Top 10 Hip Strength Building Exercises
One of our greatest fears as we get older is that we will break a
hip, an event that
can cause permanent disability,
depression, and the
need for long-term care. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer a
partly because we have a greater risk for
a condition that weakens bones.
The chances of developing
osteoporosis vary with age,
body type, estrogen levels, genetic makeup, ethnicity, lifestyle, level of
diet, and certain medical conditions. Women are especially vulnerable
because they lose bone at an accelerated rate during the first few years after
Along with adequate
vitamin D, exercise is a
cornerstone of osteoporosis prevention. It not only helps limit bone loss but
also improves balance and
strengthens the muscles we rely on to stay upright. This provides a hedge
against falls — one of the main causes of fractures.
exercise are especially important. This article highlights some exercises
that are particularly good for building hip strength. Keep in mind that they
work best as part of an overall program that includes a variety of
BENT KNEE FALL-OUT
(Hip Abduction, Flexion & Lateral Rotation)
Sit on a chair with your one leg bent and the foot tucked against the opposite
thigh. Hold for 10-20 seconds, then repeat. This exercise lengthens muscles on
the inside of the thigh
and helps hip mobility.
1. Stand facing a wall, with your hands on the wall to support you and your
feet slightly apart.
2. Keeping your one leg straight, slide it out to the side and back again.
Repeat. This exercise strengthens the muscles on the outside of the hip.
STRETCH (Gluteus Maximus)
Standing with your strong side next to a wall and your hand on the wall for
support, extend your weak leg out behind you. Don't let your
arch. Rest your other hand on your stomach. Keep your
abdominals taut so
that your trunk is stable and the movement comes from the hip rather than the
spine. Hold and repeat.
1. Stand facing a wall, with your hands on the wall to support you and feet
slightly apart. Turn the foot on one side in, then lift that leg out to the
side. Return to the starting position and repeat. This coordinates and
strengthens the muscles on the outside of the hip.
2. Variation: turn your foot out, then lift your leg out to the side.
(Partial Weight-Bearing Hip Flexion)
1. Stand facing a chair. Step up on to the chair with your weak foot, keeping
the other foot on the floor.
2. Holding on to the chair, bend the supporting leg and lean gently forward on
to your weak leg so that your hip and knee bend further and the knee comes up
toward your chest. Feel the movement at the front of your hip. Sustain the
position for up to 10 seconds.
KNEEL (Weight Transference)
1. Knell down, sitting on your heels.
2. Shift your hips over to the left side and hold. Try to take your bottom to
3. Then shift your hips to the right side and hold. Repeat the sequence.
This exercise coordinates hip and trunk muscle work while improving hip
Lying on your back, bend your weak leg and bring it up toward your chest.
Holding the knee with both hands, guide it in an arc toward your opposite
shoulder. Use small, repetitive movements to promote mobility in the hip.
(Posterior Gluteal Stretch)
1. Sit on the floor with your weak leg crossed over your strong one, the weak
foot on the floor next to the strong knee, and the weak knee bent up toward
2. Use your hand to apply gentle overpressure at the knee, pulling it up
toward the shoulder on your strong side. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
This exercise stretches the soft tissues lying over the back and outside of
STRETCH (Posterior Hip Stretch)
Lie with your one leg vertically against a wall, with your bottom as close to
the wall as possible. Bend your weak knee and place your ankle on the opposite
thigh, just above the knee. Bend your strong knee slightly and hold. This is a
strong stretch that will be felt on the outside of the weak hip.
PRONE KNEE BEND
Lie on your front with your legs straight and toes gently pointed. Bend
your weak knee so that the foot comes up toward the buttock, to allow the
muscles that run over the front of the hip and into the thigh to lengthen.
Hold, relax and repeat.
Note: Work steadily; don't push yourself to do exercises for which your body
is not ready. You should be able to hold positions for longer than a few
seconds, and repeat 6 to 8 times.