What can I do if I'm a runner and most core exercises flare my hip flexors?

Sadie Lincoln
Sadie Lincoln on behalf of barre3
This is very common! Some good modifications to think about when working the core in different postures include slightly bending the knee when legs are cued to be straight, limiting your range of motion to stay in the core and out of the lower body and most of all, staying mindful of your breath as you move. Sometimes the best approach is to take more breaks. If you feel your hip flexors firing away, take a small break and then come back when your core is ready to work again without your hip flexors taking over.

If core exercises are flaring your hip flexors then you should replace core exercises that involve flexion at the hips such as sit-ups and crunches, for core exercises that involve very little to no movement of the spine and pelvis, such as a plank, single-leg lift and chop or a cable chop. Follow these instructions to perform a single-leg lift and chop exercise:


  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and pointed straight ahead. Hips should be in a neutral position.
  2. Hold medicine ball (between five and 10 percent of your body weight).
  3. Lift chest, retract shoulders slightly and tuck chin.


  1. Draw your abs in toward the spine, and then consciously contract your butt and the muscles of the abs.
  2. Lift one leg directly beside balance leg. Keep the hips and shoulders level.
  3. Extend arms so that hands are at the outside of the balance leg.
  4. Lift medicine ball in a diagonal pattern, rotating the body using hips, abs and butt until medicine ball is overhead. Hold for two seconds.
  5. Slowly return to original position.
  6. Switch legs and repeat as instructed.

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