7 Hip Strengthening Exercises That Work

7 Hip Strengthening Exercises That Work

Hip pain is a medical issue for many individuals, especially those with serious fitness regimens. Even if you are exercising in the right way, there’s still a chance of injury occurring, especially in the hip region. The good news is that there are pain relief exercises that you can do for your pain. These 7 exercises, in addition to relieving pain, will help with mobility issues and strengthen the hip region.

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Benefits of hip-strengthening exercises

There are many benefits associated with hip-strengthening exercises, in addition to making this part of the body stronger. First, this type of exercise will help to reduce hip pain. Performing the exercises below will also aid with mobility. Keeping your hips strong is critical for a stable core and adding the below exercises into your fitness regimen can help.

All of these benefits lead to a strong hip region and a healthier body overall. With this in mind, below are seven hip-strengthening exercises I recommend to my patients to promote strength, mobility, and pain relief.

Lateral Pendulum

1) Start with the lateral pendulum warm-up exercise

A warm-up and a purposeful stretch to avoid injuries are essential before you get started with the main exercises. The lateral pendulum warm-up exercise is a good one to start with as it increases range of motion on the inside and outside of your hip. 

  1. Begin by swinging your left leg in front of you, from left to right.
  2. Keep your body forward while swinging your leg.
  3. Do this ten times and then repeat with the right leg.

Standing Quad Stretch

2) Standing quad stretch

The standing quad stretch is a multi-faceted exercise, working the quadriceps and loosening your hips. Proceed with this exercise slowly to prevent any lower back strain from occurring. 

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Suck in the abdominals. 
  3. Loosen the shoulders.
  4. Bend your left knee.
  5. Pull heel back towards the buttocks. 
  6. Grab the left foot with your right hand. 
  7. Hold this position as you feel a mild pull in the front of the leg. 
  8. Repeat steps with other leg.

Single Leg Hip Circles

3) Single-leg hip circles

Often used in pilates, single-leg hip circles help with strengthening. This is a good beginner’s exercise to improve range of motion and work the hamstrings, quads, and abdominal muscles.

  1. Position yourself on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees right under your hips. Your toes should be pointed out and feet spread to shoulder width.
  2. Pull up on your core muscles and then lift one leg out to the side.
  3. Make a large circle with your knees to the side and front.
  4. Repeat 10 circles going forward and 10 circles going backward on each leg.

Basic Hamstring Stretch

4) Basic hamstring stretch

The basic hamstring stretch is something you can do to strengthen your hips as well as reduce tight hamstrings. You’re certain to notice an improvement in basic daily activities, such as walking. Just proceed slowly and stop if there’s any knee pain.

  1. Sit down on the floor with legs extended out in front of you.
  2. Bend at the waist and put your arms and palms flat on the floor while reaching forward and keeping your knees flat.
  3. Remain in this position for 15-20 seconds.
  4. Return to an upright position and then repeat this stretch three times. 

5) Standing hip flexor stretch

When you do the standing hip flexor stretch exercise you’ll be working your quadriceps and hip flexors. Just be sure to maintain your balance to prevent and injuries.

  1. Step forward with one leg, keeping the knee slightly bent.
  2. Keep the other leg straight.
  3. Pull your buttocks inward so it’s directly under your hips.
  4. Feel the stretch along your hip and upper thigh.
  5. Hold and then repeat with the other leg.
  6. Do this for four to five sets.

6) Single-leg glute kicks

Single-leg glute kicks, or donkey kicks, is a common exercise used for strengthening and tightening the glutes. 

  1. Get down on the ground on all fours.
  2. Extend a single leg out, almost like a donkey kicking motion.
  3. Repeat each side at your own speed.
  4. Make sure your leg is in the proper position when bent and straight so that you shift your weight.
  5. Return to a starting position and repeat on other side.

7) Plié squats

Channel your inner ballerina and do plié squats. This move will open up your hips and provide you with shapely legs. Make sure to share the weight on both sides.

  1. Position your feet at a greater distance than your hips.
  2. Put your toes at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Put your hands on your hips.
  4. Bend your legs so that they’re at a 90-degree angle.
  5. Pause and hold the position.
  6. Return to a standing position.
  7. Repeat this move 15 times.

Try these exercises to help resolve pain

Pain in the hip muscles can be dull and nagging or excruciatingly painful. It can be caused by running or training. No matter the degree of pain, you want to try everything you can in order to make this pain go away. The previously-mentioned exercises offer easy ways to work on your pain relief and get back to your full mobility with no pain or strain.

In addition to these helpful hip pain exercises, there are more exercises for hip pain that you can try if you want the complete program. You can even do some exercises with a resistance band (if you have one). The resistance band enables you to exercise and put the focus on specific areas of the body with the help of this item.

When you decide to try these exercises, just be sure to take it slowly and only go as far as your injury will allow you to do so without causing further damage to the hip muscles. And, if you like these exercises, share them with your friends who might experience hip pain and want to share them with others, too. These exercises are perfect for running and training aficionados who may experience issues with their hips and want to resolve them in the comfort of their own home.


Author bio: Dr. Kristina DeMatas practices holistic, evidence-based family medicine that focuses on treating injuries and transforming lives through prevention, rehabilitation, and diet. She’s also the owner of the Sports Medicine website, Sporty Doctor.

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