Most of the content on this site is dedicated to the hip flexor, but it is worthwhile to look at the hip extensors as well. The lesser known hip extensors are the opposing muscles to the hip flexors, which is composed primarily of muscles running along the back of the leg. The hip extensor’s primary function is to pull down the leg from any vertical position (i.e. the hip flexors let you lift your knee up; the hip extensors can be used to pull it back down).
Hip Extensors Anatomy
Most people would be surprised to learn that the hip extensors are mainly made up of 2 major muscle groups: the Hamstring and the Gluteus Maximus.
You are probably familiar with the Hamstring, but just in case you are not here’s a quick refresher. The Hamstring is composed of the large muscle and tendons behind your thigh muscle and is used heavily in running and athletic activity.
The Gluteus Maximus is the most obvious opponent of the hip flexors as it is located right behind the pelvis. It is the largest of the gluteal muscles and extremely powerful in humans and primates.
Why Are the Hip Extensors Important?
You may be asking yourself what the importance of the Hip Extensors is in relation to the Hip Flexors. The answer is simple, in that since the two muscle groups are antagonists (oppose) of each other, anything you do to one of them affects the other.
When you get a hip flexor injury, the typical course of action is to rest and encourage healing, and then hip flexor strengthening because your muscles have weakened through inactivity. However, most people do not strengthen their hip extensors, which have also become weak because they have not been used much due to the hip flexor pain. When this happens, the hip flexors become much stronger than the hip extensors and cause a muscular imbalance. Muscular imbalances usually lead to non-proper functioning body parts and often injury like a hip flexor strain as a result of one muscle being stronger than the other, which is the last thing you want. This illustrates the importance of training the Hip Extensors like the Hamstring and Gluteus Maximus alongside with the hip flexors to develop total functional symmetry.