The hip is one of the most important joints in the body. It is involved in innumerable kinds of movements including flexing, extending, abduction, adduction and rotation. Hip exercises help to develop the hip area, in strengthening, stabilizing and stretching the hip region.
Before embarking on any kind of hip exercise, it is essential to first warm up the muscles around the hip joint. Exercise such as walking which is simple and easy when done for 10 minutes should provide enough warmth and natural lubrication to get into the specific movements.
Benefits of hip exercises
Hip exercises strengthen, offer flexibility, stability and balance and functionality to the hips.
Strength: This would include strengthening of the joints, tendons, and muscles in the hip area.
Flexibility: To be functional, hips have to be flexible. A stiff hip can limit movements.
Stability and balance: Proportionate ability of the hips is vital. That is, hips should be strong and flexible at once and the different surrounding muscles, tendon, ligaments and joints should be healthy, limber and strong.
Functionality: Healthy hips permit you to engage in all kinds of movements and complete variety of tasks. For instance, while playing basketball, the stops, starts and twists depend on hip rotations. The same is true for playing golf or while dancing.
Your hips may be too small, or big, too saggy or flabby. The right kind of hip exercises can make a tremendous difference to your rear depending upon body type and genetics. Here are some cardio and strength exercises for strengthening your backside.
Squats: Perhaps this is the best exercise for hips, butt and thighs and they also are a functional exercise helping to build strength for a variety of daily activities.
Stand with feet hip-width apart and if added intensity is desired, hold weight at shoulder level or at sides. Bend the knees, and lower into a squat, keeping the knees behind the toes. Imaging that the butt is sticking out behind and keep the torso upright and contracted.
Press the heels and stand up. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 8 -16 reps.
Lunges: This is a challenging exercise as many muscles are worked out at the same time. While on the front leg you will work the glutes and hamstrings and on the back leg, you will work the quads and calves. Lunges could be static, side to side, sliding, low, one-legged, wheel lunges, or step lunges.
Step ups: They are great for the glutes. For step ups, place one foot on a step or platform and push through the heel to lift the body up. This is an excellent exercise for the glutes. The key here is to concentrate on your weight on the stepping leg. Lower down gently, barely touching the toes of the other leg to the ground.
Hip extensions: This targets the largest muscle in the body, the gluteus maximus. Hold a dumbbell behind the knee or use ankle weight for added intensity.
One legged dead lifts: This is great for hamstrings, butt and lower back, but this one legged version is a great way to add intensity to the exercise and engage your stabilizer muscles to keep the body balanced. Form is essential for this exercise and you can quit in case of back problems.
Hiking: This strengthens the glutes and it can help burn calories because it involves typically going up the mountains and may be even getting into thin air, which requires a lot of energy. A 140 lb person burns about 390 calories in about an hour.
Biking: This exercise targets every muscle in your hips, thighs and butt. On a stationary bike, she can alternate 3 minutes at 70-80 RPM with 2 minutes at 100-110 RPM for a calorie burning 30 minute workout.
Running: Like walking, this is easy to learn, reduces stress, helps in weight loss and makes you feel good. It really works on the hips, when a few extra miles are added to the regular running route. Sprints are another option for folks wanting to burn more calories and tighten up the tush
Kickboxing: This is an excellent workout for the entire body especially hip glutes and thighs. Controlled front kicks, round houses, sidekicks and back kicks work on her hips, thighs and butt while complex combinations include punches and these target the abdomen to make them stronger.
Walking: This is easy and can be done anywhere, anytime with no special equipment. Brisk walking helps burn calories and lose body fat.
Hip exercises for arthritis
An important part of pain management for arthritis in the hips is through exercises. The worsening of arthritis in the joints could be limited this way. Arthritis exercises not only strengthen the knees, as a person with stiff hips tends to put stress on the knees when walking to reduce pain.
By and large, hip arthritis exercises could be divided into - stretching, strengthening and reduced impact aerobic exercise.
It would be good to include all the three types. While exercises for longer durations on some days, and shorter durations on some others can be done, it is imperative to undertake some form of hip arthritis exercises every day.
Stretching hip exercises: These could help with important activities such as sitting, getting in and out of a car or even while putting on shoes. Remember; never stretch further than is comfortable.
Bent leg raise: Lie on your back and slowly raise the knees, sliding your foot along the floor. Bring the foot as close to your buttocks as you comfortably can. Then lift your foot and bring your knee up towards your chest. Hold for a count of 5 and then return the foot to the floor and slide it back until it is stretched out again and relaxed. Repeat with the other leg.
Strengthening hip exercises
These build the stability of your hips and all the muscles that support the body. These exercises can be done at least once every 2 days.
Foot Roll: Stand 1-2 feet from a counter with legs apart and hands leaning on the counter. Standing on your heels, lift the toes and slowly turn them so they point first inward then outward. This should cause the whole leg to rotate inside the hip joints. This can be done 5-10 times.
Reduced impact aerobic hip arthritis exercises
High impact aerobic exercise such as running, skipping should be avoided even if you suffer mild arthritis. The impact of the body hitting the ground can be very stressful for joints. Walking should be on softer surface such as grass. Low impact aerobic exercises include swimming or stationary cycling. These do not stress the hips. Such hip arthritis exercises help to reduce pain within a week or two. In case, where arthritis is worsening, exercises cannot relieve pain but will prevent worsening.
Hip exercises for knee pain
Strengthening the knee with exercise is pertinent to protecting your knees from injury and knee pain.
While weak and fatigued muscles cannot adequately support knee joints, they can place extra stress upon the knee and cause pain and injury. Strengthening exercises make the muscles tight, so follow strength exercises with stretching exercises. However, while doing stretching exercises, be careful to go slowly and not to over stretch, as this will result in muscle tear.
The goal of such knee exercises is to prevent pain and not cause it. Rest is important to inflamed muscle tendons. Applying ice wrapped in a cloth can help reduce inflammation and pain and speed up healing. It is essential that knee pain be completely gone before resuming the knee exercise program. However exercise lightly to enable sore muscles decrease their soreness.
Hip exercises for bursitis
Hip bursitis is a chronic pain and usually can get deep and achy in the side of the hip or at the base of the hip in the buttock. The bursa provides cushion to the hip joint. They tend to become inflamed when the joint is stressed out. Performing low impact movement can help strengthen the muscles that support the hip area and provide relief to the inflamed bursa.
Exercises for hip bursitis
Lie flat on your back with legs straight across the floor and arms on the sides. Clothing should be comfortable. Bend your left leg and using your hands, place your left ankle as high on your right thigh as you can. Ideally, your left ankle should be resting on the upper right thigh at the hip. Continue to hold your ankle with both hands. If this is too difficult, then take a scarf or belt and wrap it around the ankle and gent.
Piriformis Muscle Stretch: The piriformis muscle helps with the movement of the hips. Hence, this stretch will help provide relief in patients with bursitis. This bursitis exercise / stretch are performed by lying on your back. After lying on your back, bend the knees and rest the feet on the floor.
In this position, one must raise the injured leg and rest it over the other leg, just like one would cross one leg over the other while sitting on a chair. This should be followed by grasping the uninjured leg just below the knee with both hands and pulling the knee towards the chest gently as much as possible. Count to 15 and release. This can be repeated two to three times before commencing the next exercise.
Such hip exercises are useful to recover from hip bursitis. However, before carrying out any such exercises for bursitis, start off with warm up exercises and stretches.