Your hip abductors are involved in everyday movements such as walking, standing, bending and exercising. When the muscles are weak, other muscles in your lower body work to make up for the lack of hip strength. This overcompensation leads to injuries that can limit your activity. Returning to full health involves strengthening your hip abductors with moves that don’t stress your joints. Completing this kind of rehabilitation work restores your stability, balance and mobility.
Resistance Band Exercises
Resistance bands are used by physical therapists and trainers to help clients strengthen their hip abductors and restore balance. Working your hip abductors with standing, seated or floor exercises with bands allows you to apply resistance without using heavy weights that can stress your joints. Perform standing hip abductor raises and hip flexor extensions or seated lateral hip external rotators. From the floor, do resistance band side leg raises and clamshells.
Stability Ball Exercises
Use a stability ball to perform joint-friendly hip abductor moves while working your core at the same time. Lying on your side, place the ball between your ankles for pelvic static holds and lifts. Turn to your back and work your hips with stability ball bridges and leg curls. Use the ball for additional hip work by doing seated stability ball marches.
Strengthening your hip abductors without using any equipment reduces the amount of stress on your joints. From the floor, lie on your side for leg lifts and leg circles, completing sets with each leg. Turn to your back for glute bridges, both standard and single-leg. From a standing position, do front leg lifts and side leg raises.
At the Gym
When trying to work your hips at the gym without stressing your joints, avoid moves that require heavy weights without support such as barbell squats and weighted lunges. Refrain from the seated hip machine as well, as its motion puts your spine at risk. Instead, when at the gym use the cable machine with an ankle attachment to do forward and side leg lifts. The controlled motion allows you to strengthen your hips without stressing your joints.
- Runner's World: All in the Hips
- Runner's World: Hips
- Core Performance: All You Need to Know to Build Stability
- Princeton University Athletic Medicine: Pelvic Stabilization, Lateral Hip and Gluteal Strengthening Program
- American College of Sports Medicine: Selecting and Effectively Using a Stability Ball
- Shape: 7 Exercises and Gym Machines to Skip: Hip Abduction/Adduction Machine
- JS Online: Stability Ball Marches
- CNN.com: Stability Ball Workouts Help Strengthen Your Core
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