Five Hip Exercises to Increase Muscle Strength

Hip pain is becoming very common. This pain can originate from several sources like arthritic changes, weakness of muscles, some recent or history of the labrum or ligament tears, postoperative pain and weakness. Hip discomfort can also occur if one is constantly using wrong positions while walking, sitting, standing or exercising. In this article, I am going to discuss some important hip exercises. The article is aimed to discuss general exercises for the hip. Remember, I am not discussing any diagnosis specific exercises here rather these are strengthening exercises concentrating hip to reduce pain, increase mobility and flexibility.

So don’t forget to ask your health care providers or comment below with any specific questions.

  1. SLR (Straight Leg Raises) :

While lying on your back, bend the unaffected knee and gently lift the leg up. Make sure your affected knee (the one you are lifting in the air) is straight. Lifting it up to 60 to 70 degrees should be fine. Try not to put any pressure on your back and be careful about the arching of the back while doing this exercise.

Hold it for 3 to 5 seconds. Increase the hold to 10 to 15 seconds. You can also add some ankle weights to increase strength.

Frequency: Repeat it 10 times twice a day.

hip exercise

You can add bridging with SLR to make it a little harder (as shown in the picture below).

hip exercise

Adding some ankle weights is another way to advance this exercise.

You can also perform the same exercise in standing. For this, kick the leg straight in front without bending at the waist. You can have the support of a chair or a wall for balance. Below is a picture showing SLR in standing.

This figure demonstrates hip flexion done in standing with the T band. So it is a type of resistance exercise.

hip exercise

2. Bridging:

Lay down on your back. Bend both knees, hands-on side in a relaxed position. Gently lift your pelvis area up while pushing down with your heels. Hold it for 3 seconds if you can. Repeat it 10 times twice a day.

hip exercise


3. Hip Abduction:

Position: Lying on the unaffected side or standing.

hip exercise

Keep the unaffected knee bent, and gently lift the affected leg up with keeping the knee straight. Hold it for 3 to 5 seconds. Increase the hold to 10 to 15 seconds. You can also add ankle weights to increase strength. Repeat it on the other side.

In standing kick the leg outwards as shown in the picture. No bending sideways at waist allowed.

hip exercise

4. Hip Extension:

You are in the same position as shown in the picture above. The only difference is here you are kicking backward. It will only be a baby movement at the hip. Make sure you are not using your back like leaning backward etc.. Below is a picture demonstrating how to do this exercise.

hip exercise

Just like other exercises above, you can also perform this exercise in standing.


hip exercise

5. Squats:

There are a few ways to do hip squats. Depending on pain level, and muscle strength, a therapist may change the body position, knee bending and amount of support a person gets during this exercise. Below is one of the many ways to perform hip squats.

hip exercise

The main thing to remember for this exercise is that you don’t want to put any extra pressure through your knees. That means you are exercising to increase the strength of muscles and not to increase arthritic changes in the joints!! So remember to stick your buttocks out, legs hip-width apart, and bend the knees. Your knees should not cross your toes. Doing this exercise with correct posture will ensure you are using glutes and hams truly along with other knee and ankle muscles.

Bonus Exercise: Clamshell Exercises:

This is a famous exercise for IT band. I have included this exercise with hip as many people with hip issues (THR, labrum tear, Hip fracture) complain of pain on the outer thigh area. The tightness of I-T band or piriformis syndrome are a topic in themselves to discuss. But this is a basic exercise that I usually include in hip pain regime.

hip exercise


With this article, I tried to cover major hip exercises that you can use as a part of your exercise regime. Depending on muscle strength, activity level, and pain level, you need to determine the position as well as external resistance. You can use ankle weight, T band, Elastic bands to perform resistance training.

Hope this article helps with some deconditioning and muscle strength.

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NOTE: The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, dietary supplement, exercise, or other health program.
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