Exercises to strengthen the hips

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Robert Maurer


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Anyone, even those without hip problems, can benefit from exercises that increase the mobility of this part and strengthen it. Indeed, stretch and strengthen the hip muscles helps build stability and flexibility and, therefore, to move more easily and to avoid injuries. 

The hip is a delicate area

The hip is a very delicate area. In sedentary people why prolonged sitting and lack of exercise weaken and stiffen the hips. In sports because a workout that involves the hips too much can trigger pain and injuries. For this, it is important to perform specific exercises for the hip.

Which muscles to train

To stretch and strengthen the hips, it is important to train:

  • il large buttock, the main extensor muscle of the hip;
  • il gluteus medius, the main muscle on the side of the hip.

Basically, you have to work on the back and sides of the hips. On the other hand, avoid over-stimulating the fascia lata tensor (TFL or IT band), which is located right in front of the hip joint. If you use this muscle too much, in fact, unwanted pains in the knee, hip or back can appear.

The best exercises for the hip

Here are some very effective hip exercises that can help everyone from weightlifters to walkers, runners and seniors to sedentary people.

Those with weak and stiff hips should start slowly and gently, gradually increasing. The ideal is to perform them at least three times a week, as well as a regular workout routine.

Frankenstein walk

Stand upright, with your arms outstretched in front of you and palms facing down.
As you move forward, swing your right leg upward to extend it outward, creating a 90-degree angle with your body. Lower the right leg to the floor, then lift the left leg in the same way.
Continue for one minute, changing direction if space is limited.

Once you become confident, perform the exercise by extending your arm to touch the opposite foot, extending the other arm behind you.

Hip circles

Stand on the right leg with the left leg raised.
Move your left leg in a circle.
Make 20 circles in each direction.
Then repeat on the other side.

To make this exercise more difficult, increase the size of the circles and do two to three sets.

Sidestep exercise

Get into a semi-squat position with a resistance band around your lower thighs.
Engage your hip muscles as you take small steps to the side.
Take 8–15 steps in one direction and then the other.

After some training, increase the intensity by lowering the band so that it is above the ankles and lowering the squat position.

Clamshell exercise

Lie on your side with your knees bent and a resistance band around your lower thighs.
Rotate your upper leg as high as you can, then stop for a moment. Return to the starting position.
Do one to three sets of 8–15 repetitions.

Lateral step-up

In an upright position. Place a step or box on your right.
With both hands, hold a dumbbell or a weighted plate in front of your chest, with your arms outstretched.
Bend the right knee and place the right foot on the step.
Using your right foot as a lever, lift your left leg and bend the knee 90 degrees in front of you, still keeping your arms straight in front of you.
Slowly lower your left foot to the floor.
Do two to three sets of 8–15 repetitions on both sides.

Hip marching

Sit towards the front edge of a chair.
Raise your left leg as high as you can, keeping the knee bent. Slowly and with control, lower your foot.
Then do on the right side.
Do two to three sets of 5-12 repetitions.

Butterfly pose

Sit with your knees bent and the soles of your feet together.
Interlace the fingers under the feet.
Use your elbows to gently press your knees to the floor.
Feel an opening in your hips as you release tension.
After 30 seconds, stretch your arms out in front of you and lean forward.
Maintain this position for up to one minute.


The stretch can be increased by bringing the heels closer to the body.

Side leg raises

Lie on your right side with your legs on top of each other and your right hand supporting your head (arm is bent).
Raise your left leg as high as you can.
Stop here, then return to the starting position.
Do two to three sets of 12–15 repetitions per side.

When you have hip pain

If you have hip pain that's fine rest and take a break from everyday activities that cause tension.
In general, the high impact activities, like sprinting, jumping, or weight lifting, they should be carried out with extreme care. When walks on uneven ground, like during a hike, pay special attention to movements and try to create stability. 
Exercises like squats, lunges, and step-ups can also put too much stress on the hips. Do these exercises with care and avoid them during any type of flare-up. 


Training weak ankles with specific exercises is also helpful. 

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