Strong hip flexors can reduce your risk of hip flexor injuries, which can be painful and ultimately result in complete tearing of the muscle tissue. This group of muscles in your pelvic region and upper legs is activated each time you walk, run or kick and move your hips forward. To strengthen your hip-flexors, incorporate single-leg squats into your exercise routine. In addition to your hips, this exercise also engages your buttocks, legs and abdominals and challenges your balance and core and pelvic stability. For optimal benefits, learn correct form and modify the exercise to meet your fitness level.
Stand up straight, spread your feet hip-width apart and extend your arms along the sides of your body or place your hands on your hips.
Face forward, pull your shoulders back and down and tighten your abdominal muscles to support your upper body and keep your back straight.
Bend your right knee, raise your right foot about 1 inch off the floor and transfer your weight onto your left foot. The toes of your right foot should point down. This is your starting position. If you’re new to this exercise, keep the toes of your non-working foot on the floor during the entire exercise so it’s easier to maintain your balance.
Bend your left knee, bend your upper body forward at your hips, push your buttocks back and lower down as far as you comfortably can without losing your form. Imagine you’re sitting down on a chair — it’s essential to keep your hips level during the exercise — avoid rotating or shifting them. If your raised your right foot off the floor, keep it elevated the entire time and extend your arms forward to help you balance.
Pause one second before pushing through your left foot, extending your left knee and raising your hips and shoulders back to the starting position. Slightly push your hips forward and squeeze your left butt cheek at the top of the exercise. Immediately start the next repetition. Do eight to 12 repetitions before switching legs and complete three sets.
Inhale as you squat down, and exhale as you come up.
Do single-leg squats in a mirror so you can monitor your form.
For an extra challenge, hold dumbbells in your hands during the exercise or lower down deeper into the squat.
Consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine, especially if you have an injury or health condition.
SportsMD: Pulled Groin Muscle (Hip Flexor/Adductor Strain)
American Council on Exercise: Single Leg Squat
Shape.com: 12 Ways to Spice Up Your Squats for Better Results: Single Leg Squats