When you hear about hip stability, you might wonder how it relates to you if you aren’t having any hip problems. The truth is, if you have weakness of the hips it can lead to a whole list of injuries, not just hip pain. For example, weak hips will lead to poor hip motion, which then can lead to low back, knee, or ankle injuries as well. If you have difficulty standing on one leg without hiking or dropping your hip, difficulty doing a deep squat with good form, or think a single leg squat seems impossible, you probably lack stability in the hips.
The body is tied together through the kinetic chain. When part of the chain is not working, the body will begin to compensate to work around the problem and continue to move. Now your body is moving in an improper fashion, which can then lead to even more injuries. Therefore, preventing major injuries can be as simple as strengthening the muscles associated with the hip.
The muscles that play an important role in hip stabilization are your glutes (gluteus medius and gluteus maximus), your adductors, and core muscles. The core is made up of your abdominals, diaphragm, pelvic floor muscles, and erector spinae group of muscles. It is important that all of these muscles work together to ensure proper balance of the body. Below are a few exercises that can be performed at home to achieve this.
Inner Thigh Squats
- Place feet shoulder width apart with your toes pointed out at a 45 degree angle. Weight should be placed through your heels.
- As you begin to squat, bring your hips back like you are sitting in a chair that is too far behind you. While squatting, try to move your knees out.
- Go as low as you can, then push back up through your heels, repeat.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place a small medicine ball in between knees. Your back should remain flat throughout this exercise.
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles, or kegel, and squeeze the ball, holding for five seconds.
- Raise your hips off of the table or ground by pushing up through your heels.
- Your butt should no longer be on the table or ground. Hold for five seconds and repeat.
- Lie on your side with hips and knees stacked. Bend both knees and keep your heels together.
- Open your knees like a clam and hold for 5 seconds. Close slowly.
- Don’t roll backwards through the pelvis. Keep your heels together.
- For an advanced version of this exercises, add a resistance band just above your knees.
Single Leg Bridge
- Lie on your back flat on the floor. Be sure not to arch your back. Your knees should be bent with your feet flat on the ground, weight through the heels.
- Bring one leg up in the air, push up through the heel of the opposite leg and bring your glutes off the floor into a bridge.
- Hold and repeat.
- Begin on your hands and knees. Squeeze your glutes, draw your stomach in, pull your shoulder blades down toward your glutes and keep head in line with spine.
- The back should be straight and should not bend throughout the exercise.
- Holding the position, lift the right arm and left leg so that each is straight and hold for 5-10 seconds.
- Then perform with the left arm and right leg.
- If this is too difficult, this exercise can also be done with just the legs.
- Lay on stomach, place elbows under shoulders, tighten/engage abs, and squeeze glutes together.
- Push up onto your forearms and toes so your body is parallel with the ground, keep elbows under your shoulders, make sure back is flat.
- Hold position as long as you can until you no longer feel it in your abs or you feel it in your back.
Which Exercises Target the Gluteal Muscles While Minimizing Activation of the Tensor Fascia Lata? Electromyographic Assessment Using Fine-Wire Electrodes,” J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2013;43(2):54–64. doi:10.2519/jospt.2013.4116.