Getting stronger and more flexible hips and inner thighs doesn't require a gym membership or expensive equipment. By using your own body weight and the environment -- park, high school stadium, backyard -- you can create dozens of exercises to build better muscle tone, speed and power. Performing full-body exercises will work all muscles in your lower body, including your hips and inner thighs.
Stair Running or Striding
Running or striding up a flight of stairs works on full hip and leg extension, which helps you produce more power. While your glutes -- or buttocks -- and quadriceps do most of the work, your inner thighs are working just as hard to stabilize your thighs so that they don't rotate your legs outward as you run. Warm up by walking up and down the steps one at a time for one to two minutes before jogging up the stairs. When you're mentally ready, stride or run up the steps two at a time for six to 12 seconds -- depending on the number of steps available -- and walk back down to the bottom of the steps. This counts as one repetition. Repeat the exercise for eight to 12 reps.
Calisthenic exercises train all muscles in your hips and legs, building core stability and balance at levels difficult to achieve with exercise machines. Calisthenics rely on your own body weight and gravity, and they can be helpful in performance enhancement and daily activities. Simple calisthenic exercises include squats, step-ups and lunges. Once you're familiar with these exercises, do a circuit training routine in which you perform all three exercises without rest in between. This helps you burn more calories in less time while improving cardiovascular endurance and mental focus. For the step-ups and lunges, explore moving in different directions, such as laterally and diagonally, to create variety in your workout.
Stretch and Relax
The type of stretching you do depends on whether you stretch before or after a workout. Despite the conventional dogma, static stretching before a workout, which means holding a muscle in its lengthened position for 20 to 30 seconds, can reduce your strength by as much as five percent, according to the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. Therefore, save static stretching -- hamstring stretch, kneeling hip flexor stretch, butterfly groin stretch -- for after your workout. Warm up your legs and hips with dynamic stretching instead. Dynamic stretching moves your muscles and joints through various planes of motion repetitively to stimulate the nervous system and increase tissue elasticity. Sample exercises include leg and hip swings, Sun Salutation, walking knee lifts and walking butt kicks.
No matter how easy the exercises appear to be, never train if you feel pain in your hips, lower back or groin. Consult with your health care provider before starting any exercise program. Take a longer rest period if you need to recover after a bout of stair running or circuit training. Stay hydrated during your workout to prevent early fatigue, muscle cramps and light-headedness.
- Core Performance: Q&A: Running Stairs
- kenHub: The Hip Adductors
- Core Performance: Squats Done Right
- ExRx.net: Lunge
- Core Performance: Lunge - Lateral Bodyweight
- ExRx.net: Lateral Step-up
- "Athletic Body in Balance"; Gray Cook; 2003
- Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports: Does Pre-exercise Static Stretching Inhibit Maximal Muscular Performance?
- ExRx.net: Seated Groin Stretch
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images