Ever thought about targeting your hips with your workout? Your hip muscles – especially the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles – surround your pelvis and provide support. Some big hints that yours might be weak include: lower back pain, tight hip flexors, and hip pain after sitting at your desk or driving. Protect yourself with these power hip strengthening exercises.
Your goal is to make your glutes stronger and engage your hips in abduction exercises, which means your legs move away from the midline of your body. Start slow, and build up your reps and weight so your resistance is always challenging. If you employ weights, resistance bands, and a lateral trainer, your workouts will be even more effective.
This exercise is ideal for a lateral trainer because it provides side-to-side motion while working your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and adductors.
- Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a weight at your left shoulder with both hands. With your core engaged, step your left foot behind and outside your right leg into a lunge position, while at the same time lowering the weight across your body to the outside of your right thigh. Quickly move back into your starting position and repeat for 5 reps, and then switch sides.
Low Stance Jack
This is another dynamic exercise that will get your heart rate up while working your glutes, quads, and obliques. Add a resistance band around your thighs or ankles for an extra challenge.
- Stand with your feet together, bend forward at your waist, and bend your knees. Staying low, hold your hands in front, chest height, with your elbows out to the sides, and jump into the air with a jumping jack motion. Reach for your left foot with your right hand, and on the next jump, reach for your right foot with your left hand. Alternate sides for an equal number of reps.
Lateral Banded Walk
This extremely challenging exercise promotes quad, glute, and abductor strength, plus hip stability. It can also be done as a squat on a lateral trainer.
- Loop a resistance band around both legs just above the knees. Stand with your feet together, and lower into a squat, focusing on keeping your back flat and your core tight. Raise your body as you step right, and lower back into the squat as you place your foot. Bring your left foot over to the meet the right, raising and lowering back into a squat. Repeat the exercise, beginning with your left foot this time. Alternate sides for an equal number of reps.
Side-Lying Hip Raise
This exercise coordinates your glutes, abductors, and obliques while forcing you to keep your hips stabilized.
- Lie on your left side, extend your legs, and stack your feet. Prop yourself up on your left forearm, and put your right hand on your hip. Lift your hips to the ceiling as far as you can, and then lower them back without putting them back on the floor. Keep your pelvis straight and perpendicular to the floor. Repeat for 5 reps, and then switch sides.