Hip Flexor Strength To Fix Your Low Back Pain: The Supine Knee Draw Exercise

Many times our clients come to us with chronic back pain, and almost always we find through testing these clients that they are severely lacking in hip flexor strength.

Our hip flexors (the muscles that allow you to lift your legs, like when you walk, bend forward or lift your knees up to your chest), typically get tighter and shorter as we spend less and less time outside playing around the neighborhood, and spend more and more time sitting at work, home, driving, and watching our kids activities.

It is very common for our clients to ask us “what is a good back stretch?”. And while this is an understandable question that is almost always a response to localized back pain, we generally never assign specific “back stretches”.

Instead, we generally assign exercises that more often focus on stretching the muscles on the opposite side of the back (the hip flexors), in conjunction with strengthening exercises for the low back and hip flexors.

During this journey of addressing and managing our clients low back pain, we spend a good amount of time educating, or sometimes re-educating, our clients about the role of the hip flexors (both length and strength) contribution to stabilizing the pelvis.

It is this shift in mindset that often helps our clients on their path to managing their low back pain.

The Supine Knee Draw is a great exercise to help address strengthening the lower abs and developing hip flexor strength.

We have found that about 99 out of 100 people coming to us looking for solutions to help address their chronic back pain are extremely deficient in their low abdominal and hip flexor strength.

Even those who spend countless hours doing traditional “ab” exercises find themselves humbled when we implement introductory level hip flexor strength exercises, like the Supine Knee Draw, L-Sit progressions, and Standing Hip Flexion exercises.

We like to start all of our new clients off with no load between your feet, and slowly add load as appropriate.

The unloaded Supine Knee Draw is a great start to addressing hip flexor strength and length.

Our modern lifestyle which has allowed us to more and more use our brains versus our bodies for work has helped to develop an imbalanced body.

Too much sitting has caused tightness and weakness on the muscles responsible for stabilizing our spine and the result is chronic back pain.

To help alleviate these issues, we have found that targeting hip flexor strength and length is the “low hanging fruit” that helps most of our clients, given that they are consistent and smart with their approach to their training.

As noted above, we love the bodyweight Supine Knee Draw as an introduction to addressing hip flexor strength.

Once proficiency is developed, we prefer to progress to using a medicine ball for loading as it encourages full body tension and gives us objective data with which we can understand how fast we are progressing with the movement.

We like to squeeze a medicine ball between our legs for loading the supine knee draw as it encourages full body tension and gives us objective data with which we can understand how fast we are progressing with the movement.

Coupled with hip flexor lengthening stretches like the Samson Stretch and Couch Stretch, this combination of strengthening and lengthening has helped the majority of our clients get out of back pain.

It is important to remember that the path to getting out of pain can start with one simple decision to get off the couch (or out of your chair) and to start implementing hip flexor strength and length exercises like the ones we covered above.