Your hips are some of the most unique structures within your body. Not only do 17 muscles cause movement of the hip, but also the joint itself is very diverse in its movement capabilities. Unique groups of muscles that control these movements at the hip are able to move in all three planes of motion. These planes include frontal plane (or side-to-side), sagittal plane (or forward/backward), and transverse plane (twisting or rotational movements). Because of the diverse nature of the joint, maintaining strong muscles and flexibility are key in optimizing hip health as we age. The following will be a set of exercises that are good starting points to target hip strengthening and flexibility.
The gluteus medius, or muscle near the upper outer buttock, is the muscle that we are trying to target with this exercise. Balancing on one leg, move your opposite leg to the side (or up and down if side lying) and slightly backwards to help activate this muscle a bit more. As with all the exercises that are going to be listed, you should move with concentration and intent. Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions. If balance is an issue while standing, hold on to a sturdy table or counter to support you while completing the exercise.
Standing hip abduction
Side lying hip abduction
Lying face down, slowly lift one leg up without letting your hips rotate in the process. Imagine keeping the front portion of your hips glued to the surface to avoid extra movement. Avoid fast motions, as this will increase the work being done by the low back. Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, and place your arms out to the side for added stability. Pushing with your heels, press your hips up towards the ceiling and squeeze your glutes as hard as you can. Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
When performing this exercise, make sure that you give yourself some room between yourself and the chair you will use for guidance. Slowly lower yourself down until you just barely touch the chair, then stand back up. Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
This stretch will be for the glutes. One leg will be bent in front of you with the other leg is straightened out behind you. Increase the intensity of the stretch by bending your upper body down towards your bent leg. Perform 3-5 stretches for 30-60 seconds each.
In a half-kneeling position, maintain an upright posture and squeeze the glute of the leg that has the knee on the floor to initiate a hip flexor stretch. Perform 2 sets of 15 controlled squeezes for each leg. Be sure to stay tall through your spine, and avoid excessive arching of your lower back.
Lie on your stomach and bend your knees to 90°. In this position, let both legs fall out to the side, making sure to maintain the 90° position. Perform 3-5 stretches for 30-60 seconds.
If you’re experiencing hip pain, contact Athletico for a free assessment. The Athletico team will take a look at your condition and provide recommendations for a treatment plan. Free assessments are available in-clinic and virtually via our Telehealth platform.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.