Are you a cyclist? Hint: If you ride a bike then you’re a cyclist and if you’re a cyclist how “fittastic” would it be if the exercises you did in the gym helped improve not only your pedalling efficiency, meaning having more power in each pedal stroke with your body expending the same or less energy to make it happen, and overall performance outside the gym? A 2012 study of well-trained cyclists demonstrated that 12 weeks of strength training, featuring resisted hip flexion, improved pedalling efficiency and performance (Whipple, 2022). Translation, strong hip flexors can enhance your time on two wheels.
What are the hip flexors? The hip flexors are the muscles located at the front of the thigh and their function is to flex the hip. Why do we want strong hip flexors? They can improve athletic performance, which is what we’re talking about in this blog, as well as, improve posture and core stability, help reverse the effects of sitting, and play a role in injury reduction. Strong hip flexors sound pretty amazing, right?
So, how do we strengthen them? One of the ways is with resisted hip flexion, which brings us to a three exercise progression we like to use. The three exercises are (1) Mini Band Supine Isometric Hip Flexion (x 10-12 seconds each side), (2) Mini Band Supine Alternating Hip Flexion (x 5-8 repetitions each side), and (3) Mini Band Dying Bug (Legs Only) (x 5-8 repetitions each side). We go over each of these exercises in detail in the accompanying video, along with where we like to add them in the workout and how we progress them. TL;DR start by adding the first exercise into your warm-up for the next two to four weeks, or until you feel comfortable holding the exercise for the prescribed amount of time then move on to the second progression and repeat, and finally the third, et voilà, you’ll have a hip up this cycling season.