Exercises for Hip Strength

Strong hips and legs are an essential component for longevity and to help decrease pain. Here are five hip exercises that can help improve strength, decrease tightness, and reduce pain. These versions are super simple and can be done with minimal equipment.

5 Best Exercises for Hip Strength

  1. Single leg hip bridge exercise
  2. Cable Hip Flexion Exercise
  3. Sidelying Hip Abduction
  4. Suitcase RDL
  5. Single Leg Step up

#1 Single Leg Hip Bridge

Good for: Hip extension strength

The glutes are the largest muscle in the body, so this hip strengthening exercise works them directly. Hip extension is key to walking and really anything that requires you to be powerful.

3 sets of 10-15

#2 Cable Hip Flexion Strengthening Exercise

Good for: hip flexion and ab/trunk strength

People often complain of tightness in the front of the hip. Stretches can give short term relief but that tight feeling can be improved with hip flexion strengthening.

This exercise can be done with 1 leg or 2. If you are doing it at home, bands can be used. Here’s some examples of other variations.

3 sets of 10-15

Not every gym has this piece of equipment, so here’s some affiliate links for 1) resistance bands and 2) a reverse squat strap

#3 Sidelying Hip Flexion Exercise

Good for: hip lateral rotators/glute med

Basic hip strengthening exercise for the glute med/hip lateral rotators. You should feel this in the side of your hip, about where your back pocket is. The wall helps keep that technique.

One you get the technique you can move away from the wall.

Some gyms have machines for this, feel free to use this. I prefer this with the hip extended, so a version where you are standing up straight, not sitting down.

3 sets of 10-15

#4 Suitcase RDL Exercise

Good For: hamstring, glutes, single leg balance

This is great for your posterior chain and improve glute and hamstring function. You can do this without resistance, or add a dumbbell or kettlebell or sandbag – really anything that adds weight.

3 sets of 8-12 reps

Here are a few other variations I like. They are all the same movement, just different ways to get progressive overload.

The deadlift is commonly used instead of the RDL, which I believe is a mistake. The RDL complements the deadlift, not vice versa, and I commonly find people experience back pain with the deadlift more than the RDL.

#5 Forward Box Step Up

Good for: hip and leg strength

The simplest single leg exercise known to man. Come down slow and controlled. Be sure to DRIVE the foot THRU the box as you step up.

Increase the challenge by 1) increasing the box height or 2) added weight. For adding weight, start with weight in the opposite hand, then progressed to both hands.

3 sets of 10-15

Programming Exercises for Hip Strength

Hip strengthening exercises should be pretty basic. The simpler, the better. These can be done 2-3x/week, and can be adapted to fit into your current fitness plan.

After a good hip mobility warm up, you can perform all 5 exercises, starting at 3 sets of 10, progressing to sets of 12, then 15. When you hit 15, increase the challenge by finding another variation or increasing the resistance.

You can split it up between 2 sessions as well. Here is a sample.

program with exercises for hip strength
Simple 2 session/week program

Summary

Hip strengthening exercises can be pretty basic. Actually, like all exercise, the simpler the better. These can be done 2-3 times a week, as well as incorporated into your standard fitness plan.

Get stronger at these over a 3-6 month period and there’s nothing you won’t be able to accomplish.

Hip and back PAIN often go hand in hand with hip and low back WEAKNESS. It’s amazing how just getting stronger resolves aches and pains. The trouble is figuring out where to start.

We’ve developed our most comprehensive program to address this and take the guess work out of it.

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