Hip Exercises And Stretches

The previous two hip articles  (Hip muscles to target in arthiritis and Oesteoarthiritis: Hip and Habits), talked about the importance of strengthening the deep hip abductors (in hip conditions) over superficial muscles. We strengthen them through doing hip exercises.

We demonstrate some useful hip exercises for strengthening and stretching below. You should seek the advice of a medical practitioner/physiotherapist before commencing these exercises.

Strengthening Of The Gluteus Medius And Quadratus Lumborum (Hip Abductors)

  • Lie on the side you want to strengthen. Bend the hip and knees in line with shoulders, (see below).
Hip exercises

Gluteus Medius

  • Attempt to lift the top knee away from the bottom knee, but do not actually lift the knee so you should only feel the muscle exertion but do not see the legs move (so knees remain touching throughout the exercise). Heels, hip and shoulders do not move.
  • You should feel the muscle in the bottom- lateral hip working
  • Hold this exertion for 3-5 secs and repeat 10 times

Quadratus Lumborum

  • Same position as previous exercise
  • Squeeze the top heel into the heel below and feel your middle buttock muscle contract.
  • The contraction is small, deep and subtle. Hold for 5-8 secs and repeat

Anterior Hip Flexor Release

  • Lie on the stomach. Bend the hip and knee in fig 4 (see below). Do this on the side that you want to stretch.
Hip exercises
  • Keep foot position but try and elongate the bent knee to bring the hip closer to the floor.
  • You should feel stretch at the front of the hip.
  • Hold the pressure for 30 secs and repeat in sets of 3, three times a day
Trigger ball

(The trigger ball is placed under the hip. This is to demonstrate the gap between the hip and floor. This stretch does not require it.)

Hip Flexor Stretch

  • Kneel on one knee with the leg in the lunge position. Do this on the side you want to stretch.
Hip exercises
  • Lean your body foreward into the stretch (keep it upright) till you feel the stretch in the hip flexor
  • Raise the arm high on the side being stretch to intensify the stretch and sideflex away (eg to the right) to feel greater stretch and achieve a lateral trunk stretch
Hip exercises

Perform hip extensors and core stability exercises on top of these exercises. If these exercises are causing you back pain, please stop doing them and consult the advice of a physiotherapist.