The hips are an important part of our mobility system, one that undergoes a lot of wear and tear throughout the years. They are one of the most common sites of osteoarthritis, for this reason, which is why it is so important to make sure you are properly exercising your hip muscles, so they can continue to, literally, support you for many years to come.
Exercises to Strengthen Hips
For this exercise, place two dumbbells or a weighted barbell on the floor in front of you and start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart while keeping your knees slightly bent. A barbell should be placed just over the tips of your toes and the two dumbbells should be on either side of your feet.
With your back and arms straight, bend at the waist, grasp the barbell or the two dumbbells, and lift your chest, bringing the weights with you. Keep your back and arms as straight as possible throughout, to avoid straining your lower back muscles. Return the weight to the floor by slowly bending again at the waist. Do this exercise in sets of 10.
The starting position for this exercise is the same as the one before, but you can only perform this exercise with dumbbells. Hold the dumbbells in your hands to start. Keeping one leg slightly bent, lift the other behind you at the same time as you slowly bend forward at the hips. As your torso becomes parallel with the ground, your arms will naturally hang parallel to the leg you are standing on. Slowly lift back up, using your chest and keeping your back straight, and lower your lifted leg until you are again at the starting position. Repeat in sets of 10 for each leg.
Bridges on Ball
You will need an exercise ball for this one. To start, lie on your back on the floor with your calves resting on the exercise ball in front of you. Using the muscles in your lower back, butt, and hamstrings, lift your hips up as far as you can while keeping your shoulders on the floor. Move as slowly as you need to keep your balance on the ball. Hold the bridge for 3 seconds and then lower your hips back to the floor. This exercise should be done in 3 sets of 10 reps.
This exercise can be done with either dumbbells or a weighted barbell resting on the tops of your shoulders. To begin, stand with your legs a little more than shoulder-width apart, balancing the weight on your shoulders with your hands. Squeezing your buttocks together, squat down as low as you can. Do not bend your knees past your toes and keep your back and straight as possible. Slowly rise back into a standing position and repeat 10 times.
To begin this exercise, lie on the ground on your side. Place one hand underneath your shoulder and lift your body until your arm is straight, legs stacked on top of each other, and hips off the ground. Your body and legs should be making a triangle with your arm and the ground. Hold for up to 30 seconds and then relax back onto the floor. Do this 3 times for each side. For an easier version for beginners, rest on your forearm to begin instead of your palms.
Making these exercises a part of your daily stretching or workout routine will make sure that your hips are well taken care of for the future.
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