We many muscles that act to flex the hip:
Tensor Fasciae Latae
Adductor Brevis (secondary)
Anterior fibers of the Gluteus Minimus (secondary)
While the Iliopsoas is our most powerful hip flexor (and we will discuss that next week!) the Sartorius is also important, especially in ballet!
This is because of the secondary actions of the Sartorius:
Hip external rotation (turn out)
Hip abduction (second)
A strong Sartorius will give you a high, beautiful extension to both the front and side. As you can see above, the action of the Sartorius is important for a good passe which is the base for developpe and strong turns.
Below are three exercises that focus generally on strong hip flexion with an emphasis on the Sartorius.
1. Slow Step-down with Rebound
To begin this exercise, stand on an 18 inch box or step. If you don't have a box or step this high, use what you have! Just make sure you are on a stable surface. Keeping your hips and feet parallel, stand on one leg and slowly lower the other foot to the ground. Once the foot gets to the ground quickly push back on to the box. Complete 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions.
2. Crossover Step-down
Begin standing on top of an 18 inch box (or step, or work out bench). Using the outside leg, slowly step off the side of the box (curtsy position). Once the foot reaches the floor, quickly rebound to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side. Complete 3-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
3. Narrow Squat
Begin this exercise standing with feet close together, nearly touching. Complete a squat, making sure that the knees still track over the second or third toe. In the video below, this dance is using an 18 in box to ensure proper squat depth. This is not necessary, but if you have a box it will ensure that you get into a deep squat.