Hip Strengthening Exercises That Are Effective

Whether a person is suffering from knee, back, or hip pain, the best way to combat these ailments is by incorporating hip-strengthening exercises into your routine! When we go to the gym to workout, we often forget about our hips because we’re so focused on either our core, legs, or arms. But the hips are important too! They help support our entire body and keep us from getting injured which is important, especially as we age.

Our hips are made up of multiple muscles on the front, side, and back of the buttocks. When it comes to strengthening the lower body, the best place to start is with the hips as it’s one of the larger muscle groups below the waist. To help get started, here are some effective hip strengthening exercises that can be done either at home or at the gym.

Hip Thrusts Off a Bench

Hip thrusts off a bench provide quite the burn as they isolate the gluteus muscles. You can make this exercise even more difficult by adding some weight which will help strengthen and tone the hips even more. To perform this exercise with the proper form, be sure to drive up through the heels and squeeze the buttocks at the top of the movement.

Glute Bridges

If you’re not comfortable doing hip thrusts off a bench or don’t have access to a bench at home, try performing just a glute bridge on the ground. This will give a very similar result. Again, the exercise can be made more difficult by incorporating weights. You can hold a dumbbell of any size across the hips to add resistance.

Clamshells

This exercise has a funny name, but it’ll start to make sense soon enough! Grab a glute resistance band and place it around the knees. Lay down on the floor on either side and slowly open and close the legs by the knees. This will get the muscles on both sides and back of the hips screaming! To make it even more difficult, try doing it with the feet elevated in the air.

Single Leg Squat From a Chair or Bench

Squats are a great exercise as they target multiple areas of the body, they’re great for building strength and stability, plus they can be done anywhere without any equipment! For this exercise, it might be a good idea to incorporate a chair or bench. Doing a squat from one leg at a time helps build power and strength into one hip at a time.

You might notice that one side is stronger than the other — this is totally normal! This exercise will help fix that imbalance.

Side Lying Leg Raises

This exercise is as easy as lying on one side of the body and lifting your leg in the air. However, if you’re not careful, you’ll likely perform this exercise wrong. So listen carefully! While lying on your side, straighten the top leg and then extend it in the air backwards so that it’s behind you. Once in this position, slowly raise this leg up and down.

Squats

As we already mentioned, squats are an age-old exercise that we all love and know. And for good reason! This exercise recruits almost every muscle surrounding the hips, making them nice and strong. You can always make a squat harder by adding in some weight which will help really feel the burn in those hips.

Crab Walks

Take that same glute band from the clamshell exercise and now place it around the ankles. Standing with the feet shoulder width apart, take small controlled steps to the side. Don’t forget to do the same amount of steps on each side!

Marching with Band Around Feet

This is a great exercise to strengthen the hip muscle on the front of the body, also known as the hip flexor. To perform this easy exercise, take the resistance band and put it around the top and bottom of the feet. Standing in one place, slowly march to give this muscle a great workout.

Stability Ball Hamstring Curls

Lying on your back, place the back of your heels on the stability ball and then slowly lift your buttocks off the ground and curl the ball into your body and then back out.

Not only will this really work your hip muscles, it’s also a fantastic core exercise too that will leave your body feeling like it just got a great workout in.

Sumo Squats with Kettlebell

Squats are a great exercise for the lower body, including the hips. What’s even better is a sumo squat! This is essentially a regular squat but with the legs much farther apart. It’ll target both the groin and outer hip muscles. Incorporating a kettlebell adds some resistance to make it even harder.

Start with a wide stance on the ground holding a kettlebell between the legs. If you don’t have access to a kettlebell, just use a dumbbell and hold it from one end. Slowly lower into a squat and repeat for any number of desired reps. You can make this exercise even more difficult by increasing the weight of the kettlebell (or dumbbell).

Groin Plank

A groin plank is essentially a side plank, but it incorporates a bench to make it more difficult. To perform this exercise, start by lying on either side and have one foot up onto a bench. The other leg should be underneath the bench. The upper body is supported by your elbow. Hold this position for as long as needed to give the groin (inner hip muscles) a great workout.

Photo Credit: MyFitnessPal

Eric Leckie, PT

Eric Leckie, PT

Eric Leckie is a men's health Physiotherapist specializing in prostate cancer treatment. He completed his studies in Australia earning his Doctor of Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. He currently works in a private practice, in addition to owning his own Telehealth Physiotherapy clinic which focuses on treating men with prostate cancer.

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