It’s no secret that sitting at a desk all day has some serious health drawbacks for your brain and your body, but luckily for you, there are some ways to beat back those desk-effects — hip exercises. Truthfully, many of us struggle with injuries and pain that come from weak hips. And sitting isn’t doing us any favors. So we’re going to do something about it. Below you’ll find research-backed reasons to keep your hips powerful, no matter your age, gender, and activity level, along with hip exercises for pain, injury prevention, and strengthening.
You Need To Do Hip Exercises Even if You Think You Don’t
Hip strength isn’t just important for keeping you from getting stiff at the office—it’s key for injury prevention, for runners, for women, and for anyone who wants to do effective workouts. I.e., all of us. Sold yet? Here’s what some of the science says:
- Hip weakness is one of the biggest causes of overuse injuries in runners, which are super common. (An estimated seventy percent of runners deal with overuse injuries.) Having weak hip muscles can impact the way you walk (and run). In that study, researchers found that weak hips are related to sidelining injuries of the ACL (an important ligament in your knee).
- Hip exercises are even more important for women. Those hip-related ACL injuries are four to six times more likely to occur in women who engage in high-risk athletics than in men playing the same sports. To reduce injuries, the authors pointed to the power of hip exercises.
Aside from preventing injury, hip exercises are also at the core of your overall workout effectiveness—for both men and women—says Lee Ryan, a certified personal trainer at TS Fitness in New York. “In order to build true strength, we must use compound movements that hit the whole body,” he explains. To do those compound moves, you need strength in the “power-generating” hip muscles.
5 Hip Exercises to Increase Strength and Mobility
So, how do you actually strengthen your hips? Complete 10–12 reps of each hip exercise from Ryan below for two or three sets. Do this twice a week either as a warm-up or stand-alone workout on a rest day.
Struggling with the moves? Consult a personal trainer or physical therapist in your area for exercises that best fit your own personal goals, injuries, and limitations.
Hip exercises with body weight
1. Creative clam
Don’t let the funny name fool you—this move is a serious hip strengthener.
- Start by lying on your side, knees bent at a 90-degree angle in front of you and placed one on top of the other.
- Prop yourself up on your forearm to support your weight, then raise the hip closest to the ground while opening your knees, hinging from the hips.
- Close knees as you lower to the ground.
- Repeat on both sides.
2. Quadruped hip C.A.R.S
- Start on all fours in a tabletop position.
- Bring your left knee off the ground and move it forward toward your chest.
- Without lowering your knee, hinge from the hip to bring your knee out to the side, then to the back by elevating your foot behind you and squeezing your glute.
- Now, repeat moving in the reverse direction: back, side, front.
- Do the same on the opposite leg.
3. Leg whip
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, placing your weight in your heels (try to lift your toes).
- From here, raise one knee into the air
- As you do this, squeeze your glutes and raise your hips into a bridge position.
- Now, open the raised knee to the side, hinging from the hips.
- Pause before lowering back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Hip exercises with resistance bands
4. Banded squat with abduction
- Start by placing a resistance band around your ankles.
- Sit hips back in a standard squat, squeezing your glutes as you return to standing.
- Next, raise one leg out to the side, feeling the resistance of the band.
- Repeat, this time lifting the opposite leg.
- Bonus: add a kettlebell and extend arms forward for a full body warm-up.
5. Banded foot raise
- Start in a standing position with a resistance band looped under your toes (so you’re standing in the center of it).
- By balancing on one leg, raise the opposite knee high above your waistline, feeling the resistance from the band.
- Lower and repeat for 10–12 reps before switching sides.
Your turn: Have you done hip exercises as part of your fitness routine? Tell us how they worked for you in the comments.
Want more fitness routines from real experts? Check out this Yoga Routine for Lower Back Pain
Disclaimer: This tutorial is not intended to replace medical advice. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program and obtain full medical clearance before practicing the moves in this post. Please follow proper warm-up and cool-down procedures before and after attempting the exercises in this post. Positive Routines is not liable for any injury sustained while trying these exercises.
Author: Macaela Mackenzie
Macaela Mackenzie is a freelance writer and content strategist. When she doesn’t have her nose in a research journal or the New York Times, she’s likely to be found looking for punny greeting cards or an excuse to explore a new travel spot.