Speed is all about power, and your Hips are among the most powerful parts of your body. One of the best ways to increase how much force you can apply to the ground and get faster as a result is to target the Hip Flexors. This article will guide you through the best way to do this.
Designing a Hip Flexor Workout
There are two main parts of speed that you can work on: the force you can apply to the ground (strength) and the speed at which your muscles can move (coordination). To target both of these you have to do both Hip Flexor strengthening exercises and speed drills.
Exercises for Hip Flexors
When you are training purely for strength, you want to keep the weight high and the reps low [1, 2]. The reason you do this is because you are primarily targeting your fast twitch muscles, which are only utilized under heavy loads.
The exercise that I always recommend to start with is a compound exercise. If you have weak Hip Flexors, they will fatigue before any other muscle group involved, and they will quickly adapt to catch up to the rest. These movements are fairly natural, which helps them mimic a lot of the muscle movements involved during running.
The King of Speed Exercises: The Squat
If you want to get fast and you’re not squatting yet, this is as good as time as any to start. Not only will you strengthen your Hip muscles, but you also strengthen the rest of your core and your legs, both of which are important in running.
Here is a squatting tutorial, you should be aiming for 1-5 sets of less than 6 repetitions. This will stimulate those fast-twitch muscles that we want.
Hip Flexor Isolation Exercises for Speed
Now what about isolation exercises? You may be in a situation where you only want to target your main muscles in the group, like the Iliopsoas. In this case you might want to skip the compound exercises and focus on machines that isolate the Hip Flexor.
The other alternative is to use a resistance band, which can be really helpful because you can precisely mimic running motion. Here is a video with some basic instruction about using a
Note that unless you can find really strong bands, you won’t be able to find a resistance that fatigues your muscles in under 6 reps. That’s why I only recommend this for rehab purposes or to identify the weak parts of your running technique.
Speed Training Drills
Once you have strong muscles, you need to know how to use them effectively, which is where speed drills come in.
There are many different ones you can do, but here are two great videos that have some of my favorites. Watch them and try them out, and proceed to do the ones you feel are most helpful.
Remember that speed takes a long time to develop, so don’t get frustrated if you feel like you’re making slow progress. World-class athletes are thrilled to take even a fraction of a second off their sprinting times (over 50 meters). Apply these Hip Flexor exercises for speed development consistently and you will see great results over time.