Get Hip With Flexibility

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Hip flexor muscles work together to flex the hips and stabilize the lower body. Your hips are the powerhouse of your body, so an injury to those muscles will affect how you move your legs and rotate your body.

A hip flexor strain will you keep you sitting on the sidelines, to say the least. Avoid that possibility by getting hip to the stretches and exercises used by two elite athletes who know something about longevity: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who's started every game in his 10-year NFL career, and Buffalo Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek, who's missed only one game during his first three seasons in the NHL.

Football: Hip Flexor Stretch
Who uses it: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning
Who coaches it: Will Bartholomew, president and CEO of D1 Training
•    Lie face down
•    Bend one knee
•    While stabilizing knee of bent leg, partner pulls it off ground to point of tension

Sets/Reps: Hold for 10-15 seconds pre-workout; hold for 30-45 seconds post-workout
Coaching Point: Partner should not pull too hard
Bartholomew says: "Hip flexibility is great for any type of agility movement. It loosens you up so that when you're pushing off your back foot or sprinting out of the pocket, you can fire out and the hip flexor is nice and loose."

Hockey: Hip Flexor Band Pulls
Who uses it: Buffalo Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek
Who coaches it:
Cal Dietz, University of Minnesota strength coach
•    Attach resistance band to ankle
•    Step forward into staggered position
•    Explosively pull leg forward through front side of body
•    Bring leg back and repeat movement

Sets/Reps: 2x6-8; 45-60 seconds rest
Coaching Points: Move quickly // Maintain good posture // Perform lateral variation of exercise
Dietz says: "Most people train the hip flexors in the front side of the body. We use the bands to train them in the back side of the body, which is the position of the leg when you're running or skating."

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock