Strengthen your hips with these 5 exercises

Exercises to strengthen our hips can be an essential part of our workout routine, especially as we age.

Too much sitting and minimal exercise can mean that many of us are left with tight, weak or inflexible hips. The good news is that there are exercises that can help.

When strengthening the hips, exercises that target the muscles that cross over the hip joint can help to improve stability and mobility in this area. So, think the glute muscles (bottom), inner thigh muscles and psoas muscles (deep core).

Here, we share a number of helpful exercises to add into your routine for stronger hips.

Don’t forget to warm up

Before diving into strengthening exercises, make sure your body feels warm. March on the spot, lightly jog or do some jumping jacks. Ensuring you’re warm will fire up your muscles and reduce the likelihood of injury.

As with any exercise routine, do check with your doctor if you have any concerns or injuries. Always stop an exercise if it causes you pain.

5 exercises to strengthen the hips

Bridge pose

This exercise helps to build strength in your glute muscles, while giving the hips a stretch.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bring your arms down by your sides, palms pressing into the floor.
  3. As you inhale, gently peel your pelvis off the ground, pushing your hips towards the sky. Engage your glute muscles as you do this.
  4. Exhale and lower your pelvis to the floor, one vertebrae at a time.
  5. Repeat 3-10 times, building up gradually.

Take it to the next level: Repeat this exercise, but with one leg extended up to the sky. Keep your hips level as you lift your hips up and down. Repeat 2-5 times on each side, building up as you get stronger.

The clamshell

A favourite of Pilates teachers, the clamshell is one of the best exercises to strengthen your hips by working the inner and outer thighs and the glutes. It may also help to relieve tension in the lower back.

  1. Lie on your side with your legs (and hips) stacked on top of one another. Use your lower arm to support your head.
  2. Bend your knees about 45-degrees, keeping the ankles together. Engage your core.
  3. Slowly, while keeping the ankles together, raise your upper knee a few inches. Keep your hips stable and steady.
  4. Pause and then return to the starting position.
  5. Do 5-10 reps on each side, adding more reps as you get stronger.

Donkey kicks

This is another great exercise for targeting the glutes to help strengthen and stabilise the hips.

  1. Start on all fours, with your wrists beneath your shoulders and knees beneath the hips.
  2. Engage your core.
  3. Lift one leg out behind you, bringing your knee in line with your hip. Bend your knee and flex your foot so that the sole of your foot is facing the ceiling.
  4. Gently pulse your foot up and down a couple of inches for 5-20 reps, keeping your hips level.
  5. Lower the knee and repeat on the opposite side.

Knee raises

Stabilise your core while you work your glutes and quads.

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips and engage your core.
  2. Slowly bend one knee and raise it level with your hip. Ensure you keep standing tall.
  3. Pause and lower.
  4. Repeat 5-10 times before repeating on the opposite side.

Want to make it harder? Hold weights in your hands as you do this move.

Side leg raises

Strengthen your glutes and thighs with this effective yet low impact move.

  1. Lay on your side, with your legs and hips stacked on one another. Support your head with your lower arm.
  2. Engage your core.
  3. Lift your leg in the air, going as high as feels comfortable.
  4. Pause and then lower back to the starting position.
  5. Do 5-10 reps on each side, building up to more as you get stronger.

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