I’ve got uneven and weak hips (yes, it’s okay to insert jokes here). This is likely the cause of my running-related injuries. I see a chiropractor, Dr. Moses of Arlington Pain and Rehab, and anyone who knows me knows how I call him my miracle worker. A bit extreme perhaps, but he fixes me up and teaches me how to avoid getting the same injuries over and over again. One area of particular focus has been strengthening my hips, and foam rolling my legs and glutes everyday.
Three days a week I do my hip strengthening exercises, foam roll afterward, and then ice. (I should note that I foam roll almost every day, not just when I perform these exercises.) Below are my exercises, and you can find step-by-step directions for them on Active.com. I do each exercise once and do about 15-20 reps for each. I want to stress something about reps though. If you are struggling or losing form, stop. It does you no good to continue doing reps with tired form.
Side Leg Raises
Tip: Do not lean back when you lift your leg. Remain in a straight line while you lie on your side. Leaning back allows you to “cheat.”
Tip: If you practice yoga, this exercise will be familiar to you. Keep your core engaged.
Tip: When you drop your hip, keep the one that isn’t dropping in a neutral position.
Tip: While on your back, place your arms on the ground with hands facing up. Open your arms into a V-shape and try to keep your shoulders on the ground when you lift up into bridge.
Tip: This move works your glutes too! Remember to keep your core engaged.
Clam Shells (step-by-step not on Active.com)
This move is absolutely killer at targeting your side glutes. Here’s how to properly perform this exercise:
- Lie on your left side on the floor with your hips and knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Your right leg should be on top of your left, and heels should be together. You can rest your head on an outstretched arm during this exercise.
- Keep your feet together and raise your right knee to be parallel with your hip. Do not allow your lower leg to come off the floor. Pause for 2 seconds before lowering.
- Do 15-20 reps and then repeat for other leg.
To learn about different variations of the Clam Shell or the benefits of this exercise, visit Jillian Michael’s website here.
Here’s to happy (and strong) hips!