Hip Stability Exercises

Pretty Women in Squatting Exercise inside the Gym
Three women are squatting in a fitness studio. (Image: Vicheslav/iStock/Getty Images)

Hip stability is your ability to maintain your center of gravity and produce strength and coordination in your hips and trunk -- or core muscles. Hip stability works with hip mobility -- freedom of movement -- to produce various athletic abilities and movement patterns. Also, having strong and stable hips reduces the risk of injury in your pelvic joints, spine and knees. Hip stabilization exercises should be done daily as part of your warm-ups.

Bridges

Bridging is where you lift your hips up from a supine position. It activates your buttocks and hip stabilizers in your hip joints where your femurs attach to your pelvis. By strengthening your buttocks and pelvic floor muscles, you can alleviate some back pain and tight hip flexors. This is good for those who have weak hips and mild back stiffness, since the supine position on the floor lessens pressure upon the spine.

Lay on the floor with your arms at your sides and palms facing up. Bend your hips and knees, and bring your heels close to your buttocks. Keep your legs about hip-width apart and your toes pointing forward. Exhale and lift your hips off the ground as high as you can without hyperextending your lower back or lifting your toes. Hold for two deep breaths and lower your hips to the ground.

You may also do a one-leg bridge where you lift one leg up in the air and bridge up.

Supine Hip Rotation

This exercise stabilizes and rotates your pelvis in a supine position, and it also strengthens your trunk muscles as your hips are moving.

Lay on the floor with your arms to the side and your palms facing up. Bend your legs and hips at 90 degrees and keep your knees together. Place a folded towel between your knees, and squeeze it tight throughout the exercise. Slowly turn your hips to the right, and lower your legs as low as you can without lifting your left shoulder and arm off the floor. When you reach your maximum range of motion, rotate to the other side. Keep rolling back and forth for about 30 to 60 seconds.

You may also straighten your legs, and do the same rolling pattern. In this position, you probably would not be able to rotate as much.

Deep Squat Series

This exercise sequence increases your core and hip stability and mobility. The movement takes your hips and legs in a full, deep squat and retrains your nervous system to activate your core and hips to generate stability in movement. It also functions as a warm-up before training and competition.

Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart and your toes pointing forward in front of a step or a similar platform that you can put your hands on. Raise your arms above your head, and bend forward to place your palms on the platform. Lower your hips into a deep squat while keeping your spine tall and chest high. Hold the position for a few deep breaths.

Then raise your arms above your head, and push yourself up, keeping your spine in the same position without bending forward. If you have trouble doing the squat pattern, place a rolled-up beach towel under your heels for support. As you become proficient with the movement pattern and improve your posture, remove the heel support.

Hip Flexors

Hip stability also depends on strong hip flexors. These muscles, like the psoas, are responsible for functions like helping you to step up onto a stool; or lift your leg from a lying-down position.

Kneel on your right knee on the floor. Place your left foot on the floor in front of you. Place your right hands on top of your left thigh. Make sure the left knee is stacked over top the left ankle. Hold your torso upright. Tuck your tailbone under to make a long spine and in order not the compress your lower back. Contract your glute muscles to allow the hip flexors to relax and extend.

Do 30 seconds to one minute on each side every day.

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