Hips can be a problem area for stiffness and pain, particularly if you spend a lot of time sitting. Several important muscles connect at your hips, including the adductors on the inner thigh, the hip flexors down the front of the thigh and the abductors in the outer thigh.
Stephanie Ridgway, a physical therapist, encourages her clients to work on strengthening these muscles in order to mitigate pain elsewhere in the body.
"If the hips are weak, more stress is placed on the knees during all forms of activity," she says in her Instagram post. "Working on strength and stability in the hips is a great starting point for treating knee pain."
There are many causes for knee pain—and you should go and see your doctor or a physiotherapist if your knees regularly hurt—but this exercise is simple to perform and can be a great way to build up your hip strength.
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One move to strengthen and stabilize your hips
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Can stretching also help your hips?
In addition to strengthening your hips with the workout above, you should consider doing static hip stretches.
"Stretching the hip is important as it helps avoid tight hip flexors," says Henry Ojo, a neuromuscular and musculoskeletal injury rehabilitator.
He explains that hip flexors can shorten if you sit for long periods of time, as sitting puts these muscles in a compressed position. This leads to tight, inflexible hip flexors, which make you more prone to injury.
Doing some daily hip stretches can counteract this, but it's also a good idea to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting.
Why is hip strength and stability so important?
"In a balanced hip, the hip flexors move the leg forward and the gluteals and hip extensors turn on during weight-bearing movements to stabilize and extend the hip," says Amy Hoover, a physiotherapist at Pvolve.
This means that your hip flexors play a big role in walking and standing, so if they're weak it can impact your gait and posture.
When your hips aren’t putting in their fair share of work, you can also create muscle imbalances in the body, which will cause aches and pains in other areas. It's not unusual to suffer from pain in your knees and back if you have weak hip flexors.
Luckily, there are some simple ways to strengthen and stretch hip flexors, including workouts like the above and this gentle hip mobility yoga flow.
Need a new mat to support your mobility practice? Have a look at our tried-and-tested guide to the best yoga mats
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Lou Mudge is a Health Writer at Future Plc, working across Fit&Well and Coach. She previously worked for Live Science, and regularly writes for Space.com and Pet's Radar. Based in Bath, UK, she has a passion for food, nutrition and health and is eager to demystify diet culture in order to make health and fitness accessible to everybody.
Multiple diagnoses in her early twenties sparked an interest in the gut-brain axis and the impact that diet and exercise can have on both physical and mental health. She was put on the FODMAP elimination diet during this time and learned to adapt recipes to fit these parameters, while retaining core flavors and textures, and now enjoys cooking for gut health.
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