Pilates or Yoga for Hip flexor strengthening?

When rehabilitating lower back, pelvic or hip flexor, there are generally two streams of exercises that are recommended for hip flexor strengthening: Yoga and Pilates.

So what is the optimal exercise when having hip flexor pain to strengthen the area? Lets first talk about the differences and commonalities?

Commonalities between yoga and Pilates:

  • although both are aimed to train body and mind, yoga tends a bit more to mind training, Pilates is more body oriented
  • Breathing is an essential part for both
  • Both involve stretching for flexibility
  • The have different versions that give an intense workout or a slower more strength and flexibility direction.
  • Both will help tone your body

More yoga oriented traits:

  • Meditation, breathing and static poses, with a stretching and flexibility intension
  • Holistic approach for the body
  • Perfect for maintenance and long term chronic problems

More Pilates oriented traits:

  • Single muscle focused exercises Hip flexor strenght: Pilates exercises
  • Very accurate and very precise execution
  • More dynamic and resistance/strengthening focus.
  • High focus on core muscles (lower back, abs, hip, thights)
  • Very good for rehabilitation after an acute injury

So when looking strengthening the hip flexor area we would tend to recommend Pilates. Once hip flexor muscles are strengthened, or needs more flexibility, we would tend to recommend yoga. In Yoga the hip flexor flexibility forms part of a full body and mind maintenance program.

So what will it be: Pilates or Yoga?

Your personal preference will also be part of your choice. If you have trouble being still, internal and quiet,yoga will be a challenge. On the other hand , if you like to reflect, meditate, look at the whole picture and have patience, need to relax? Yoga definitely is the way to go. Yoga in comparison to Pilates also has much more freedom: Pilates generally is a very structured program with defined exercises that need to be done to perfection.

For active, restless souls who like to move and work out, or want to see local fast results: Than Pilates might be your preferred choice.

If you really don’t know: ask your medical practitioner or physio what they would recommend for hip flexor strengthening: Yoga or Pilates. Most studio’s offer first one or two lessons free, so there is no harm in trying either….

Top 5 Pilates exercises for lower back and hips:

  1. Bridge
  2. roll down
  3. Oblique supine
  4. Breststroke preparation
  5. Clams

Top 5 Yoga positions for hip flexor and lower back:

  1. Supine twist Hip Flexor strengthening: Yoga poses
  2. Sphinx
  3. Thread the needle
  4. Cat and cow pose
  5. Downward dog pose


Recommendation for strengthening your hip flexors, hips and lower back:

We recommend that you contact a trained professional to work with and or learn these exercises. Even though some of these look easy, the secret is in the details. Just putting one hand not right in increase the streain instead of relieving it. A well trained personal trainer or physiotherapist can set you up for succes. We wish you all the best with working on your lower back and hip flesor strengthening!