When it comes to hip injuries, prevention is the best cure. Following a regular exercise program, which includes hip-strengthening exercises, may help prevent problems in the future. Performing daily hip exercises with weights or resistance along with stretches can improve your range of motion for healthy and pain-free hip joints.
Avoiding Hip Injuries
Hip exercises for men or women will increase strength and flexibility, which may help prevent injury and reduce pain. In fact, a December 2014 study published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases has found that exercising for one hour at least twice a week for 12 weeks reduced the need for hip replacement surgery in 44 percent of patients with hip osteoarthritis.
Common hip injuries include tendinitis, overuse injuries, bursitis and even spine problems that may result in hip pain, states Harvard Health Publishing. Most of these injuries have similar symptoms, including increased pain with activity or when lying on your side or crossing your legs. It's important to see your doctor and get the proper diagnosis if your symptoms persist.
The good news is that hip muscle strengthening exercises and targeted stretching will often help relieve the pain, says Harvard Health Publishing. These movements require no equipment, so you can exercise at home.
Read more: Exercises to Avoid If You Have Hip Pain
Hip Stretches for Men
Take the time to warm up by walking or riding a stationary bike for five to 10 minutes before starting the following stretching routine, advises the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). They recommend a warm-up followed by stretching and strengthening exercises. Finish your workout by repeating the stretches.
Hip exercises for men should include stretches to increase flexibility, which may help prevent injury and reduce soreness. A small study featured in the BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders in July 2014 looked at hamstring flexibility in men and women and came to an interesting conclusion. The increased hamstring flexibility in women could be due to a higher stretch tolerance and less pain while stretching.
Read more: Yoga for Hip Bursitis
Both men and women can benefit from working on their flexibility, but they should also know their limits. While it's normal to feel a stretch in the targeted area, it shouldn't be painful. The AAOS recommends performing the following stretches daily:
Move 1: Standing Iliotibial Band (IT) Band Stretch
- Stand next to the wall and cross the leg closest to the wall behind your other leg.
- Lean your hip toward the wall until you feel the stretch on the outside your hip. Don't lean forward or twist.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side. Stretch each side four times.
Move 2: Seated Rotation Stretch
- Sit on the floor with both legs straight. Cross one leg over the other, keeping the crossed leg bent.
- Twist toward the bent leg.
- To deepen the stretch, place one hand behind you and one on your bent knee to continue twisting.
- Look over your shoulder. You will feel the stretch in your piriformis muscle in the buttocks.
- Hold for 30 seconds. Come back to the center and reverse. Repeat four times.
Move 3: Supine Hamstring Stretch
- Lie on your back, with both legs bent.
- Clasp your hands behind your thigh and bring one leg to your chest.
- Straighten your leg as you pull it gently back until you feel a stretch.
- You can also loop a towel around your leg if you can't grab behind your leg.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat four times each side.
Hip Muscle Strengthening Exercises
In addition to stretching, hip exercises with weights or resistance are important because strong muscles will keep your hip joint stable and may prevent injury.
The American Council on Exercise recommends the following exercises using a TheraBand or another type of exercise band to provide resistance. Don't perform any exercise that increases pain. Start with 10 reps and then progress to 20.
Move 1: Monster Walks
- Wrap a resistance band around your thighs, just above the knee.
- Slightly squat down, with your arms in front.
- Laterally walk to the right, keeping the band tight and a soft bend at the knee.
- Walk to the right 10 to 20 times and then walk to the left 10 to 20 times.
Move 2: Squats With Standing Abduction
- Place the band above your knee and stand in a squatting position, with your legs far enough apart.
- Perform five squats, maintaining resistance in the band.
- After the fifth squat, perform five lateral leg lifts on the right leg.
- Perform five more squats.
- Perform five lateral leg lifts on the left leg.
- Work up to performing this routine (steps 1-5) five times.
Move 3: Clam Shells
- Place the band above your knees while lying on the floor on your side with your knees bent and your legs stacked.
- Keep the inner arches of your foot together as you externally rotate the top leg up to the endpoint of the motion.
- Lower down to neutral and repeat.
- Perform 10 to 20 reps for each leg.
Move 4: Lying Adductor Lifts
- Lie on the floor on your right side, with your right leg slightly in front and your left leg bent behind.
- Tie the band in a loop and place the band around the lower right calf.
- Hold the other end of the loop down with your left foot.
- Turn the toes away from the body and lift the right leg, as the band provides resistance. You will feel the inner thigh muscles working.
- Perform 10 to 20 reps on each side.
- Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases: "Exercise Therapy May Postpone Total Hip Replacement Surgery in Patients With Hip Osteoarthritis: A Long-Term Follow-Up of a Randomised Trial"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Think That Hip Pain Is Bursitis? Think Again"
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Hip Conditioning Program"
- BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders: "Lower Hamstring Extensibility in Men Compared to Women Is Explained by Differences in Stretch Tolerance"
- American Council on Exercise: "8 Hip-Strengthening Exercises Using the Versa Loop"