With a concentric contraction, your muscle shortens as it contracts. Strength training exercises consist of a concentric contraction followed by an eccentric contraction, in which the muscle lengthens. For example, during bicep curls, the concentric contraction occurs when you curl the weight toward your shoulder. As you lower the weight, your bicep contracts eccentrically. Hip abductor exercises will consist of both concentric and eccentric contractions.
Hip abduction happens when you lift your legs out to the sides. The hip abduction muscles, which are located at the outside of your hips, include the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. Perform hip abduction exercises two days per week on non-consecutive days to improve overall stability. If you’re just starting out, begin with two sets of 15 repetitions of each exercise on each leg.
Standing Hip Abduction
Standing hip abduction requires the use of a resistance band or a cable. If you’re using a band, attach one end of a band to a stable structure level to the height of your ankle. Stand perpendicular to the stable structure and attach the other end of the band to the ankle furthest away of the structure. While keeping your knees straight, lift your banded leg out to your side as far as you can. This forces your hip abductors to contract concentrically. The band will stretch as you lift your leg and provide resistance. Lower your leg back down and repeat until all of the assigned repetitions are completed. Once you’re finished, turn around and switch the band to your other ankle to work the other leg.
Side Lying Hip Abduction
All you need to perform side lying hip abduction is an exercise mat. Lie on your side with your legs stacked up onto each other. Keep your toes pointed forward and your knees straight as concentrically contract your hip abductors to lift up your top leg until your hip starts to rotate, and then return your leg back down. Stop just short of your legs touching and repeat. After you’re finished with all your repetitions, roll over and switch sides.
Side Bridge Hip Abduction
Side bridge hip abduction is similar to the side lying exercise, but it requires your core muscles to also become involved. Lie on your side on an exercise mat. Place your bottom elbow on the floor directly underneath your shoulder. Pick your hips and torso up off the floor so that your body weight is held up with your elbow and feet. Keep a straight line through your thighs and torso. While holding this position, concentrically contract your hip abductors to raise up your top leg as far as you can before your hips rotate.
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.