5 Hip Exercises to Keep Your Joints Healthy
Whether you want to rehabilitate your hips or want to increase your flexibility, these hip strengthening exercises can help improve your overall joint health and range of motion by targeting the muscles in your legs, core and back.
Lateral Leg Lift
Lateral Leg Lifts can help strengthen the outer hip muscles, especially by targeting the gluteus medius which sits above the gluteus maximus at the hip. Strengthening the gluteus medius also brings the added benefit of enhancing your back health.
Lie down on your left side on a yoga or exercise mat. Align your body from head to toe and stack your right hip above the left hip. Keep your right leg straight as you raise it away from the left leg toward the ceiling. After you complete a set of repetitions, switch sides and work out your left leg.
If your hip flexors aren’t super flexible, it can help to do some stretches that will get them moving. The Warrior 1 is a yoga move that can give your hip flexors a great stretch and help improve flexibility.
Stand on a yoga mat facing the long side with your feet aligned under your hips with your arms at your sides. Widen your stance to keep your feet 4 or 5 feet apart. Now, turn your right foot toward the front of your mat and bend the knee 90 degrees. Then, turn your left foot in perpendicular to your right. Keeping your back straight, press down on your back foot and feel a good stretch. Hold the pose as long as it’s comfortable. To release the pose, focus your weight on the back heel, straighten your front leg, come back to standing, and repeat the process on the other side.
Hip Flexor Lunge
If your hips are feeling tight, you can try this Hip Flexor Lunge. These lunges will strengthen your hip flexors and relieve symptomatic pain related to deconditioned muscles and help prevent injury.
Stand on your mat with your feet aligned with your shoulders. Step forward with your right foot and bend the knee to 90 degrees. Your left leg should be straight with your back heel raised from the floor, or you can bring the knee to the floor. Place your hands on the right knee, and keep your back straight. When you’re ready, bring your hands to the floor and bring your feet together to switch sides.
The Happy Baby pose is a great practice on multiple levels. This hip exercise can have a grounding effect, soothing the mind and alleviating stress. It also eases stress in the lower back and sacrum and can help open and stretch your hips and neighboring muscle groups.
Lie down on your mat and position your knees at the sides of your torso. Align your ankles over your knees; your shins should be perpendicular to the mat. You’ll feel a good stretch as you push your feet up and pull down with your hands. If you can’t reach your feet in this pose, you can use a belt or yoga strap. While you’re here, you can give yourself a back massage. You can also bring your knees to your chest and wrap your arms around your shins, gently rocking side to side.
Leg Lift + Scissor
These lifts can help strengthen your hips by targeting your thigh muscles, glutes, and lower abdominal muscles. By focusing on these different muscle groups, your hips will get a great stretch and your abs might get a little tighter along the way.
Lie down on your back with your hands under your glutes. Raise both legs up toward the ceiling, making sure to keep the legs straight. If you can, bring the legs up to your waist to create a 90-degree angle. Once your legs are up, you can rotate the right leg down toward the mat, keeping it a few inches above the floor. Once you feel the stretch in your thighs, slowly bring the leg back up and switch sides. After a few sets, you can lie down in a resting pose and enjoy the benefits of your workout.
Before beginning any exercise regimen, consult with your physician to determine if these exercise recommendations are right for you.