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Training the Hip Flexors & Hip Extensors

When we think of “leg day” we typically think of working the broad muscle groups of the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. To truly improve our physique, our athletic ability, and our safety, we need to think about and include the hip flexors and extensors in our regular training program.

Our hip flexors and extensors are constantly working as we sit down, stand up, walk, run, and transfer loads. They provide stability, support, and strength and are often neglected in a conditioning program. I frequently get asked how about the exercises that target these specific muscle groups.

The hip flexors (the muscles that help to bring the femur forward and toward the trunk) can become dominant in comparison to the hip extensors that often atrophy and shorten due to the amount of time spent sitting and lying down. Neglecting or overusing either group can lead to an imbalance and dysfunction.


Hip Flexors

Muscles: Rectus Femoris, Psoas Major, & Illiacus


  • In-and-Out

  • Reverse Curl Up

  • Straight Leg Drop

  • Jackknife/V-Up

  • Supine Knees to Chest

  • Hanging Leg Drop

  • Cat-Cow

Hip Extensors

Muscles: Gluteus Maximus, Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus, & Biceps Femoris


  • Stiff Leg Deadlift

  • Hamstring Curls

  • Box Step Up

  • Glute Bridge

  • Hip Thrusts

  • Good Mornings

  • Reverse Lunge


I’ve listed a few exercise that can improve the strength of these groups, but don’t forget to also work on the mobility of these groups as well!


My love to you!

About the Author

Dr. Monique Middlekauff is a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist (RCEP) through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

She has been a certified personal trainer with the NSCA, ACSM, and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) for over 10 years.

She is a certified Higher Education Teaching Specialist (HETs) and has instructed courses ranging from introductory to graduate level including Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, Exercise Physiology Lab, Resistance Training, Fitness Foundations, Aging and Exercise, and Skeletal Mechanics.

She is a former NCAA DI volleyball athlete and loves to exercise outdoors. Monique is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and is an Exercise is Medicine Level 3 credentialed provider. Monique works for a major health system in Idaho.

Her goal is to pursue health and overall wellbeing through evidence-based practice. Physical wellness comes in many forms, and she seeks to celebrate where you are, and challenge you to be better.

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