Movement and resilience have become challenging in the digital and gadget era of the past few decades and the recent pandemic. As a result, many vital muscles in the body remain unused for long periods of time, leading to fatigue and exhaustion. In addition, hip joint pain and spine problems are common in desk jobs, as we tend to move these muscles the least while working. Therefore, specific exercises are suitable for us to increase the range of motion and flexibility of these muscles.
Many of us experience pain and discomfort in the lower back and hip joints. Doing these exercises regularly will increase the hip strength of your body.
Hip Exercises: Introduction
The hip muscles are the most important part of the human skeletal system. It forms the core of your body and is the most reliable muscle for the maintenance of posture. The hip muscles work in coordination with the muscles in your spine, neck, shoulders and lower limbs. The major muscles of the hip are the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. They help in changing the overall body weight to avoid pressure on the organs. In addition, it stabilizes the pelvic region, improving overall mobility.
Several muscles aid in movement of the hip. These fall under five major categories: flexion, extension, adduction, medial rotation and lateral rotation muscles.
Physically, flexion is a movement in which the muscles of the thigh, or lower limb, move closer to the abdomen. The muscles that assist in this type of movement in the hip area are as follows.
- Psoas aided by Iliacus
- Tensor Fascia Latte
Extension is the opposite of flexion. The muscles that bring about this movement in the hip are as follows.
- gluteus maximus
- inferior part of adductor magnus
4-5 muscles of the adductor group are in the pelvic region. As a result, the thigh moves closer to the midline of the body. The hip muscles involved in this movement are as follows.
This movement occurs when the legs open to the side. There are muscles involved.
- Lateral rotator group of muscles
- gluteus maximus
- lower part of adductor magnus
Medial rotation is the opposite of lateral rotation. There are muscles involved.
- gluteus medius
- gluteus maximus
- adder brevis
- Superior part of adductor magnus
All of these muscles have a unique function but work in a coordinated manner to bring about range of motion, mobility and flexibility of the hip.
The HealthifyMe Note
All five muscle groups are involved in your hip movement. Therefore, it is necessary to work towards strengthening and stretching these muscles in order to function smoothly. If you pay equal attention to everyone, you can be free from any hip-movement problems.
best exercises to increase hip strength
When talking about hip strength, the main focus should be on increasing flexibility and building the strength of the hip muscles mentioned above. The important muscles are the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus. These muscles are involved in almost all hip movements. Hence, we are mentioning here some exercises on the same topic.
A resistance band will be needed for this exercise. Use a thicker band for better results. The steps involved are here.
- Arrange yourself on the mat laterally (on the right or left) by tying a resistance band across the lower thighs.
- Raise your top leg to the highest point and hold for a few seconds.
- Bring your leg back to the normal position.
- You can do about three sets with 15 repetitions.
- Repeat this with the other leg.
This exercise not only increases hip strength but also builds and stabilizes the pelvic region, thus preventing fatigue, injury and weakness.
straight leg extension
This exercise helps strengthen the hip muscles, primary flexors and extension muscles. The steps are as follows:
- Lie on your back in an upright position.
- Bend the feet slightly so that the sole of the foot remains on the ground.
- Keeping one leg straight, raise it in the form of a triangle.
- Hold it in the same position for a few seconds and repeat with the other leg.
- You can do three sets with ten repetitions in each.
This exercise is specific to the quadriceps muscle and the hip muscles. The steps are as follows:
- First of all, stand straight with your palm and fingers facing down.
- Extend your right leg. This will make a 90 degree angle.
- Next, bring your right leg back and repeat it with your left leg.
- You can do several sets for 2-3 minutes.
Regular exercise stabilizes and strengthens your entire lower back, hips and limbs.
This is a modified version of squats that provide more benefits. It includes a resistance band. The steps are listed below.
- Take a squat position with the resistance band around your lower thighs.
- Now instead of squatting, start moving to the side in the same position.
- The steps should be small, and the count should be about 10-15.
- After completing it on one side, move to the other side to balance the effort.
This is the only exercise that strengthens and activates all of your hip muscles.
- Lie on your back on a high position. It will help if you bend the knees, and the soles should be flat on the ground.
- Begin squeezing your glutes and push your hips into the air.
- After a few seconds, lower the hips and begin to repeat.
- Twelve repetitions for three sets are enough to start.
This exercise focuses on all the muscles of the lower back. This will require a dumbbell.
- Hold a dumbbell in front of your chest with both your hands.
- Keep a high surface nearby and start stepping on the higher surface one foot at a time.
- Stand straight on a high surface. Then, lower down from the elevated surface and repeat the motion.
- You can do fifteen repetitions for three sets.
best exercises to increase hip mobility
First, you should focus on strengthening your hip muscles. The next step is to increase the flexibility of the hip muscles and lower back because strength and flexibility define fitness.
Below are some of the best exercises.
This exercise aids in stretching and mobility. Also, this exercise activates all the muscles of the hip.
- Stand straight with your legs and arms relaxed.
- Extend your left leg so that both feet form a triangle with the floor.
- Now bend your right knee slightly and hold for a few seconds.
- You can do this in two sets with fifteen reps on each leg.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts
This exercise focuses on improving the balance and mobility of your hip and hamstrings.
- First, bend your right knee at a certain angle and hold a dumbbell in your left hand.
- With a straight spine, lift your left leg
- return to starting position
- repeat this for both legs
- You can do three sets of fifteen reps
This exercise is undoubtedly good for arthritis patients. This ensures maximum flexibility in your lower body.
- lie on your back
- bring your knees to your chest
- Wrap your arms over your knees for extra support
- Stay in this position for 30-40 seconds
- Repeat this stretch about 3-4 times
plantar hip flexor
This exercise helps in stretching your lower back and glutes. It is like a knee-chest exercise.
- lie on your back
- raise your right knee to your chest
- Repeat this process with the left knee as well
- hold each knee for about 40 seconds
- You can do this stretching about 3-5 times
This exercise is considered advanced on the list. It also aids in mobility of the thighs.
- settle yourself on the edge of a chair
- Bend your knees and raise your left leg as high as you can
- repeat this with the right leg
- Right and left leg stretching is one rep
- Do about three sets of 15 reps
This is the most common exercise recommended for all people with tight hips. This is the easiest to do.
- sit on a flat surface
- bring your ankles closer to the pelvic area or core
- start moving your knees synchronously
- Start slow and then gradually speed up
- You can do this exercise as a warm-up session for about 1-2 minutes.
Ways to improve weak or tight hips
Weak or tight hips means there is a problem with the flexor muscles of the hip. There may be problems with walking, standing, and even sitting.
There are many reasons for the hardening or weakening of the hip muscles. The main ones are:
- maintaining the same posture for long periods of time (fine desk job)
- Arthritis (osteoarthritis)
- Lack of physical activity (mainly after surgery): muscle degeneration
- improper diet
difference between tight and weak hips
Both tight and weak hips are caused by flexor muscles. They have one common reason: sitting in one position for long periods of time. While weak hips only affect the hip area, tight hips are associated with problems with the lower back and spine.
treatment for weak hips
Several exercises can strengthen especially weak hips. You can strengthen weak hips if you practice these exercises regularly.
From the name it may sound like climbing a mountain. But fret not; Not so with this exercise. You can also do this exercise at home.
- Assume a plank position and face down
- Slowly bring your right knee to your chest and extend your left leg
- Repeat this process with your left knee as well
- Remember, the more effort you put in, the stronger your muscles will be
- You can repeat the cycle for 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg.
- You can use the slider to avoid friction on slippery surfaces.
Wall Pso Hold (No Wall Support)
This exercise is specifically for hip movement.
- Stand straight with feet slightly apart.
- Bend the knee and lift the leg off the floor to hip level.
- Balance the leg for 40 seconds
- Repeat the same process on the other leg
These are the major exercises that focus on weakening the hip flexor muscles. Apart from this, choosing resistance band training strengthens the hips.
treatment of tight hips
Although the cause of weak and tight hips is the same, but the treatment of both is not the same, that is, the exercises that fix weak hips can be dangerous for tight hips. Therefore, some exercises to fix tight hips are listed below.
Squat is the most common exercise for all hip related problems. In addition, it ensures strength, mobility and flexibility. It is an all-in-one package. They are also easy to perform.
- Stand straight with the legs slightly spread and the arms slightly bent as if in a running position.
- Now bend the knees in front and push the glutes back
- Lower until knees are at chest level with legs and arms
- now get up without support
- You can change the requirement according to your workout. But the basic level is 10-15 reps.
Eventually, when the flexibility of your hips increases, you can add weight to the squats.
Apart from this important exercise, you can also do lunges and straight leg raises for tight hips.
It is important to fix tight and weak hips as soon as possible, as they are harmful and can cause many damages like the following.
- lower back pain
- decreased mobility
- improper walking style
- chronic hip disease
- Muscle atrophy/degeneration
- lower leg injuries
- limited mobility
The HealthifyMe Note
Several exercises can help you improve your weak or tight hips. Exercise is a great prevention strategy and can be a preventative measure in the early stages. But, let’s say you are experiencing severe lower back pain and negligible mobility. In that case, it is best to see a physician.
Hips are the most important part of the human body. A slight change in their structure can lead to serious consequences, as you may not even be able to walk properly. Regular exercise and proper diet are the only ways to maintain hip strength. Building hip strength means increasing your overall core strength. Furthermore, the hip is the only connection between the upper and lower body. Hence, it is wise to maintain it with proper care.