Standing Hip Exercises

The hip joints are surrounded by numerous muscles, which contract to move your legs through various ranges of motion. These movements are important for activities such as sitting down, standing up, stepping sideways, walking, and running. Therefore, you should exercise your hip muscles regularly to improve their strength and reduce your risk of injury.

Squats

Squats strengthen the hip extensors — the gluteus maximus and the hamstring muscles. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, your hands at your sides. Flex your knees and hips to lower your body as though you were sitting on a chair. When your thighs are parallel to the ground, stand back up, and repeat. Add resistance, if desired, by holding dumbbells at your sides, or balancing a barbell across your upper back and shoulders.

Lunges

Lunges exercise the same muscles as squats through a similar range of motion. Start in the same position as squats, but with your feet closer together. Step forward about two to three feet with your left foot, then squat down until your left thigh is parallel to the ground. Stand back up, and step back to the starting position. Repeat by stepping forward with your right leg, and continue alternating legs for as many repetitions as you want.

Standing Hip Abduction

Standing hip abductions strengthen the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus muscles of your buttocks. Stand upright, with your shoulder line perpendicular to a wall and your feet about one foot away from its base. Abduct — move sideways, away from your body — the leg closer to the wall, and press into the wall with the outside of that foot for 15 to 30 seconds, gradually increasing pressure. Turn around, and repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.

Standing Hip Adduction

The standing hip adduction works the four muscles that contract to adduct your leg, or move it sideways toward the center of your body. Perform the exercise by placing the inside of either foot against a wall, and pressing against it for 15 to 30 seconds. Do the exercise with both legs.

Standing Hip Flexion

The standing hip flexion strengthens the muscles that flex your hips. This motion occurs when you draw your knee toward your chest. Lean your back against a wall with your feet about one foot away from its base. Flex either knee, and lift it toward your chest until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Place your hands on your knee and continue attempting to draw your knee upward, but resist with your hands, so your leg does not actually move higher. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat with the opposite leg.

About this Author

Matthew Schirm has worked in the sports performance field for 10 years. He has professional experience as a baseball coach and weight training instructor. He recently earned a Master of Science degree in human movement from A.T. Still University in Mesa, Ariz.