Strengthening the hips are highly beneficial when experiencing any type of hip pain or weakness as result of injury, chronic conditions, or surgery. Many studies have found that increasing muscle strength surrounding the hips not only minimises the intensity of pain but improves functional capabilities in patients such as, range of movement at the joint, power, and stability. If you have experienced any discomfort or weakness, try the following top three exercises to create bullet proof hips, from our Sports Injury Specialist!
- The Clamshell
The gluteal muscles control the hips in external and internal rotational movements during daily activities. If the glute muscles are underactive and weak, the hips are vulnerable to instability. Therefore, creating more load on the lower back and causing severe lower back pain. This exercise encourages glute activation, strength and improves hip mobility to reduce the risk of injury and lower back pain.
Start by lying on your side with your legs at 90 degrees with your feet and knees touching, place the band slightly above. Slowly begin to open your top knee towards the ceiling keeping your toes touching. Hold and squeeze the buttocks in this position for two seconds, then slowly return the leg back to your original position.
- The Hip Thrust
The hip thrust is a great exercise as it can be an advanced or a basic. Training this movement is not only going to generally improve the strength in your hips, but the glutes and quadriceps too. The elevated motion places the hips into a more vulnerable state, challenging the muscles through movement, testing coordination and proprioception.
Hip thrusts are performed starting in a seated position (feet flat on the floor) with your shoulder blades placed against a bench. You can add extra weight to your hips or simply use a band around your knees to increase the difficulty of this exercise.
Squeeze both your abdominals and gluteal muscles while you raise your hips in with you parallel with your knees and shoulders. Squeeze the buttocks at the top of the movement and hold for two seconds. Slowly return the hips back to your starting position.
- Supine Banded March
While the anterior chain is naturally stronger than the posterior chain, it is important not to neglect the hip flexors as they are key muscles in stabilising the pelvis. They are powerful muscles used in explosive movements such as running and jumping. The ‘Supine Banded March’ will train both the core and hip flexors creating support and strength in the hips.
Start this exercise by laying on your back placing the band around the soles of your feet. Push your lower back into the floor raising your heels off the ground and engaging your core, pulling your belly button to your ribs. Begin to drive your knee to your chest keeping your remaining leg straight, hold for two seconds and slowly return to the extended leg. Repeat this both legs keeping the core engaged and resistance on the band.
Blog post author: Nicole Burns. MSc, Sports Therapist. Nicole holds a BSc in Sports Therapy and an MSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine. Nicole has worked with both professional and amateur athletes and specialises in non-surgical management of sports injury.