Maintaining strong and healthy hips enables adults to perform advanced exercises, maximize mobility and flexibility, and reduce the risk of arthritis (along with other such health issues) in the long term. And provided that one performs tried-and-proven exercises and remains consistent, strengthening the hips is a relatively straightforward process.

To help as many people as possible have excellent hips for years to come, here are some straightforward exercises that can improve hip flexors.

The Half-Kneeling Stretch

The half-kneeling stretch is among the most common hip-strengthening exercises. On a towel, yoga mat, or other soft surfaces – many perform the stretch in carpeted rooms at home – place one knee flat towards the back of the area and the opposite leg’s foot towards the space’s front.

Then, gently slide the knee further back until a stretch is felt in the hip; tighten and tuck the position before holding for 10 to 30 seconds (as is comfortable). The exercise will engage the hip flexors at once, and one should alternate legs to target each side.

The Lunge

The lunge is a popular means of strengthening the hip flexors, but experts note that the technique is recommended for fitness enthusiasts as opposed to casual exercisers and those who are just beginning their health journeys. Persons in the latter two categories should be especially careful when attempting the exercise, stretching beforehand and starting with a small number of reps.

Locking the arms to the side of the body, bring one foot forward (the precise size of the step depends upon the individual’s height) so that there’s enough space to lower the back leg’s knee to the ground.

Then, keeping the front leg at a 90-degree angle, slowly bend this back leg’s knee towards the ground, pivoting on the toe and keeping the shin parallel with the floor. Carefully reset and switch legs, which are targeted by the exercise, along with the hips.

The Knee-to-Chest Stretch

Bringing the knee to the chest specifically targets and strengthens the upper portion of the hip flexors, which can be difficult to reach with other exercises. After stretching out on a flat (and comfortable) surface, keep the back flat against the ground and slowly bring one knee to the chest.

Keep this knee in place while stretching the other leg straight and raising it slightly. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds – a shorter or longer period is fine, especially for beginners – and then alternate legs.