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5 Best Exercises for Hips (Strength & Power Routines)

Tracy Thompson
Published by Tracy Thompson
Last updated: May 13, 2023

Having strong and stable hips is essential for staying active and injury-free. But, while we know they are important, it can take time to figure out the best exercises for targeting hips.

Over the past decade, I have designed countless routines for my fitness clients and incorporated hip-specific movements to develop their muscle stability and reduce lower back stress.

This article will outline some of the best hip exercises to strengthen hip muscles and increase physical activity.

Let’s begin.

Quick Summary

  • The best hip strengthening exercises target the hip flexors, hip abductors, and gluteal muscles.
  • Hip strength and mobility exercises help reduce injury risk and hip pain and improve stability.
  • You can perform various hip exercises with a resistance band, weight, or your body weight.

Hip Strengthening Exercises

A man and woman performing the best hip exercises

Each exercise strengthens your hips and can easily be done at home.

1. Weighted Sumo Squat

First, choose a dumbbell or weighted plate appropriate for your fitness level.

  • Standing, hold the weight in front of your chest.
  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  • Point your toes slightly pointed outward.
  • Bend your knees, lowering down into a squat position.
  • Push through your heels as you return to standing, squeezing your glutes at the top.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps.

2. Hip Marching

Begin by sitting on the edge of a chair or bench with knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

  • Keep your right knee bent and raise it as high as you can.
  • Slowly lower and repeat with the left knee.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps.
  • Increase the sets and reps as you get stronger.

3. Leg Raises

Doing leg raises exercise

To begin, lie on your right side, propping your upper body with your elbow.

  • Keep your right leg on the ground.
  • Raise your left leg as high as possible.
  • Do not bend the body or leg.
  • At the top, hold the position for five seconds.
  • Lower down to the starting position and repeat for 8-10 reps.
  • Switch sides.

4. Kettlebell Swing

Pick a kettlebell weight that is appropriate for your fitness level.

  • Place a kettlebell on the ground between your legs, and stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hinge forward, bending your knees into a squat, and grab the kettlebell handle with both hands.
  • Swing the kettlebell between your legs and stand up.
  • Use the momentum from your hips to reach chest level with the weight.
  • At the top, squeeze the glutes and keep your core engaged.
  • Lower back down and repeat the movement.
  • Perform 8-10 reps.

5. Lateral Lunges

A woman doing lateral lunges

Begin the lateral lunge by standing with your feet together and your arms at your sides with a dumbbell in each hand.

  • Take a big step to your right (about 2 feet).
  • When your right foot hits the floor, bend forward at the hips, push your butt back, bend your right knee, and lower into a lunge position.
  • Your arms should be straight with the weights on either side of your knee.
  • Keep your left leg straight.
  • Pause for a moment before pushing off your right leg back to the starting position.
  • Repeat with the other leg to complete one rep.
  • Perform 8-10 reps.

“Everyone can benefit from hip conditioning, even if you don’t have any hip concerns. Stretching and strengthening these muscles can help build stability and flexibility.

- Emily Cronkleton, Certified Yoga Instructor

Hip Exercises for Mobility

Doing hip exercises and stretches

The following are the best hip exercises for mobility and can improve blood circulation.

1. Butterfly Stretch

You will sit on the floor for this stretch.

  • Bend your knees, placing the bottoms of your feet together.
  • With your elbows, press your knees down toward the floor.
  • Keep your upper body straight.
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds.

In time, you can bring your feet closer to the body to achieve a deeper stretch.

2. Hip Circles

Hips circles are a standing exercise that requires balance on one foot, so if you feel unstable, you can use a wall or chair for support.

  • Begin with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Stand on your left foot with your right leg extended.
  • Move your right leg in small circles.
  • Perform 20 clockwise motions and then 20 counter-clockwise motions.
  • Switch legs and repeat.

3. Leg Swings

Stand up straight and ensure your hips are square. Hang onto a railing or chair with your left hand for stability.

  • Cross the left leg over the right leg.
  • Raise the left leg as high as you can, using a slow and controlled motion.
  • Try to get your lifted leg parallel to the floor.
  • Hold briefly and then lower.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps.
  • Switch sides and repeat with the right leg.

Why Exercising This Part of the Body Is Important

Doing stretches top view

There are approximately 20 hip muscles, including the hip flexors, hip abductors, gluteus maximus, and gluteus medius [1].

Keep them strong to aid the body in several ways.

These include:

  • Supporting the pelvis and core,
  • Powering movements like running, jumping, and walking,
  • Reducing back strain,
  • Improving athletic performance,
  • Decreasing hip pain,
  • Reducing injury risk,
  • Promoting good posture.

FAQs

Are Squats Good for Hips?

Yes, squats are good for the hips because they can help build the glutes, which can help take the stress off the hip joint. The Sumo squat is an excellent squat variation for targeting the hips.

How Long Does It Take To Tone Hips?

How long it takes to tone hips depends on the frequency and intensity of your hip-targeting sessions; however, with consistency, you should see minor improvements within a month and a more remarkable difference in three to four.

Exercise Is a Must for Hip Mobility and Strength

It is essential to strengthen weak hip muscles to reduce injury risk, improve physical health, and increase mobility.

My clients range from high-level athletes looking for dynamic movements, older individuals looking for better balance, to others seeking to increase daily functionality.

The exercises outlined here benefit all of them, particularly when done alongside a healthy diet and supplement regimen.

I advise supplementing with tasty protein powders because they can significantly aid muscle recovery and growth, helping you strengthen your hips and avoid hip problems.


References: 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526019/
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