The hips do more work than we realise, and yet they are the most neglected. They can only get ignored for so long until they begin to invite pain and injury. Similarly, skipping out on stretching and strengthening can lead to it becoming brittle and aching. This can occur while you sit, squat, walk, climb or run. Sadly, many people lead a sedentary lifestyle that, in turn, leads to poor posture and an overall unhealthy lifestyle.
Your hips are at the centre of major lifestyle activities, and you have to ensure they are strong. Getting them in motion can fire up the muscles and, when not strengthened, it can subsequently invite pain and injury. Therefore, it is advisable to strengthen those muscles to make a positive impact. Whether you like it or not, your hip flexors (the group of muscles responsible for flexion at the hip) are vital in stabilising your muscles while in motion.
There are other benefits to doing hip exercises like core stability and managing back pain, IT-band issues, knee and ankle pain. Therefore, by restoring mobility in your hips, you can build a strong base. By incorporating hip-specific moves to your workout routine, life activities would be so much easier. With these moves and exercises, you can build mobility and strengthen your hips.
Five hip strengthening exercises you can do anywhere
When you do exercises that mimic everyday movements, like squats, hip hinges, lunges and step-ups, you’re strengthening your muscles to an extent. However, when you focus on one movement consistently, like a run or the same number of squats, your hips won’t get stronger.
When doing these exercises, you should mix them up and not do just one. This is why we’re sharing with you five hip strengthening exercises. With these, you can get the results you seek. Begin by doing this twice or thrice weekly, then you can increase the number of days.
Modelling these moves is Hollis Tuttle, certified run coach and director of instructors at CityRow in New York City.
Tools you’ll need
- Hand weights
- Glute-hamstring developer (GHD)
- Yoga mat
- Step or bench
- DynaDisc or pillow
1. Elevated glute bridge
What it does: Strengthens your glutes, core and hamstrings.
How to do it: Lie faceup, bend your knees, and place your feet on top of a stair, box or low bench about hip-width apart. Add a resistance band around your legs above the knee. With your arms resting on the floor, drive through the heels and press the hips toward the ceiling. Lower hips to the floor. Complete 3 sets of 12 reps.
2. Single-leg dead-lift
What it does: Gives you core and hip stability, upper back strength and balance.
How to do it: Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart. With a soft bend in both knees, shift your weight to your right leg and, maintaining a flat back, hinge at the hips as left leg swings behind you. Lower chest until your torso and left leg are parallel to the ground. Pause, then squeeze the glutes and thrust the hips forward as you return to a standing position. Complete 3 sets of 12 reps on each leg.
3. Banded monster walk
What it does: It targets the hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings.
How to do it: Loop a resistance band around your ankles. Stand with feet just wider than hip-width apart so there is tension on the band. Lower to an athletic position (a quarter squat), then step forward and out in a diagonal direction, maintaining resistance on the band. Take 10 to 20 big steps forward, then walk backward and repeat. Complete 3 sets.
Follow these exercises modelled by Heather Lin, a New York City resident who does her best to fit exercise into her busy life.
4. Banded jump squat
What it does: Strengthens your glutes and hip muscles.
How to do it: Place a looped mini resistance band just above your knees. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Then, hinge forward at your hips and sit your b**t back into a squat. Squat as deep as your mobility will allow, but not further than parallel to the ground. Jump up into the air as high as you can and straighten out your legs. Finally, swing your arms down by your sides for momentum, and keep your back straight and chest lifted. Land back on the floor with soft knees. Do 8-10 reps.
5. Step up to reverse lunge
What it does: Increases the intensity of an exercise without adding weight.
How to do it: Stand facing a box, step, bench or chair. Then step onto the box with your right foot and drive through your right heel and glute to bring your left leg up to meet the right. Let your left foot hover, and keep most of the weight in your right foot. Step back down with your left foot, then step your right foot back about two feet behind the left and lower immediately into a reverse lunge. Finally, push through your left foot to stand back up (that’s 1 rep) and move right into the next step-up. Do 12-15 reps on each leg.