20 Hip-strengthening Exercises You Can Do at Home

Your hips do a lot of work—here's how to keep them strong.

Turns out, Shakira's not the only one who believes hips don't lie. Those ball-and-socket joints do a lot of work all day, so taking care of them through hip strengthening and stretching can improve range of motion and posture, and reduce pain and discomfort to help keep your hips functioning at their best.

When a person has tight hips, it generally means that they've been sitting a lot, like at a desk job working on a computer all day, according to Chelsey Wilkens, NASM-CPT, a trainer at Soho Strength Lab in New York City. "By doing active stretches before or after sitting for extended periods of time, you'll help relax the area, feel less tight, and allow yourself to sit comfortably for longer," Wilkens said. "This will also help protect from injuries."

Hip strength and mobility can also help improve movement patterns and posture. "If one joint isn't working as it should—say, the hips are tight and immobile—this can cause stress for the joint above or below it," Wilkens explained. When the hip tightens, it can stress the low back or the knee joint, which can then alter posture and gait (how you walk) and also lead to injuries.

Another reason your hips are so important? They absorb most of the movement of your body, said Wilkens. "They take on standing stress, sitting stress, and stabilizing stress," Wilkens explained. "So adding strength to the part of your body that gives you the greatest support will improve your ability to move throughout daily tasks without hesitation." According to a small 2017 study published in the Journal of Osteoporosis, study participants with hip osteoarthritis (deterioration of the joint and bone) experienced a significant decrease in hip pain after a 12-week exercise program.

When you're ready to get your hips strong and mobile, use this routine created by Wilkens to warm up and then strengthen key areas of the hips. Add this workout into your routine one to two times per week to get the best results.

Hip Strengthening Exercises To Try

  • World's greatest stretch
  • Banded ankle kick-slides
  • Banded glute bridge
  • Dynamic banded glute bridge
  • Quadruped pigeon
  • Half-frog straddle stretch
  • Banded lateral squat walks
  • Banded quadruped donkey kick
  • Banded quadruped fire hydrant
  • Banded prone hamstring curl
  • Weighted single-leg glute bridge
  • Weighted front rack squat
  • Weighted sumo squat
  • Weighted transverse lunge
  • Weighted supported single-leg deadlift
  • Front lunge
  • Squat to reverse lunge
  • Lateral lunge to balance
  • Single-leg deadlift to airplane
  • Jump squat out-in-twist

6 Warm-up Exercises for Hip Mobility

World's Greatest Stretch

Meredith

1. Start in a plank position, hands on the floor stacked directly under shoulders, core engaged, body in a straight line from head to heels.

2. Step right foot forward and outside of right hand.

3. Lift right hand, place behind the head, and lower right elbow toward the floor.

4. Then reach your elbow toward the ceiling, as you rotate your torso to the right. Hold for 3 seconds.

5. Place hand back down and step right leg back to plank. Then, repeat on the left side. Continue alternating for 5 reps on each side.

Banded Ankle Kick-slides

Meredith

1. Place a looped band around ankles and stand with feet hip-width apart. Sit back slightly into hips. Standing on the left leg, drive right leg out to the side, straightening the knee.

2. Then step back to hip-width. Repeat for 10 reps.

3. Then, drive your right leg diagonally behind you, straightening your knee. Then step back to hip-width.

4. Repeat for 10 reps. Then switch sides. Do 10 reps each on the left side.

Banded Glute Bridge

Meredith

1. Place a looped band around the thighs, above the knees. Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, about 6 inches in front of glutes and hip-distance apart. Without letting your knees fall inward, engage your core and glutes as you push through heels to raise your hips toward the ceiling.

2. Slowly lower back down. Repeat for 15 reps.

Dynamic Banded Glute Bridge

Meredith

1. Place a looped band around the thighs, above the knees. Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, about 6 inches in front of glutes and hip-distance apart. Without letting your knees fall inward, engage your core and glutes as you push through heels to raise your hips toward the ceiling.

2. Slowly walk feet about 3 small steps forward, then walk them back under knees. Keep hips lifted the entire time. Repeat for 5 reps.

Quadruped Pigeon

Meredith

1. Begin in an all-fours position, hands stacked under shoulders, knees directly under hips, toes tucked. Bring the right ankle in front of the left knee, shin parallel to hips and shoulders. Push hips back, fold forward at the waist, and bring left forearm to the floor.

2. Then, reach the right arm straight out and toward the left side. Hold for 5 breaths.

3. Then walk hands back up under shoulders. Repeat for 3 reps, then switch sides.

Half-Frog Straddle Stretch

Meredith

1. Begin kneeling on the floor. Extend the right leg straight out to the side, foot planted. Bring the left foot slightly outward so the knee bends 90 degrees. Bend forward at the waist and place forearms on the floor in front of you, back slightly arched.

2. Gently rock forward and backward for 5 breaths, then switch legs.

14 Hip-strengthening Exercises

Banded Lateral Squat Walks

Meredith

1. Place a looped band around ankles and stand with feet hip-width apart. Push hips back to lower into a shallow squat position.

2. Step right leg out slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, then step left leg in so feet are hip-width apart. Continue for 10 reps. Don't let your knees fall inward.

3. Repeat, moving laterally to the left for 10 steps.

Banded Quadruped Donkey Kick

Meredith

1. Place a looped band around the thighs, above the knees. Come to the floor on all fours, hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees directly under hips, toes tucked. Keeping right knee bent 90 degrees, foot flexed, back flat, and weight evenly distributed on both sides of the body, lift right leg and kick heel toward the ceiling.

2. Slowly lower leg back down. Repeat for 10 reps, then switch legs.

Banded Quadruped Fire Hydrant

Meredith

1. Place a looped band around the thighs, above the knees. Come to the floor on all fours, hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees directly under hips, toes tucked. Keeping right knee bent at 90 degrees, foot flexed, back flat, and weight evenly distributed on both sides of the body, lift right knee out to the side and up to hip level.

2. Slowly lower back down. Repeat for 10 reps, then switch legs.

Banded Prone Hamstring Curl

1. Place a looped band around the right ankle and arch of the left foot. Lie flat on your stomach, hands stacked under your chin, legs extended behind you, toes tucked. Keeping left foot steady, bend right knee to curl right foot up toward glutes.

2. Slowly lower back down. Repeat for 10 reps, then reposition the band and repeat on the other leg.

Weighted Single-leg Glute Bridge

Meredith

1. Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, about 6 inches in front of glutes, and hip distance apart. Keeping thighs parallel, extend right leg straight up toward ceiling and place dumbbell on left hip. This is your starting position. Without letting your knees fall inward, brace your core and glutes as you push through your left heel to raise your hips toward the ceiling.

2. Slowly lower back down to starting position. Repeat for 10 reps, then switch sides.

Weighted Front Rack Squat

Meredith

1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward, one dumbbell in each hand, raised up to shoulder level with dumbbells parallel to shoulders, palms facing you. Keeping your back straight, upper body tall, push knees outward as you bend knees and send hips down and back to lower into a squat.

2. Push through your feet to stand back up. Repeat for 10 reps.

Weighted Sumo Squat

Meredith

1. Stand with feet reasonably wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed outward, one dumbbell in each hand, arms extended with weights between legs, palms facing inward. Keeping your back straight, upper body tall, push knees outward as you bend knees and send hips down and back to lower into a sumo squat.

2. Push through heels to stand back up. Repeat for 10 reps.

Weighted Transverse Lunge

Meredith

1. Start standing with a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended down by your sides. Position left toes behind the right ankle, lifting the left heel. This is your starting position. Step left leg out toward a four o'clock position and lower down, both knees bending. Dumbbells should frame the front right foot.

2. Push through both feet to stand back up, bringing the left foot forward and back to starting position. Repeat for 10 reps, then switch legs.

Weighted Supported Single-leg Deadlift

Meredith

1. Start with feet hip-width apart, dumbbell in left hand, right hand on wall, bar, chair, or any anchor for balance. Keeping back flat, hinge at the hips to lower chest forward and dumbbell toward the ground as you simultaneously raise your left leg behind you. Keep the dumbbell close to your body, like it's replacing your left foot.

2. Press through the right foot to rise back up to standing. Repeat for 10 reps, then switch sides.

Front Lunge

Meredith

1. Start standing with feet staggered wider than shoulder-width, right foot in front and left foot behind, with heel lifted off the floor. Bend front right knee past 90 degrees, back left knee bending only slightly.

2. Push through the front right foot to straighten the right leg and come back up to standing in a staggered stance. Repeat for 10 reps, then switch sides.

Squat To Reverse Lunge

Meredith

1. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward. Keeping back straight, upper body tall, push knees outward as you bend knees and send hips down and back to lower into a squat.

2. Push through feet to stand back up.

3. Then, step right leg back into a reverse lunge position, both knees bending 90 degrees.

3. Step back up to stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width.

4. Repeat, stepping your left leg back to reverse lunge after your squat. Repeat for 20 reps, 10 on each leg with a squat between each.

Lateral Lunge to Balance

1. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Without bending the left leg, step the right leg out to the side and bend the knee to lower into a side lunge, hips going straight back, toes and knee pointing forward.

2. Push through the right foot to stand back up and pull the right knee towards the chest, balancing only on the left foot. Repeat for 10 reps before you place your right foot back down to switch sides and repeat for 10 reps on the left side.

Single-leg Deadlift to Airplane

Meredith

1. Start standing with feet hip-width apart, arms extended down by sides. Shift weight to the right foot. Keeping back flat, hinge at hips to lower chest forward, as you simultaneously raise your left leg behind you, until you're about parallel to the floor.

2. Keeping arms extended, slowly lift your right hand toward the ceiling, in line with your shoulder.

3. Lower your right arm back down in front of you.

4. Then, press through the right foot to stand back up, still balancing on the right foot. Repeat for 6 reps, then switch sides.

Jump Squat Out-in-Twist

Meredith

1. Start in a squat, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, upper body tall and core engaged.

2. Keeping upper body tall, jump feet almost together.

3. Then, jump to twist the lower body to the right, shoulders still facing forward. And quickly jump again to re-twist hips to face the front.

4. Jump feet back out to slightly wider than hip-width, landing softly back into a squat position.

5. Repeat, this time twisting to the left. Continue alternating twists, with a squat jump in between, for 10 reps.

Hip strength exercises help to maintain or improve posture and movement while reducing hip and lower back discomfort from long hours of sitting or standing. Before starting a new exercise routine it is recommended that you talk with a healthcare provider to be sure it's safe for you.

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