Exercises For Strong and Supple Hips

Exercises & Stretches | Written by Jon Chambers | Updated on 30 October 2021

This may seem odd to you, but in my experience coaching others and training myself, one’s hips are an easy spot to neglect. It isn’t popular to work out the muscles that comprise your hip compartment and there aren’t cool YouTube videos on it. However, training your hip muscles is extremely important if you want to remain healthy and continue training for years to come. If you are beginner, taking advantage of the hip protocol that I am going to include in this guide could literally save you years of grief caused my either getting injured or not reaching you potential effectively.

On top of being missed in most workouts, they are badly mistreated. When is the last time you remember stretching your hips and exercising them? Probably never. On top of that, you are always sitting down. And, on top of both of those reasons, most people have pelvic tilt issues brought on by unhealthy lifestyles.

In other words, your hips probably aren’t doing so hot. That’s cool though because I have literally developed a hip program that I am including here for free. Why am I doing this when I could easily sell this product by itself? I truly care about your safety and long-term progress. If I don’t include this here, I know that you will end up not being able to become the best version of your success.

Talk is cheap though. Once you have performed the hip and lower body warm-up I talked about earlier, you are good to go and ready to rock. Here is the entire hip workout that I recommend you do once a week in addition to your main workout (which is later on the guide).

Before you complete this routine for the first time I want you to stand up and complete 15 bodyweight squats. Don’t think about it. Just do it. Once you have done that, go ahead and knock this out:

  1. Vacuums (3 sets x 15 repetitions) -> This will help to work your intra-abdominal wall. This is the inner lining of your abs. When people say that they want “abs” they are referring to the outer, visible abdominals. With this exercise that isn’t your focus. To perform this exercise you want to be standing (once you have learned it you can get it done in any position that you like, such as when you are lying in bed at night). Next, breathe out all of the air in your lungs; you really want to force every bit of air out. As you do this, “suck in” your stomach and squeeze your abs down. You will feel it immediately.
  2. Hip Bridges (3 sets x 15 repetitions) -> This is an amazing exercise that will teach you to properly engage and fire your glutes. When you have been sitting down all day your glutes will effectively be “dead” or “turned off.” This is because your entire upper body weight has been pressing down and inhibiting the glutes’ natural posture. By utilizing hip bridges you can bring your glutes back to life. Once you do these, stand up and walk around. You will quickly notice how un-engaged your glutes normally are. Instead, after performing this movement, you will feel your glutes helping your legs and knees properly track in alignment. Awesome! Once you get good at doing them with both feet on the ground, start to do single-leg hip bridges.
  3. Bird Dog (3 sets x 15 repetitions) -> While it may have a funny name, this is another amazing hip and glute activation exercise that will allow you to really get in tune with your lower body and how it is moving and feeling. Make sure that you complete this right after hip bridges to get the most out of both of them, as they tie in synergistically.
  4. Side Bridge Short Lever (3 sets x 15 repetitions) -> I have tried to do this exercise in multiple different ways and from multiple angles, but I always come back to this one for my clients and I because of how awesome the contraction is. This exercise is focused on getting your abductors moving and firing properly. Your abductors are located on the side of your hips and they are responsible with moving your thigh away from the midline of your body. One’s abductors are extremely important for overall knee and hip health because they help your knee to track properly over your toes.

What does it mean when I keep saying “knees track over your toes?” In essence, when you are doing anything, you want your knees to clearly follow a path over your foot. This will make sure that don’t put any unsafe pressure on your knees. Additionally, it will help at effectively completing whatever movement is being called upon, whether that be for working out, walking, running, or sports.

  1. Supine Adduction (3 sets x 15 repetitions) -> Your adductors work synchronously with your abductors (if you have healthy hips; most don’t, which is why you are doing this!). While your abductors are located on the outside of your hips, your adductors are located on the inner part of your thigh. The adductor muscle is responsible for bringing your thigh towards the midline of your body. I have found that it can be difficult to feel it in the right area, so make sure to play around with your body positioning until you find the perfect “sweet spot” for you.
  2. Supine Psoas Holds (3 sets x 15 repetitions) -> This exercise is tough for a reason. It isn’t the most comfortable position to be in, but Supine Psoas Holds are also very important for your hip health and performance in the gym. At the top of each repetition make sure to squeeze and contract tightly.

You’re done! Now, I want you to stand up again and complete 15 bodyweight squats. You will be able to tell a significant difference between the squats you initially did before the hip workout and the bodyweight squats you do after. Instead of the squat feeling like a “leg exercise” it will feel like a complete lower-body movement. You will feel your entire hips come alive and help you move up and down efficiently and effectively.

That didn’t take you very long at all, but the benefits are literally enormous. This hip protocol will help you squat more, jump higher, feel better, and stay injury free. Make sure to do this at least once a week. If you are just starting out, I recommend that you try to complete it two or three times a week.

About the Author

Squatting 500 pounds on an ohio rogue bar with a sports hernia

Jon Chambers

Jon Chambers is a powerlifter, strength coach, sports hernia expert, and writer involved in the strength training community for almost a decade on a mission to create the best strength and fitness guides on the web.