What Exercises Can I Do to Get Bigger, Curvier Hips?

If you're looking for curvier hips, the muscles to target are the gluteus maximus and tensor fasciae latae. Transverse hip abductor machines are effective at targeting these muscles, but body-weight exercises can add variation to your bigger-hip regimen. Always consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

A woman is doing squats. (Image: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images)

Squats

The squat is one of the most effective exercises for strengthening and increasing the size of your hips and glutes. To start, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and rest your arms at your sides. Contract your abdominal muscles to keep your spine safe during the squat. To lower yourself during a squat, pretend there is an invisible chair behind you as you shift your weight to your heels and begin lowering your buttocks as your hips and knees bend simultaneously. Once your thighs are almost parallel to the floor, move upward by pushing your feet into the floor until you're back to a standing position. To increase the intensity for faster results, add a barbell or dumbbells to your squats.

Side Lunge

A modified version of the popular lunge is the side lunge, which is more effective at using the muscles of your hips. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your abdominal muscles engaged to stabilize your spine. Imagine yourself standing in the middle of a clock with your toes facing the 12. Step forward and to the side about 2.5 feet with your right foot, as if trying to step on the number two. Bring your right heel to the floor and then lower your toes as you simultaneously bend both knees. Your left foot remains on the floor behind you, but the inside of your left foot rests on the floor during the downward motion. Once your right thigh is almost parallel to the floor, push off the ground with your right foot and return to your starting position. Do the same sideways and downward motion with your left foot, but imagine you're stepping on the 10 of a clock. As with squats, adding dumbbells or a barbell increases the intensity of the exercise.

Side Bridge Hip Abduction

Lie on your left side with your legs together and extended as your face, stomach, knees and toes are positioned to face the wall in front of you. Prop yourself up with your left arm by resting your forearm on the floor and keeping your elbow directly under your left shoulder. Place your right hand on your right hip. Keep the side of your bottom foot against the ground during the entire exercise. Push your hip toward the ceiling while simultaneously raising your extended upper leg about 2.5 feet upward so your legs open to create a sideways "V" shape. Repeat and then switch legs. To decrease the intensity of this exercise, bend your knees. To increase the intensity, hold a dumbbell on your outer thigh as you lift your leg off the ground.

Considerations

Before starting these exercises, do a five- to 10-minute warm-up, such as a light jog or brisk walk. While choosing dumbbells or a barbell to increase the intensity of these exercises, it's important to choose the correct weight. The weight you choose should be heavy enough to tire your muscles after 12 repetitions. If you could easily continue counting your repetitions after the 12th, then it's time to add additional weight. If you exhaust your muscles with enough weight, only one set of these exercises is necessary. If you choose not to use weights, aim for three sets of 12.

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