Health Library

Categories > Muscles and Joints > Joint pain

Get hip to hip protection

The hip is a remarkably strong and stable joint. Most hip problems, such as pain and stiffness, are caused by aging, fractures and disease like osteoarthritis. Stretching and strengthening the large muscles that surround and support your hips—like those of your thighs, lower back, groin, buttocks and abdominals—can help keep these all-important joints in good condition and maintain flexibility and range of motion. You can protect your hips with these exercises from the American Physical Therapy Association:

Standing hip strengthener

This exercise helps the abductor muscles around your hips.

  1. Stand behind a chair. Hold onto the chair back, keeping your back straight and your head up.
  2. Slowly move your right leg out to the side 12 inches. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly return to standing position.
  3. Repeat with each leg 10 times or until your hip is tired.

Sideways hip stretch

This stretches the hip and buttocks muscles.

  1. Lie on your back, keeping your right leg flat on the floor.
  2. Grab your left ankle with your right hand and your left knee with your left hand. Let your hip rotate. Gently pull your leg toward your shoulder until you feel your hips and buttocks stretch.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds; repeat with your other leg.

Bridging basics

This exercise works your abdominal, buttocks and hamstring muscles.

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Tighten your abdominal and buttocks muscles. Lift your pelvis up until it’s in a straight line with your knees.
  3. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

In addition, cycling, on either a stationary bicycle or a road bike, helps maintain strength and mobility without excessive stress on your hip joints. If you already have balance or posture problems or you have hip pain related to arthritis or osteoporosis, talk to your healthcare provider or physical therapist about special exercises to keep you in hip shape.