, or performing them in the wrong order, or taking too little rest, or too much, can throw you off course, and sometimes even make things worse! I’ve learned that understanding the CAUSE of injuries and painful conditions can help heal and prevent them. For example, most people don’t realize that they’re doing certain things every day that put stress and tension on certain muscles, tendons, tissues and joints, and over time, this creates chronic pain and injury. Simply becoming aware, and then making tiny adjustments, can actually result in a much higher quality of life for many people. All of my injury and exercise programs were developed as a result of my research, study and years of hands-on testing and training: I’ve been in the fitness and rehab industry since 1994. I spent 6 years at University studying kinesiology, corrective exercise and therapeutic exercise, and got my Master’s Degree in exercise science. I have 16 years of hands-on experience, working directly with clients and teaching my techniques and programs to fitness professionals, Kinesiologists, and healthcare providers. I’ve conducted thousands of personal training sessions. I’ve carefully scrutinized hundreds of relevant medical research papers. I’m also an author and speaker and I’ve given over 260 presentations to more than 5,000 fitness professionals across Canada and USA.