7 Hip Exercises for Complete Hip Strength

The hips are where a number of injuries occur. Use these hip exercises from STACK Expert Andrew Meyers to stave off those problems and build strong, mobile hips.

Many athletes focus on strengthening their quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes but forget another key muscle group—their hips.

The hips are the fulcrum point for all lower-body movements. Weak hips can cause an antalgic gait, leading to knee, foot and ankle problems that can keep you off the field and out of the game. Although building your legs with compound exercises like Squats and Lunges is important, you need to set some time aside to focus on your hip muscles by performing hip-specific strengthening exercises. Incorporate these hip-strengthening exercises into your routine to make sure your hips stay strong and injury free.

Thera-Band Lateral Walks

Wrapping a Thera-Band around your ankles before you perform Lateral Walks or Shuffles increases resistance, strengthening your hip abductors and gluteus medius. When you perform this exercise, you will quickly find out if you have weak hips. This is most beneficial for basketball players, who are required to be in a crouched defensive stance and shuffle when playing defense.

How to Perform:

  • Wrap a Thera-Band around both ankles.
  • Get into a partial squat position.
  • Shuffle laterally or walk 20 steps, making sure to look forward with your back straight and your toes facing forward.
  • Once you reach 20 steps, stop and walk laterally or shuffle back in the other direction until you reach your starting point. That completes one set.
  • Perform four continuous sets without stopping.

Thera-Band Monster Walks

These target more of the hip flexors and quadriceps muscles. Instead of walking laterally, you walk forward. Combine these with Monster Walks to work all angles of your hip musculature.

How to Perform:

  • Wrap a Thera-Band around both ankles.
  • Get into a partial squat position.
  • Walk forward like you were skating, bringing each leg forward at a slight diagonal angle.
  • Once you reach 20 steps, stop, turn around and repeat.
  • Perform four continuous sets without stopping.

Thera-Band Hip Abduction

Thera-Band hip abductions strengthen the outside of the hip muscles, which help externally rotate and lift your legs out to the side. This is especially important for lateral movements in sports.

How to Perform:

  • Wrap a Thera-Band around both ankles.
  • Stand with both legs straight and grasp a bar or chair with both hands for balance.
  • Keeping one leg stationary, lift the other leg straight out to the side in a slow and controlled motion.
  • Perform 30 repetitions, stop and repeat with the other leg.

Thera-Band Hip Extension

This exercise has the same parameters as the Hip Abduction, except you extend your hip, targeting the back of your hip musculature.

How to Perform:

  • Wrap a Thera-Band around both ankles.
  • Stand with both legs straight and grasp a bar or chair with both hands for balance.
  • Keeping one leg stationary, lift the other leg straight back behind you in a slow and controlled motion.
  • Perform 30 repetitions, stop and repeat with the other leg.

Thera-Band Hip Flexion

Hip Flexions target and strengthen the front of the hips. Athletes who forcibly sprint or kick objects benefit the most from this exercise.

How to Perform:

  • Wrap a Thera-Band around both ankles.
  • Stand with both legs straight and grasp a bar or chair with both hands for balance.
  • Keeping one leg stationary, lift the other leg straight up in front of you, bending your knee in a slow and controlled motion.
  • Perform 30 repetitions, stop and repeat with the other leg.

Thera-Band Clam Shells

Clam Shells really strengthen the outside of  the hip, because you are lifting them against gravity. Adding a Thera-Band increases the resistance throughout the entire motion.

How to Perform:

  • Wrap a Thera-Band around both legs just above the knees.
  • Lie down on your side with your knees together, bent at 45 degrees.
  • Keeping your feet together and your torso internally rotated, lift one knee up and away from the other in a slow and controlled motion.
  • Perform 30 repetitions and repeat on the other side.

Thera-Band Fire Hydrants

These may get you some strange looks from other people, but they're great for strengthening the hip abductors and gluteal muscles. They are most beneficial for wrestlers and football players, who have to move around on all fours.

How to Perform:

  • Wrap a Thera-Band around both legs just above the knees.
  • Get on all fours with your hands flat on the ground.
  • Keeping one knee on the ground, lift the other bent knee to the side in a slow and controlled motion.
  • Keep your core tight and do not over-arch your back.
  • Perform 1x30 for each leg.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: EXERCISE | STANCE | SHUFFLE