If you’ve been more sedentary than usual (and many of us have over the past year), chances are you might be suffering from tight, if not downright painful, hip flexors. Brief refresher: The hip flexors are a group of muscles just below the hip bone at the top of the thigh. If you’ve heard the terms TFL (tensor fasciae latae), psoas, or iliacus, they are all referring to the hip flexor muscles.
Tight hip flexors can cause pain and injury—and not just in that specific part of your body. Tightness in this area can mean that you compensate if other places like your neck and back, which is why tight or weak hip flexors can be a big culprit in poor posture. One of the biggest culprits behind tight hip flexors is a sedentary lifestyle (weak abdominal muscles can contribute to this as well).
So what can we do about it? Two things—we’ll want to release the tension and pain (this happens through stretching, foam rolling, and targeted massage), and then we’ll build strength to prevent problems going forward—both in the flexors themselves, and in the core. To accomplish this, ballet-inspired barre moves are accessible for beginners, but even advanced athletes can benefit from this type of exercise.
In barre class, you'll commonly find hip openers such as wide leg plié squats, plié pulses, quad stretches at the barre, pigeon pose or figure-four on the barre, arabesque and attitude, and hip extensions. These moves, combined with hip strengtheners like side-lying pull-and-press with mini band, fire hydrant pulses, reverse lunge pulses, plié to abduction, and bridges help to target both causes behind hip flexor discomfort.
In addition, these moves above—plus essential core-strengthening abs moves—can be found in a usual barre workout. Adding a little bit of barre into your weekly regimen will help with all of your hip and ab-strengthening goals, while also giving you a full body workout that’ll help with everyday movement and comfort. Ahead, 10 barre workouts to try at home right now.
10 barre workout videos to try now
1. 17-minute low-impact barre workout
2. 15-minute equipment-free barre workout
3. 24-minute cardio barre workout
4. 20-minute barre workout
5. 26-minute cardio + barre workout
6. 15-minute lower body barre workout
7. 10-minute standing core barre workout
8. 30-minute full body barre workout
9. 5-minute barre-inspired workout
10. 6-minute barre workout
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