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08 July 2023

Top 10 Hip Exercises for Strengthening and Pain Relief

If you are one of the many individuals who suffer from persistent or occasional hip pain, you’ll be pleased to discover that there are several effective strategies available and one of my favourite online health personalities has done a video that covers exactly that. I've included the full Youtube video at the bottom of this post, but wanted to get you started on your journey towards a pain-free life, by quickly running over what Dr Jo talks about.


The video includes ten exercises that will all help with both the strengthening of your hip muscles and assist with alleviating hip pain?


I've listed the ten exercises below, along with very brief instructions, but I'd recommend watching the video as Dr Jo is excellent, as always, at showing you how to do each exercise.


She recommends starting off with ten repetitions of each, but feel free to adjust this based on pain levels, discomfort, and general fitness. It is important that you don't overdo it, particularly if you are in discomfort


And remember the golden rule, always consult with your doctor or physical therapist if you have any concerns.


Okay, so here are the ten exercises that Dr Jo recommends.


1. Pelvic Tilts


Pelvic tilts are a versatile exercise that can help with low back pain, hip pain, and overall hip muscle strengthening. To perform a supine pelvic tilt:


  • Lie down on the ground with your legs propped up and feet flat on the ground.
  • Imagine squishing your hand underneath you.
  • Rotate your hips while pushing down, then come back up.


2. Bridging


Bridging is an excellent exercise that targets multiple muscles such as the hamstrings and gluteus maximus. Here’s how to do it:


  • Bring both knees up and put your feet flat on the ground.
  • Place your arms by your side.
  • Lift your bottom off the ground until it reaches about level.
  • Slowly lower yourself back down.


3. Clam Shells


Clam shells are effective for targeting the gluteus medius, TFL (tensor fasciae latae), and IT band muscles. Follow these steps to ensure proper form:


  • Lie on your side with the leg you want to exercise on top.
  • Keep your hips perpendicular to the ground.
  • Bend your knees and open up your leg like a clamshell.


4. Hip Flexion in Supine


Hip flexion in supine focuses on activating the hip flexor muscles. Here’s how to perform this exercise correctly:


  • Lie on your back and prop one knee up.
  • Straighten the leg you want to strengthen.
  • Pull your toes up towards you to lock out your knee.
  • Lift the leg almost equal to the other side before lowering it back down.


5. Side-Lying Hip Abduction


Side-lying hip abduction targets the outer hip muscles. Follow these steps for proper execution:


  • Lie on your side with the leg you want to exercise on top.
  • Keep your leg straight and toes pulled tight.
  • Lift the top leg up and control its descent.


6. Side-Lying Hip Adduction


This exercise focuses on working the inner thigh muscles. Here’s how to do it correctly:


  • Lie on your side with the leg you want to work at the bottom.
  • Place the top leg in either a forward or backward position, whichever is more comfortable for you.
  • Pull up your toes on the bottom leg to lock out your knee.
  • Bring your leg up while keeping it in line with your body.


7. Prone Hip Extensions


Prone hip extensions target both the gluteus maximus and hamstring muscles. Follow these steps for proper form:


  • Lie on your stomach.
  • Pull your toes towards you to help lock out your knee.
  • Lift your leg while keeping it as straight as possible.


8. Seated Hip Flexion


Seated hip flexion is an excellent exercise for targeting the hip flexor muscles, even while sitting at work! Here’s how to do it:


  • Ensure that your back is straight while seated.
  • Bring both knees straight upwards.


9. Squats at a Chair


Squats at a chair are convenient exercises that can be done anywhere, including at work. Follow these steps for a controlled movement:


  • Use a chair as a target for squats.
  • Step slightly away from the chair, ensuring that when squatting back, your chest goes forward but not too far forward that your knees go beyond your toes.
  • Squat back until you touch the chair and then come back up.


10. Lunges


Lunges are more challenging exercises that provide a great workout for the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Here’s how to do them correctly:


  • Step one foot out in front of you.
  • Ensure both feet point forward.
  • Keep your upper body straight, not leaning forward.
  • Go straight down, keeping the knee behind your toes, and then come back up.


There you have it—the top 10 hip exercises! Remember to start with 10 repetitions of each exercise and adjust according to your specific needs. Always listen to your body and consult a healthcare professional if necessary.


Here's the video itself, which I highly recommend watching as Dr Jo has such a pleasant style, and is clearly an expert in these things.






If you found this blog post helpful, please consider supporting Doctor Jo. You can find her youtube channel here:


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