The muscles of your hips and glutes help with hip extension, rotation, abduction and stabilization. Sadly, millions of people sit for too many hours of the day. This sedentary lifestyle leads to poor posture, imbalances, injury risk and an overall unhealthy way to live.
The good news? There are certain movements and exercises we can do to help combat inactivity and build mobility and strength in the hips.
Method to the Madness
Some people want to jump right into trying advanced exercises such as squats and deadlifts. However, it's important to have a method to the madness with our programming. Having a proper plan in place will lead to more efficient and effective workouts.
Mobility is specific to a movement. Tissue length, neural control and joint architecture combine to create mobility, which is an important piece in creating a strong, injury-resilient body. Mobilize and activate the hips first, then build strength upon that newfound range of motion.
Instep StretchMobilize 1 of 11
From a push-up position, take a big step with your right foot and place it just outside your right hand.
Instep Stretch Part 2Mobilize 2 of 11
With your left knee off the ground and your left quad engaged, slowly lower your right elbow towards the ground. Hold for 30 seconds.
Lateral Band WalksActivate 3 of 11
Stand with resistance bands around your ankles. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart and you should have a slight bend in your knees and hips.
As you take lateral steps, focus on driving out with your heels. Keep your toes pointed straight ahead the entire time, and keep tension in the band. Maintain an upright, controlled posture throughout the exercise.
Hip ThrustsBilateral Strength 4 of 11
Begin on the ground with your upper back against a bench and a weighted barbell at your feet. Using a pad for support, roll the barbell up to your waist.
Hip Thrusts Part 2Bilateral Strength 5 of 11
Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the ground, and extend your hips in an upward thrusting motion as you lean back onto the bench. Hold onto the bar to keep it from falling, and slowly return to the starting position to complete one rep.
Bulgarian Split SquatsUnilateral Strength 6 of 11
Stand a couple feet in front of a bench. Reach one leg back toward the bench and place the top of your foot on the bench.
Bulgarian Split Squats Part 2Unilateral Strength 7 of 11
With your chest up and front foot flat on the ground, lower yourself down until your back knee nearly touches the ground. Focus on driving through your front foot, and don't let your front heel come off the ground. Keep the kneecap of your front leg in line with your middle-to-outside toes to prevent the knee from caving in.
Kettlebell SwingsPower 8 of 11
Set up similar to a deadlift, but begin with a kettlebell slightly in front of you so you have to reach for it. Once you have lowered yourself to the bell, position your hips down and back, keep your chest up, and maintain a neutral spine position.
Kettlebell Swings Part 2Power 9 of 11
Remove any "slack" from your body, and hike the kettlebell back between your legs, keeping it close to your groin. Using a powerful hip extension, drive the bell out in front of you while you squeeze your glutes and stand up tall. The bell should travel to about chest height at the top.
Next, actively pull the bell down with your lats and quickly begin the next repetition. Make sure to keep the body braced during the swing portion. Avoid rounding the back at any point of the movement.
Doug BalzariniAuthor Bio 10 of 11
Doug Balzarini is a personal trainer, fitness writer and creator of DB Strength. He's currently offering his services in Beverly, Mass., at Iron Village Strength & Conditioning.
Doug has several certifications, ranging from MMA to CrossFit. You can find out more on his website, DBstrength.com.