The arm, ab, butt, leg, tummy… we focus on all these body parts during our workout routine, but, what about the hips?
You see, your hips are one of the primary force-producing joints, involved in virtually every lower-body movement from squatting down and jumping to running and lifting. These routines will help you keep them in shape.
1. RESPECT THE LITTLE GUYS.
Your hip flexors are one huge part of the picture, but they’re not the only muscles that need TLC. Before your workouts, especially lower-body ones, foam-roll your inner thighs and try an activation warm-up to strengthen your external rotators—you need them for 360-degree movement. Three sets of 20 side-lying clamshells is recommended.
Lie down on your left side, your legs stacked, knees bent, and a resistance band just above your knees (a). Tighten your abs and slowly lift your right knee as high as you can, squeezing your glutes at the top (b). Lower your knee to return to start. That’s one rep. Switch sides.
2. GO HEAVY.
Performing three to five reps using heavy resistance can do great things for their strength, mobility, and function. Twice a week, aim to burn out those muscles with the barbell hip thrust. Start with three to five reps at 60 pounds, then work your way up in weight every couple of weeks.
BARBELL HIP THRUST
Sit on the floor with your shoulders against a bench, your spine neutral, and a barbell directly over your hips (a). Brace your core as you drive through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips off the ground (b). Keep your core engaged as you lower your hips to return to start. That’s one rep.
3. ADOPT A NEW TERM.
You have to counteract what you do all day to keep your body moving well. Walking rocks, but so does a position that is the polar opposite of sitting: cobra pose. The posture elongates the hips and legs and wakes up your glutes, all while stretching the front of your torso, which tends to slump throughout the day. Hold the pose up to five minutes each night to keep your hips mobile and remind your glutes that they are there (and have a job to do).
Lie on your stomach, your legs extended, tops of your feet on the floor. Place your hands under your shoulders and hug your elbows close into your body. Begin to straighten your arms to lift your chest off the floor, keeping your pelvis and tops of your feet on the floor.
TRIED AND TRUE
Squats. Lunges. Glute bridges. These classic moves are the holy trinity of hot and healthy hips. Aim for 20 to 50 reps of each daily.