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10 Easy Exercises to Strengthen Your Hips and to Help Relieve Pain

While not everyone can have those supple hips like Shakira, you can all benefit from working on and strengthening muscles that support those agile hips.

Although often ignored and uncared for, your hips are the fulcrum point for all the movements in your lower body. Sitting at work or home for most of the day leads to tight hip flexors that causes troubles like hip pain, lower back pain and injury.

Moreover, weak hips can lead to an antalgic gait, causing knee, ankle or foot injuries that can leave you resting in bed for days or months at a stretch.

And this is just the beginning, hip problems don’t stop here. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 2.5 million Americans today are living with an artificial hip. In fact, hip replacements are on the rise in the United States, peaking specifically among adults in early middle-age.

A 2005 study published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine discovered an association between overuse injuries in the lower extremities and poor strength in the hip abductor, adductor and flexor muscles around the hip region.

So, it’s worthwhile to take a look at your hip troubles and work to improve their strength and flexibility.

While nothing can beat walking, jogging and running, compound hip-specific strengthening exercises like squats, bridges and lunges are important to make sure your hips stay strong.

Strengthen Your Hips and Get Pain Relief Using These Easy Exercises

Here are some great hip flexor exercises that will help strengthen your hips and improve flexibility.

1. Bridging

bridging exercise

This exercise works on your hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, lower back and glutes, for strengthening and reducing pain.

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. Bend your legs and bring your feet in toward your bottom.
  3. Slowly, pushing through your feet, lift your bottom.
  4. Make sure your hips are in line with your shoulders and knees.
  5. As you do this, tighten your glutes and hamstrings.
  6. Hold for 2 seconds and slowly sink your bottom to the ground.
  7. Repeat 10 to 20 times daily for effective results.

2. Lying Lateral Leg Raise

lying lateral leg raise

Lying lateral leg raises help strengthen and develop your iliotibial bands that are responsible for your side-to-side leg motions. This exercise works on your gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, obliques, hamstrings and quadriceps.

  1. Lie on your right side.
  2. Extend your right arm out for balance.
  3. Lift your left leg up as far as you can, keeping it straight while you lift it.
  4. Slowly, bring your leg back down so that it is in line with the right leg.
  5. Complete 15 repetitions with that leg.
  6. Roll over to the other side and repeat with your right leg.
  7. Practice this every other day to get rid of hip pain.

3. Lying Leg Circles

lying leg circles

Lying leg circles work on your gluteal muscles and hip flexors to promote flexibility, strength and range of motion in all the muscles that make hip and leg rotation possible.

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. Extend your legs straight out.
  3. Elevate your left leg to about 3 inches off the ground.
  4. Make small circles, keeping your whole leg straight and aligned.
  5. Switch to the other leg and repeat the process.
  6. Perform 3 sets of 5 rotations on each leg, for 15 total reps on each leg daily.

Eventually, as you practice the exercise daily, you may raise your leg higher.

4. Single-Leg Squat

single leg squat

Also known as pistol squats, single-leg squats are a great exercise that work primarily on increasing the resilience in your legs. It targets your glutes, hips and quad muscles to improve your balance and stability.

  1. Extend both arms out in front of you, and interlock your fingers.
  2. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, firmly planted on the ground with your toes pointing forward.
  3. Extend one leg out in front of you. (Make sure you do not bend the knee.) Do not let this leg or foot touch the ground.
  4. Lower your body by sitting back and bending the knee of your other leg (as if sitting in a chair).
  5. Squat down as low as you can.
  6. Hold this position for 20 seconds.
  7. Press down on your foot and slowly stand up.
  8. Repeat 15 sets on each leg daily.

You may increase the number of sets gradually as you acquire strength.

5. Seated Butterfly Stretch

seated butterfly stretch

The butterfly stretch primarily works on your hips, inner thighs and lower back to increase flexibility and strengthen muscles.

  1. Sit on the floor, knees bent to the sides, soles of your feet in front of you, back straight and your hands on top of your feet.
  2. Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine.
  3. Exhale and gently pull your heels toward you.
  4. Simultaneously relax your knees toward the floor, as far as you can.
  5. Breathe deeply and hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
  6. Finish with leaning forward from your upper body. (Make sure you keep your back straight and push your knees toward the floor, as much as you can.)
  7. Initially, practice this 15 to 20 times every day. As you acquire strength and flexibility, you may increase the number of sets performed.

6. The Clam

the clam

The clamshell exercise works on balancing the muscular effort between your pelvic floor and your inner and outer thighs, thus strengthening your hips and lower body. It primarily aims at your gluteus medius, a muscle in your hip abductors.

As the name suggests, think of a clamshell opening as you do the exercise. Your glute should do all the work, so keep the rest of your body completely still as you lift and lower your leg.

  1. Lie on your side.
  2. Bend your knees at 90 degrees.
  3. Bring your heels together and in line with your bottom.
  4. Without rotating your back or pelvis, lift your leg to open your knees as far as you can.
  5. Hold for 15 seconds.
  6. Return to the resting position.
  7. Repeat 15 times on each side for stronger hips

7. Pigeon Pose

pigeon pose

The pigeon pose is an effective exercise that helps reduce stress and tension in the hip region, thus improving flexibility. It works on your groin and hip flexor muscles and opens up your hip rotator muscles (gluteus medius & minimus).

  1. Begin in a plank position.
  2. Lift and sit with your right knee bent forward.
  3. Inch your right foot away from your body.
  4. Extend your left leg straight behind your body, as far as you can.
  5. Keeping your hips square, lower yourself to the floor bringing your upper body as close to the floor as possible.
  6. Hold the position for 5 breaths.
  7. Repeat on the other side.
  8. Practice 10 sets on each leg daily.

8. Marching Glute Bridge

marching glute bridge

Marching glute bridges help stabilize your pelvis, while working on your glutes, hamstrings and spinal muscles in the lower back.

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. Bend your legs and bring your feet in close toward your bottom.
  3. Slowly, pushing through your feet, lift your bottom.
  4. Make sure your hips are in line with your shoulders and knees.
  5. As you do this, tighten your glutes and hamstrings.
  6. Slowly lift one knee toward your chest until your hip is at 90 degrees. Do not let your back sag or overarch.
  7. Return your foot to the floor and lift the other knee.
  8. Repeat 10 to 20 times every day. As you gain perfection, you may increase the count as per your capacity.

9. The Hip Drop/Step Up

the hip drop exercise

The step-up is one of the best exercises for your hips and legs.

If you do not have a stepper at home, you may practice by climbing up and down the stairs.

  1. Place one foot on a sturdy box.
  2. Step with your weight placed on the center of your foot.
  3. Push your hips back and then stand straight up.
  4. Hold this position while keeping your body tall and your hips and shoulders square.
  5. Push your hips back again.
  6. Slowly lower your trailing foot to the floor.
  7. Repeat with the other leg.
  8. Practice 10 sets on each leg every day.

Once you’ve perfected this pattern, you can perform this exercise while holding a pair of dumbbells in your hands.

10. Lying Hip Extension

lying hip extension

The lying hip extension, or reverse straight leg raise, is an effective exercise for strengthening your glutes and hamstring muscles.

  1. Lie down on your stomach.
  2. Keep your knees straight.
  3. Slowly lift your leg with your bottom muscles.
  4. Make sure your legs and knee are straight.
  5. Hold for 2 seconds and release.
  6. Repeat 10 times daily on each leg.


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