Many individuals have weak or stiff hips because of sitting for long periods of time throughout the day and not getting enough exercise. If you have been experiencing these symptoms, here are 10 exercises that can help strengthen your hips.
- Side Leg Raise: This exercise works the muscles on the outside of the hip. Lie on your side with one leg above the other. Lift the top leg to about 45 degrees and then slowly bring it down again.
- Lying Hip Adduction: This exercise works the inner thigh muscles. Lie on your side with one leg above the other. Bend the top leg and place the foot of that leg on the ground in front you. Keeping the lower leg straight, try to lift it off the mat to about 10-15 degrees.
- Straight Leg Raise: This exercise strengthens the hip flexors. Lie on your back with one knee propped up and the other leg extended straight out. Keeping the extended leg straight, lift it upwards to about 45 degrees and then bring it down again.
- Supine Pelvic Tilt: This is a good exercise to improve hip pain and stiffness. Lie down on an exercise mat with your legs bent and the soles of your feet planted on the floor. Tighten your hip muscles and tilt your pelvis to try and press your lower back to the ground. Hold for a few seconds and then relax.
- Bridging: This exercise works the hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and many other muscles that move your hips. Lie on your back, bringing your knees up and keeping your feet flat on the ground. Now lift your hips off the ground trying to form a straight line with your shoulders, hips, and knees.
- Clamshells: This exercise works your gluteus medius muscle and the IT band. Lie on your side with one leg above the other and knees bent at a 45 degree angle. Keeping both feet in contact with each other, lift the top knee up giving the appearance of opening up like a clamshell. Hold for a few seconds and bring the knee slowly down again.
- Prone Hip Extensions: Lie on your stomach with both legs extended. Lift one leg off the mat to about 10-15 degrees. Then slowly bring it down.
- Seated hip flexion: This exercise strengthens the hip flexor and psoas muscles. Sit on a chair with your back straight. Bring one knee straight up until your foot is about six inches off the floor and then slowly bring in down again.
- Chair squats: This exercises works the thighs, hamstrings, and gluteus muscles. Stand in front of a chair and with a slow controlled movement, bend your knees and slowly lower yourself until your bottom touches the chair, and then come back up again. Make sure that your knees don’t move ahead of your toes at any time while performing this exercise.
- Lunges: From a standing position, take one big step forward. Keeping your spine straight, lower your torso until the thigh of your front leg is parallel to the floor and then come back up again.
Do 10-15 repetitions of each exercise 2-3 times a week to strengthen and support your hip. Of note, it is a good idea to get clearance from your doctor before starting on a new exercise program if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
Dr. Yaser A. Metwally is board-certified by both the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery and the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada. He received his fellowship of Reconstructive Surgery from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and specializes in hip and knee replacement surgery.