Are You Strengthening All Areas of Your Hips?

Kelsey Lensman ATC

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Think about your day-to-day life. You walk, sit, stand, move to the side, turn around, back up, twist, turn, and SO much more. Do you just walk in a straight line the entire day? No. Do you never move side-to-side? No. You move in ALL directions EVERY day. This isn’t just when you’re playing sports, this is when you’re just simply living life. So, why would we not focus on strengthening your hips in ALL directions?

Your glutes are the main driver of your hips. They are supposed to be the strongest and most activated in your lower body. However, this isn’t the case for many people (read my last article on glute activation for more details on that). But when you think of glutes, what motion do you think of? Hip extension or extending your leg straight back, right? That is not wrong, however (and this is a big however), they do SO much more than that!!

You have 3 different main glute muscles (shown in picture below). Glute maximus is the largest one and mainly does hip extension. Glute medius and glute minimus abducts the hip and internally rotates the hip. Without the fancy words that basically means the biggest muscle helps you kick your leg straight back, while the two other smaller (but VERY important) ones assist in kicking your leg out to the side.  We focus on glute maximus a TON with lunging, squatting, deadlifting, sprinting, walking, etc. What we don’t focus on a ton is other directions! How often do you lunge back in a 45-degree angle? How often do you lunge to the side? How often do you side shuffle instead of run straight?

To build a strong foundation we need to start working in ALL directions and focus on glute medius/glute minimus! Yes, we use those two in motions as squatting, lunging, running, etc. still because they help us stabilize, however, we need to start doing exercises that FOCUS on them. Below are a few of my favorite exercises to focus on strengthening of your hips that we don’t focus a ton on!

  1. 45 degree angle glute kickbacks
  2. Lateral Lunges
  3. Banded Side Steps
  4. Bench Stepovers
  5. Seated Abduction (Explained in “My New Favorite Glute Exercise” Article)

 We don’t move in one direction, so why would we train in one direction? Try throwing these exercises into your leg day routine and see the BURN that you didn’t even know existed! As always, let’s train hard, but train smart also!

If you liked this article check out:

My New Favorite Glute Exercise