How to Strengthen Your Hip Muscles

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Four muscle groups surround your hips -- the adductors, the abductors, the flexors and the extensors. The adductors, your inner thigh muscles, are responsible for keeping your legs from splaying out to the sides, while the abductors, deeper muscles located at the sides of your hips, externally rotate your hips. Your extensors consist of your buttocks and hamstrings, and your flexors of muscles at the front of your hip, widely known as the iliopsoas. It is important to strengthen all hip muscles to avoid developing muscle imbalances and overuse injuries.

  • Do bridges to strengthen your buttocks and hamstrings. Lie on your back face-up, your arms extended at your sides and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly lift your hips toward the ceiling pushing through your heels until your knee, hip and shoulder are in a straight line. Tighten your buttocks as you do this. Hold for two seconds and repeat 10 to 20 times.

  • Strengthen your adductors with the adductor-squeeze exercise. The starting position for this exercise is the same as for the previous exercise. Place a ball, yoga block or rolled towel between your knees. Slowly squeeze the object between your knees by tightening your adductors. Hold for five seconds and repeat 10 to 20 times as hard as you can without experiencing pain.

  • Strengthen your hip flexors with the straight-leg raise. Lie face up on the floor, your arms extended at your side and your legs straight out. Keeping your legs straight, lift them up into the air as far as you can or until your toes point toward the ceiling, You must only use your abdominals and hip flexors to move your legs. Lower your legs down without them touching the ground. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

  • Do side-lying leg lift to strengthen your abductors. Lie on your side, the arm closest to the floor extended under your head and the other arm bent, its palm supporting your body in front of you. Your back and knee should be straight and your foot face forward. Slowly lift your leg up into the air by contracting the muscles at the side of your hip as far as you can with the foot in the same position. Hold for two seconds at the peak of the movement, and repeat 10 to 20 times.

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  • Photo Credit buttock strengthening image by Leticia Wilson from Fotolia.com
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