Between your hip adductors, abductors, flexors and your glutes, your hip bones are surrounded by muscles. These muscles are involved in almost any type of core or lower-body movement you can imagine, whether it’s walking, jumping, running or literally shaking your hips on the dance floor. Make sure you strengthen all of your major hip muscle groups as part of a well-rounded exercise plan.
Perform abduction and adduction exercises using a low cable machine. To work your hip abductors, attach a cuff to your left ankle and turn your right shoulder to the machine so the cable is taut. Position your right foot behind and to the left of your cuffed ankle, then exhale as you raise your left leg to the side -- away from the machine -- until your leg is about parallel to the floor. Inhale and return to the starting position, keeping both legs straight at all times. Perform adduction exercises in the same manner, but attach the cuff to the ankle closest to the machine, position yourself farther from the cable’s starting point, then lift the cuffed ankle toward the machine. In either case, repeat the exercise with both legs.
Hop on a pair of parallel bars to work your hip flexors and adductors. Place your forearms on top of the bars and position your body vertically so your feet are off the floor. Exhale as you lift your thighs and raise your knees toward your upper chest. Pause for about one second at the top of your movement, then inhale as you lower your legs to the starting position.
Perform barbell squats to strengthen your gluteus maximus and adductor magnus muscles. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and place the barbell across the back of your neck and shoulders. Grasp it from the rear, to the sides of your shoulders, with your palms facing forward. Inhale as you bend your knees and hips to lower yourself, as if you were sitting down. Stop when your thighs are a bit beyond horizontal. Exhale as you lift your torso back to the starting position. Keep your back straight and head up at all times.
- Begin each workout with five to 10 minutes of light cardio exercise, plus some dynamic hip stretches, such as walking with high knees, butt kicks and walking lunges.
- Consult your physician before starting a new exercise routine.
- Stop performing any exercise if you feel pain. Be particularly mindful of your lower back when you’re doing squats.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.