Preventing Hip Pain
Recovering from a hip injury? Or suffering from chronic hip pain from another source? Doing these exercises can help you to feel better and get back on your feet. Back on your feet without pain, that is!
This exercise helps strengthen your gluteal muscles.
Lie on your back on the floor, with your knees bent 90 degrees and your feet flat. Squeeze a rolled up towel or a ball between your knees.
Keeping your torso straight, flex your gluteals and bridge your hips towards the ceiling. Maintain a strong gluteal contraction, holding for 3-5 seconds at the top of the exercise. Then slowly lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat 8-15 times, for 2-3 sets.
Note: You should feel this exercise in your gluteal muscles, and not in your lower back or hamstrings.
This exercise will help to strengthen your quadriceps muscles, especially the lower section near your knee.
Lying on your back, straighten your left leg while keeping the right one bent at a 90 degree angle. Contract the muscle in the front of your left thigh (i.e. your quadriceps muscle), gently pressing the back of your knee downwards towards the floor. Do not press too hard.
Hold the contraction for 3-5 seconds, then relax. Repeat this 8-15 times, then switch and repeat on your right leg. Do 2-3 sets, alternating legs.
Straight Leg Raise
This exercise also works your quadriceps muscles, but closer to where the muscles insert at your hips.
Lying on your back on the floor, with your hands at your sides, bend your right knee 90 degrees. Your left leg should be straight.
Tighten your quadriceps muscle in your left leg, and lift your leg about 12 inches from the floor. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then lower slowly. Repeat this 8-15 times, then switch and repeat with your right leg. Do 2-3 sets, alternating legs.
Side-Lying Leg Raise
This exercise strengthens the outer part of your thigh.
Lie comfortably on your left side, either with your head laying on your left arm, or propping yourself up with your left arm.
Tighten the muscle in the front part of your right thigh, and lift that leg into the air, approximately 12 inches from your lower leg. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then lower back down slowly. Repeat 8-15 times, then switch and repeat with your left leg. Do 2-3 sets, alternating legs.
Your adductors are the muscles on the insides of your thighs. Strengthening them is not as easy as strengthening the abductors (the muscles on the outside of your thigh), but is still quite possible.
Lie comfortably on your left side, either with your head laying on your left arm, or propping yourself up with your left arm. Move your right foot and knee forward slightly, off of your left (bottom) leg, staggering your legs somewhat.
Keeping your knees and toes pointing forward, gently lift your left leg (keeping it behind your right) to approximately 8 inches from the floor. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then slowly lower your leg back to the ground. Repeat this 8-15 times, then switch and do the same with your right leg. Do 2-3 sets, alternating legs.
By Richard Lobbenberg, BSc BHSc DAc
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