There’s no safe word for when your hip flexors go too far, but there are safer exercises for people whose hip flexors take over when it should be your core in control…

You see, to work the core there are two movements to do, one is to move the upper body (hip flexors stabilise your lower half), the other is to move your lower body (the hip flexors are doing the work). What we need to do is take those hips out of the equation by either turning them off by turning on the glutes and hams (reciprocal activation), or by taking the legs out of the movement all together, as below…

Next time you’re in class and a core set comes up, try these alternatives to reduce the impact on your hips and fire up your abs:

Instead of this Try this How?
Straight leg raises or drops1. Bent leg toe tapsOn your back, allow both legs to drop to the floor, then raise them back to the starting position. Or try alternating legs.
V-sits2. Table top crunchesOn your back in table top, lift just your head, neck and shoulders. Try not to let your legs move too far away from the body.
Sit-ups3. Reverse crunchesOn your back in table top, bend your knees and move your thighs closer to your body, raise your tail bone and repeat. Try not to allow the legs to move too far away from the body.
Bicycle crunches4. Side tapsLying on your back, with feet on the floor, slide one hand toward your ankle. Now alternate sides.
Alt leg drops or dead bugs5. Knee under to elbowOn all fours in table top, slowly diagonally bring opposite keens to elbows.
100s6. 100s with feet on the floor, or legs straight up toward the ceilingAdjusting your position for your own comfort, you can change the height of your legs to suit, and of course play with the arm position too!
Ad Astra instructor, Jayne, demonstrating the alternative moves

Often when hip flexors take the lead, it’s a sign of a weaker pelvic floor and tighter quads. When you exercise, engage that pelvic floor and practise Kegel exercises whenever you can. Foam rolling and stretching your quads whenever you can, will also help.

Essentially with my alternative moves, you are reducing the range of movement around the hips or switching them off by keeping them still all together. Some of the exercises designed to work the obliques can be substituted with standing side dips with added weights if required. Just be sure to talk to your trainer, yoga or Pilates teacher before class to make sure they can watch your form and make other suggestions.

If you’d like to talk to me about any restrictions you have when exercising, please message me on Facebook, or catch me before class.