Protect Your Knees and Low Back by Keeping Your Hips Healthy and Strong

By far the most common and prevalent condition that I have seen in my career is weak hips and poor hip function. It is almost guaranteed that when I meet with someone to discuss training and to do a physical movement assessment they will have underactive glutes and overactive quads. To the point where I am actually surprised when someone isn’t like that. Generally the problem is a sedentary lifestyle, working at a desk, and driving everywhere. Basically constantly being in a seated position. That seated position deactivates your glutes, which is the major muscle group of your hips that should be moving you around and stabilizing your entire pelvis.

Strengthening your hips, and primarily your glutes, is actually one of the more simple things you can accomplish from working out. While the exercises in this video won’t make you the powerhouse that you should be striving for with hip strength, they will give you a fantastic platform to build off of as well as allow you to maintain basic hip health and function.

The glute bridge is one of the most basic and effective movements to stimulate muscle contractions in the glutes, building strength along with neural connectivity in the brain and increasing blood flow to the area. Start off with a basic glute bridge. By adding the resistance band you are able to increase the demand on the muscles and therefore get stronger. Incorporating single leg bridges into the exercise will enhance stability and the demand on your core for balance.

An often overlooked muscle group for strengthening are the hip flexors. During long periods in a seated position the hip flexors become shortened and tight. Therefore our answer tends to be to constantly stretch them out. This is not wrong but it’s important to also focus on strengthening them too. You can’t constantly stretch out a weak muscle, it needs to have some degree of strength in order for it to return to its optimal length. The first position in the video is less demanding on the core, so once you’ve gotten comfortable with this move, increase the challenge and demand on your stability by bringing your legs up.

The next two exercises are designed to enhance what you’ve done with your glute bridge by adding more depth to your overall hip strength and the different segments of your glutes. Clam shells and a hip extension will focus more on the side of the hips and your medial glute. But it’s important to point out that all of these exercises should be done with a conscious, consistent effort on your part to maintain tension in your glutes while you perform them. The exercises themselves should really be an enhancement to your intentional contraction of your glutes.

The final exercise is designed to bring everything together by incorporating a significant challenge to your balance and stability as well as drawing on the strong connection between your hips and hamstrings. Your hips to hamstrings complex is probably the strongest combination of muscles in your entire body. Being able to comfortably perform 15 to 20 hamstring curls using the stability ball indicates that you have achieved a solid level of hip strength, stability , and health.

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