Adding several mobility and strength movements into your training routine can make a really big difference in how you feel and function in the long run. It’s been scientifically proven that bone density can be significantly improved with resistance training.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t done any type of strength training before. You can start any time and experience the benefits of improved bone density, which leads to greater resistance in future bone tissue losses, preserving and maintaining current density, and possibly even increasing it. It is never too late to start.
Lower-body resistance training strengthens the muscles and connective tissue surrounding your hips, which greatly improves the everyday function of your entire body, in addition to improving athletic performance. Do the following three stretches every day, and the three strength movements 2-3 times a week. If you experience moderate hip pain that won’t go away after two weeks, talk to a physical therapist about getting target-specific treatment.
6 Exercises for healthy hips
Below you can find 6 simple exercises for healthy hips – they will improve, strengthen your hips and prevent future hip issues.
If you already have a diagnosis of an underlying hip condition, consult with your doctor before doing these movements. The same applies if your hip pain doesn’t allow you to walk properly or causes pain at night. Seek medical assistance before trying these exercises.
Strength movements for healthy hips
Band Side-Lying Hip Abduction
This movement strengthens the hip abductors, which are a group of muscles, specifically the gluteus medius and minimus, which help keep the body stable while walking and running.
- Begin the movement by lying on your left side with your legs bent and a small resistance band around your lower thighs, just above your knees.
- Roll your trunk forwards and let the top leg get behind the bottom leg. Let your head rest on the bottom arm. Place the opposite hand on the ground in front of your torso for support.
- To start the movement, lift the top leg until you can feel a tight squeeze in your side-butt. Then slowly lower the leg in a controlled manner.
- Perform 20 reps before switching to the right side. Perform 2-3 sets per side, 2-3 times a week.
- To make the movement a bit easier, get rid of the resistance band. To make it harder, lift the upper body off the ground so that you get yourself in a modified side-plank position.
Single-leg Romanian deadlift
This movement lifts you off the ground and uses your hips in a position not so rarely used in everyday life, standing on one leg. When you think about it, walking, running, even climbing stairs are all single-leg activities. You should feel this movement targeting the hamstrings and the glutes, and not in the lower back.
- Stand upright, and grab a dumbbell in each hand, holding it in front of your thighs, with your arms facing toward you. Then, shift your body weight onto your right leg.
- Gently bending your standing leg, lift the left foot a few inches off the ground behind you.
- Whilst keeping the back flat and rigid, “sit back” into your hips and hinge forwards while slowly lowering the dumbbells toward the ground. As you’re lowering the dumbbells, allow the elevated foot to go toward the ceiling. Stop when you start to feel a pull in your hamstrings.
- Return to the starting position. Do 2-3 sets of 20 reps with each leg, 2-3 times a week.
Single-leg Bridge with knee to chest
This movement targets your gluteus maximus, which is an essential muscle for maintaining healthy hips, while the knee to chest part helps stretch your hip flexors at the same time.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart on the ground.
- Bring the left knee to the chest and push into the ground with your right foot to raise the hips, whilst tightly squeezing the glutes as you do. Raise the hips as high as possible without arching your back.
- Whilst keeping your knee pulled toward your chest, lower your hips back down to the ground. Do 10-20 reps before switching to the other side. Do 2-3 sets per side, 2-3 times a week.
- Keeping your knee pulled into your chest, lower your hips back down to the floor. Complete 10 to 20 reps before repeating on the other side. Do two or three sets per side, two or three times per week.
Half-Kneeling Hip-Flexor Stretch
This movement targets both the hip flexors and the quads, which can become tight and limit your range of movement if you happen to be sitting for most of your day.
- Take a low-lunge position, placing your left foot and right knee on the ground, both legs bent at 90 degrees. You can use a folded yoga mat or a cushion to support your knee, to avoid any discomfort. Rest your left hand on your left thigh for support.
- Drag your bellybutton toward your spine to tilt your hips forward, and reach your right arm over your head. You’ll feel a gentle stretch in the front area of your hip.
- Hold this position for half a minute before switching sides. Perform 2-3 sets, 2-3 times a day.
This movement will not only stretch the muscles in front of your legs, i.e. your quads and hip flexors, it is also an overall healthy movement for your lower back. It helps us do the opposite of all the flexed positions we’re in for a bigger part of our days.
- Lie on the stomach with your hands on the ground at shoulder level.
- Whilst exhaling, press through your hands to raise your upper body off the ground until you fully extend your arms while keeping your hips and legs on the ground. Keep your glutes relaxed.
- Take a short pause before bending at the elbows to lower the chest back down to the ground. Do 3 sets of 10 reps, 2-3 times a day.
Supine Figure-Four Stretch
This movement opens your hips and fully stretches your gluteus muscles.
- Lie on your back, bend your right knee with your foot flat on the ground. Bring the left knee toward the chest and slowly guide that ankle to rest on your right thigh.
- Get both hands around the back of your right thigh and slowly pull your leg toward your chest whilst keeping your torso or head from rising from the ground.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, afterward switch sides. Perform 3 sets, 2-3 times a day.