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Top 10 Exercises to Strengthen Your Hips


Hip health is easy to overlook – until stiffness and pain take up residence. Discomfort in the hips can affect everyone, so it’s beneficial to know how to look after them, before and after issues may arise. 

There are many reasons why your hips may start to give you trouble. Finding the right hip strengthening and stability exercises for you can help to reduce and prevent problems that can interfere with your daily life. The state of our hips also impacts other areas of our bodies and the roles they play. For example, knee, spine, and neck alignment and function can all be affected by weak, tight, or painful hips. 

Our sports physios often see patients who are suffering from painful or stiff hips. One beneficial way to improve this is to incorporate regular hip workouts. Find out the top 10 exercises we recommend for healthy hips. 


What Causes Sore Hip? 

There is a variety of factors that can create issues in your hip region. These can include reasons such as: 

  •     Prolonged sitting.
  •     Poor posture when sitting, standing, and lying down.
  •     Problematic movements, such as incorrect positioning when lifting items from the ground.
  •     Natural wear and tear.
  •     Health conditions, such as arthritis.
  •     Injuries.
  •     Overtraining.  


Areas To Target For Stronger Hips 

Various bones and soft tissues influence your hip health, particularly regarding stabilising your thighbones and pelvis as you move around. When undertaking exercises to improve strength and mobility in your hips, it is important to focus on these in the right way. Parts of the body that are beneficial to target can include: 

  •     Hamstrings.
  •     Gluteus maximus, which is the main extensor muscle.
  •     Gluteus medius, which is the main muscle that runs down the side of your hip.
  •     Inner thigh muscles.
  •     Psoas muscles, which connect your spine to your pelvis.


Exercises For Hip Strength 

The variety, length of time, and number of repetitions you perform the following exercises depend on your health and goals. Our physios will guide you with these. 

Functional exercises that recreate everyday movements, such as squatting and bending at the hips, can help to strengthen and stretch your hip muscles and joints. Incorporating plyometric exercises improve your explosive power, and movements that encourage you to change directions and planes of motion help with stability and strength. Dynamic exercises are also great for hip health as they can activate and warm up your muscles.  

Ten exercises that involve these goals include: 

  1.     Frankenstein walk 

Extend your arms in front of you with your palms facing downwards. Move your straight right leg in front of you until it makes a right angle with your body (or before if it causes discomfort), then return your leg to the ground. Continue with the left side and move forward as you go.


  1.   Seated hip marching 

This move is particularly good for people who find it hard to balance, such as seniors. Begin by sitting at the edge of a chair. With your knee bent, move your right leg upwards and then slowly return it to the chair. Continue with the left leg. 


  1.   Hip circles 

Stand on your right leg. Lift you left leg and move it in small circles – clockwise and anti-clockwise. Holding onto something like a chair can assist with balance.


  1.   Butterfly pose 

Sit on the floor and bend you knees. Placing the soles of your feet together, gently drop your knees outwards and towards the floor. Use your hands or elbows to carefully press your legs closer to the ground.


  1.   Donkey kicks 

Begin in a tabletop position on the floor with your knees and palms on the ground. Keep your knee bent and lift your right left up, aiming the bottom of your foot for the ceiling. Carefully return your knee to the ground and continue with the left leg. 


  1.   Clamshells 

Lay down on your side. Bend your knees. Move the top leg upwards, keeping your ankles together, and then lower. Repeat on the other side.


  1.   Sidesteps 

Begin in a semi-squat position. Take small steps to the side and then repeat in the other direction. Placing a resistance band just above your ankles can increase intensity. 


  1.   Floor hip flexors 

Begin on your back. Pull your right thigh to your chest with your knee bent. Straighten your left leg so that the back of your knee is pressing towards the floor. Repeat on the other side.


  1.   Knee to chest pose

Begin on your back. Pull both thighs into your chest with bent knees. Hug your legs, tuck your chin to your chest, and hold the position. 


  1. Side Leg Raises

Lie on what side. Lift your straight right leg towards the ceiling and hold, then return it to touch your other leg. Repeat and then continue on the other side.


Take Care Of Your Hips With Specific Exercises

Hip mobility and strength is important to so many aspects of your life. If you are experiencing discomfort, reduced functionality, or stiffness, come in and we can identify issues and provide an exercise program suitable for your needs. 



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Northern Districts Physiotherapy

Northern Districts Physiotherapy & Sports Clinic was established in 1995 and consists of an energetic team of highly qualified and experienced professionals who take the time to understand ...


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