Hip Strengthening Exercises

Weak hips have been linked to patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), otherwise known as runner’s knee by researchers over the years. A study published in 2013 showed that women who develop PFPS have greater instability in their hips as they walk. A different study established that after a serious run people with PFPS had a faster decline in their hip-strength in the short-term as compared to those who do not have the condition. Based on these findings, it is apparent that hip strengthening exercises are needed to prevent runner’s knee.

Hip Strengthening Exercises

To strengthen and stabilize your core, you should commit to hip strengthening exercises 1-3 times per week. You will reduce the risk of getting injuries and also increase your pace in the long run. Perform the repetitions as recommended as long as you do not feel any pain. As you progress with your routine, you can increase the sets and repetitions.

Resistance Band Hip Extension

Instructions: Stand next to a chair or table for balance. Have the resistance band around your ankle as shown above. Your knee and back should be kept straight. Move your leg outwards and slowly tightening your bum muscles.

Repetitions: 10 times for each leg

Sets: 3

The Calm

Instructions: Lying on your side, move your bent legs towards you so that your hips are at an angle of about 30 degrees.

You entire body should be straight except you knees and your hips together. Open up your knees and keep your heels together. Ensure the pelvis is in a neutral position.

Repetitions: 15-25 times for each leg.

Sets: 1 with the weak side, 1 with the strong side, and 1 with the weak side again.

Single-Leg Deadlift

Instructions:There are different ways of doing this one of hip strengthening exercises. The main goal is to bend forward, reaching your arms to the ground while keeping your shoulders, back and supporting leg as straight as possible.

Another way of doing it is by having the leg bearing no weight lifted and as parallel as possible to the ground. You can progress by adding weights or standing on a less stable ground. To align your hips, rotation is necessary.

Repetitions: 10 to 20 times for each leg

Sets: 1 on the weak leg, 1 on the stronger one, and 1 on the weak one again.

Single-Leg Squat

Instructions: You are required to move your back backwards and downwards instead of the supporting knee moving forwards. This is not easy as it requires a high level of flexibility, coordination and balance. Because of this, single-leg squat is in the higher levels of exercise progression. If you try it out too early in your routine, you will end up moving your leg, which beats the purpose as this will put stress on the knees and quadriceps muscles as well as reducing the involvement of glute muscle.

Repetitions: 10 to 20 times for each leg

Sets: 1 on the weak leg, 1 on the strong leg, 1 on the weak leg again

Donkey Kicks

Instructions: This requires you to get down on fours, lift and extend your legs while maintaining your hands on the ground. Keep your knee bent and kick upwards with the sole of your shoe facing upwards.

Repetitions: 15 to 20 times for each leg

Hip Hikes

Instructions:Stand on one foot, drop the left side of your pelvis a few inches down and maintain the right side in a neutral spot. Lift the left side to the starting position by activating your right hip muscle.

Repetitions: 15 to 20 times for each side

Bird Dog

Instructions: Get on your fours. Paying attention to balance, raise your right arm and stretch it straight away from your frontal body. At the same time, raise your left leg and stretch it straight away from your lower body. Bring your extended limbs to the center, that is, under your body, and stretch them out again.

Repetitions: 15 to 20 times for each leg

Side Leg Raises

Instructions:Lie on your side with your legs close together. Raise the leg on the top to 45 degrees then bring it back down.

Repetitions: 15 to 20 times for each leg.

There are easier hip strengthening exercises that you can perform 3 times a day 10 times each. They include:

Straight Leg Raise

Lying on the floor flat with one knee bent and the other leg straight, raise the flat leg to about 45 degrees. Ensure that your toes and knee are facing the sky. Hold the leg in that position for 2 seconds then bring it down.

Hip Abduction Standing

Stand next to a table or stationery chair for balance. Your foot should be facing upwards and your knee and back should be kept straight. Move your leg slowly to the side as you tighten the muscle on the side of your hip/thigh. Hold that position for 2 seconds then take it back.

Adductor Squeeze

Lie in the position showed above and place a ball or rolled towel between your knees. Squeeze the item between your knees and tighten the adductors (inner thigh muscles). Hold that position for 5 seconds and then relax.


Start by lying on your back with knees bent as shown above. Raise your bottom slowly by pushing through your feet. Do this until your shoulder, hip and knee are at the same level in a straight line. As you do this, tighten the muscles of your bottom. Hold this position for 2 seconds.

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