Hips are, in many ways, a control center for your body. Weak hip muscles can cause back, leg, and other mobility problems. They are vital to pregnant women to ease childbirth and to the elderly to maintain mobility and a good quality of life. You don't need to be a gym rat or fitness enthusiast to keep your hips strong and mobile — you can start today.
Method One of Three:
Build and Stretch Hip Muscles without the Gym
1Start small and build hip muscles from bed. You don't need to hit the pavement for a jog to build up your hips. Lie on your back with bent knees and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your gluteus muscles by tightening your butt. Hold for five seconds and then release. Start with ten repetitions and every week increase by five until you can do thirty.
- Move your hips upward off the ground to stretch gluteus muscles. Do a similar pose to the above exercise. Lay on your back and move your hips off the ground upward while trying to keep your back on the ground. Hold this position for five seconds before lowering your hips back to the ground.
2Extend your range of motion. Many hip injuries come from trauma, or an unexpected movement to which your muscles aren't accustomed. The more you increase and extend your muscle range, the stronger your hips will be and less likely to succumb to injury. While laying down, turn to the side, lift your leg up while lifting your upper body (both to 25–30 degrees). Don't bend your body. Follow this with one minute's rest.
- Repeat this exercise in three sets of ten repetitions. Be mindful of your form. Compensating with your back or abs is a sign your hip muscles aren't quite strong enough for the exercise and repetitions should be decreased.
3Stretch your hips while standing up. Slowly extend your leg out to the side as far as you can without causing pain. Keep your inner thigh parallel to floor. After doing this ten times, switch sides and work the opposite leg.
- Do this controlled and with good form. Do not extend too far outward as this could cause an injury. Start slow and gradually extend your range.
4Use cardio to keep hips strong. Runners can often be the first to suffer hip issues, but running can also be incredibly beneficial. Running uses all of your major muscles, particularly the gluteus, hamstrings, and quads. It allows the body to work muscles together in a natural way. Start by running short distances and gradually increase to push your body.
- Emphasize good form. This includes good posture and strides that don't cause unnatural leg movements.
- Try biking for a gentler hip exercise. This allows the hip muscles to naturally rotate and avoids much of the wear and tear of running. Cycling is particularly great for those getting back from an injury or suffering from issues like arthritis.
5Use your legs to stretch hip muscles. Fold one leg and put the other leg on top of it. Bend forward while twisting your body to face your folded leg kneecap. Repeat it 10 times, and do with the other leg folded. Follow this with 10 seconds rest.
- Add a weight to intensify the exercises. Ankle weights add resistance and force you to work harder to stabilize your leg using muscles in your hips.
Method Two of Three:
Hitting the Gym to Build Hip Muscles
1Use a hip abductor machine. Your gym will likely have machines devoted to building hip strength. Hip abductor machines provide resistance as you work muscles pivotal to healthy hips. Sit so that your feet are on the foot rests and knee pads are outside of your legs. Use your strength to push the pads from a closed to an open position, away from your body. Bring the weight slowly back to a stop. Do this in sets of ten at a manageable weight. Be sure to emphasize good form. Weights too high or too many reps can lead to injury.
- Gyms may have machines that slightly vary. If you have any questions about how to use a hip abductor machine, ask a gym employee for help.
2Skip hard cardio in favor of controlled movements on machines. Jogging is great for overall health but can cause wear and tear to your joints, especially knees, hips, and ankles. Use cardio machines at the gym to get the same benefits of cardio, without all the problems.
- Use an an elliptical machine. This is a low impact exercise that will increase the range of motion in your hips. Simply follow the instructions and start striding at a comfortable resistance level. This will promote the same range of motion as jogging without the impact of hitting the ground.
- Stationary bikes are among the best exercise options for hip problems. They're great for increasing your range of motion, keeping joints mobile, and building up strength as you progress to longer, more difficult workouts.
- Tread climbers work much like walking. You will have to stretch your hips to maintain a natural walking stride. Similarly, a stair climber will stretch and strengthen your hips muscles. The incline of the stair climber will force you to stretch and stabilize your muscles. Both of these should be done with caution and after consultation with your doctor or physical therapist.
3Weight train your way to stronger hips. Cardio and machines are great but there are few strength training equivalents to free weights. Weight training can be a little more difficult than other strengthening exercises, but if done properly and safely yields great results.
- Use bench step up exercises to build strength. Find a dumbbell weight that you are comfortable with. Hold a dumbbell in each hand down to your side. Stand in front of a bench lengthwise. Step up with your right foot, holding your left leg to the side. Hold for three seconds then repeat with the other foot.
- Bent knee deadlifts get the benefits of the Olympic dead lift without the same strain. Again, find a light dumbbell and hold one in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder length apart, holding each dumbbell with your palms facing in. Keeping your head up, shoulders back and knees slightly bent, bend forward slightly, lowering the dumbbells along your legs. Keep your body weight above your heels and slowly return to a starting position.
- Use dumbbell lunges to stretch your hips. Keep a dumbbell in each hand and stand upright. Step forward with your right foot, keeping your left leg stationary behind. Lower your upper body down while maintaining your balance. Using the heel of your forward foot, return to your starting position.
Method Three of Three:
Using Yoga to Build Hip Muscles
1Attend a yoga class to build hip muscles. Yoga is a great way to build and stretch muscles. It's a taxing exercise routine without the brunt force or trauma that can come with jogging or weight lifting. If you're not experienced with yoga, try to find a beginner class where an experienced teacher will help you work up slowly.
2Try the lizard-lower lunge. Do this by putting your left foot several feet in front of your right foot. Place your right knee against the ground while keeping your left leg at a 90 degree angle. Slowly work your left leg out to the side while keeping your elbows as near the ground as possible. Keep your hips parallel while you do this pose.
- Slowly stretch your hamstrings and leg muscles until you can hold this pose properly. Try standing with your feet together and touching your toes to help limber your hamstrings. This will help your lower half be prepared to lunge forward.
3Use the happy baby pose. Lay on your back. Grab both feet with each hand and pull your knees toward your arm pits. Once you feel comfortably situated, rock from side to side, keeping your head on the floor. This will externally rotate your hips. 
- This pose relies a lot on balance. Start by laying on your back and getting used to balancing your weight to achieve the rocking motion without falling over.
- Once you can do this with ease you can gradually move your legs closer to your hands until you can pull your knees back toward your chest with ease. You can also have a friend help stretch your legs in the beginning while you're on your back.
4Try the frog leg pose to stretch hip muscles. Sit on the floor with your spine as straight as possible. Stack the right leg on top of your left leg in a curled position in front of you, lining up your right ankle and left leg. 
- This can be a challenging pose for a novice. Begin by just sitting in a crossed legged position to see how this feels to your hips.
- You can gradually push your body from this position as much as you feel comfortable without straining. You can also use yoga blocks underneath the stacked leg if you find this stretch too difficult.
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