The hip extensor muscles are essentially everything on the back of the body that help you pick stuff up off the ground. Strong, well developed hip extensor muscles will help you lift heavier, safer, and more pain free. Read on to learn what the hip extensor muscle are, why they are important, and how to train them.
What Are The Hip Extensor Muscles?
Hip Extensor Muscles - The Actual Muscles:
Here are the actual chunks of meat that make up the hip extensor muscles. You may notice a trend that all of these muscles contribute to a similar function - extending the hips, lifting the torso, hinging at the hips, etc. - not to spoil the section below.
Hip Extensor Muscle Group 1: Glutes
The glutes are the most powerful, crucial hip extensor muscle on the body. The primary function of the glute muscle group is to function as a hip extensor, opposing the hip flexor muscles in the front of the body.
Hip Extensor Muscle Group 2: Hamstrings
The hamstrings are a more secondary hip extensor muscle group, but they are one nonetheless. Hamstrings work as a hip extensor muscle particularly during running and picking stuff up off the ground.
Hip Extensor Muscle Group 3: Spinal Erectors
Spinal erectors are also a more secondary hip extensor. The spinal erectors, along with the multifidus, Quadratus Lumborum, and lats work together during hip extension to keep the back extended.
Hip Extensor Muscle Function:
As you can likely tell by the muscles that fall into the "hip extensor muscles" category, the function of hip extension is the motion of pushing the hips through the midline. This is also known as hip hinging, bending over, forward folding, deadlifting, picking stuff up off the ground - you get the idea. The hip extensor muscles are on the back of the body and they all work in these positions to pull the body upright into a standing position.
A few movements that require work from the hip extensor muscle are the deadlift, glute bridge, hyperextension, and Jefferson curl. These exercises all share the traits of being posterior chain dominant, as well as pushing the hips through (hip extension).
The Importance Of Hip Extensor Muscles & Strength
Hip extensor muscles are literally what allow you to pick a napkin up off the ground without breaking in half. Without hip extensor muscles you couldn't bend over, run, jump, walk, lift - do anything that requires activity.
The case for building strong hip extensor muscles is one of high physical performance and a pain free life - meaning if you want to be a functional, athletic beast AND feel great doing it you will need to build up your hip extensors. Strong hip extensor muscles directly allow you to lift heavier weights off the ground, run faster, and just be stronger overall. In addition, strong hip extensors are like armor against bodily issues like back pain.
Hip Extensor Muscle Strengthening
Now that you know what the hip extensor muscles are and why it is extremely beneficial to train them, here are some practical exercises to implement into your routine.
Hip Extensor Muscle Strengthening Exercise 1: Reverse Hyperextensions
Start here - this is potentially the lowest risk, highest return hip extensor exercise in existence. Grab a weightlifting bench, table, counter, medicine ball, etc. and start swinging your legs away. Make sure to squeeze the glutes at the top of each rep.
Hip Extensor Muscle Strengthening Exercise 2: Glute Bridges
Single leg, double leg, weighted - there are tons of ways to do the glute bridge exercise to build sheer power in the glutes (the primary hip extensor muscles). This is my favorite exercise for isolating the glutes and building up hip extension strength.
Hip Extensor Muscle Strengthening Exercise 3: RDL
Dumbbell, kettlebell, barbell, single leg, double leg - there are quite a few ways to do the RDL hip extensor exercise as well. The RDL is nice because it works all hip extensor muscles in a functional hip hinge pattern.
Hip Extensor Muscle Strengthening Exercise 4: Goodmorning
This is the riskiest and most advanced hip extension exercise. Proceed with caution here - it may be beneficial to do core and glute activation work beforehand to ensure you are strong and stable.
Here is an awesome video showing these 4 hip extensor muscle strengthening exercises. Subscribe to Back Muscle Solutions on YouTube for more awesome content!