Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 05-09-2016
The muscles of the hip perform a wide range of functions. They allow for essential movements such as sitting, squatting, jumping, walking, and running. They stabilize the hip joints to support movements related to other parts of the body such as the knees and low back. The following are basic hip strengthening exercises for you to start with. Knowing how to perform them and using them on a consistent basis will increase hip strength and establish long-term wellness. Supine Hip Extensions (Bridges) Hip bridges are one of the most effective exercises for strengthening the hips. But many people still perform this exercise incorrectly. Start by lying down in a supine (face up) position. Your feet should be flat on the ground so that your knees are flexed at approximately 90 degrees. Press the feet into the ground as you lift your hips toward the ceiling. You should reach a position in which your shoulders, hips, and knees form a straight line. Hold this for 3–5 seconds while actively tightening the gluteal muscles. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat as recommended by your physiotherapist. Side-Lying Hip Abduction The hip abductors move your leg away from the midline of the body. Weak abductor muscles (gluteus medius/minimus, tensor fasciae latae) can impact the mechanics of the knees and ankles. So proper function is important to reducing the risk of injuries that affect the lower body. Lie down on your side so that one leg lies on top of the other. Stabilize the pelvis and begin to lift the top leg up towards the ceiling without turning the body in either direction. When you reach your end range of motion, hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat for as many repetitions as recommended by your physiotherapist and then repeat with the other leg. Bodyweight Squat The squat is one of the most basic movement patterns in all daily activities. You use it when you sit in a chair, on a toilet, or in your car. Proper squat mechanics ensures that all of your leg and core muscles are working correctly to facilitate the movement. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Cross your arms in front of your chest or keep them down at your sides. Slowly lower your body as if sitting in a chair by bending the knees and hips. Your knees should be in line with your toes, and you may need to have your physiotherapist evaluate your form to ensure that you’re doing it correctly. Stay within a comfortable range of motion that allows you to use correct form before returning to the starting position. The squat is more advanced than the supine hip extension and side-lying hip abduction exercises. Make sure you progress accordingly in order to get the best results possible. Strengthening your hips is essential to your long-term wellness and performance.