Don’t forget about your hips when creating your New Year workout plan! Stretching your hips and strengthening the surrounding muscles can improve mobility, increase functional strength, and enhance athletic performance, allowing you to get the most out of your workouts.
An ideal workout program should give your hips the attention they deserve. As a central component of the human anatomy, the hips can affect many of the nearby joints, muscles, and tendons. If your hips are weak or tight, other muscles may be forced to overcompensate, causing secondary symptoms such as knee or back pain. Conversely, strong hips can lead to greater overall strength.
Incorporate the following exercises into your fitness program 2-3 times a week for best results.
Hip abductor exercise: Lie on your side with one leg on top of the other. Lift the top leg upwards to about 45 degrees, hold for a few seconds and then lower your leg. Do about 10-15 repetitions and then perform the same exercise on the opposite side. Hip abduction can also be done while standing up and holding onto the back of a chair or wall for support.
Hip adductor exercise: Stand with your feet wide apart, greater than hip width. Hold your arms straight out in front for balance and lunge down onto one side bending one leg while keeping your other leg extended. Come back up and then lunge down towards the other side. Do about 10-15 repetitions on each leg.
Hip flexor stretches: Go down on one knee with the other knee out in front of you. Perform a slow forward lunging motion until you feel a stretch in the hip flexors at the front of the hip. Hold the position for a few seconds and repeat the movement about 5 times. The hip flexors help with bending, kicking, and running. Sitting all day long can cause these muscles to become tight and painful.
The hips are comprised of many muscle groups. By making the effort to strengthen these often-neglected muscles, you are well on your way to achieving your health and fitness goals in the New Year.
Dr. Ajay C. Lall is a dual fellowship trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and hip arthroscopy. He is an avid clinical researcher with numerous presentations and publications at international academic meetings and within top peer-reviewed journals. The doctors at the American Hip Institute® have been global leaders in Hip Arthroscopy and Robotic Surgery for over a decade. While some would call this excellence, we simply call it the American Hip Institute standard.