Hip strength training is a lesser known addition to a regular strength training program. Everyone knows to work the abs and biceps… but we often neglect strength training exercises for the hips.
Hip strength training is broken down into a few basic exercises. Each exercise is designed to work one or more of two major muscles groups. They are the hip flexors and the hip abductors.
The hip flexor muscles consist of 5 muscles. They are the iliopsoas, sartorius, rectus femoris, tensor fasciae latae and the pectineus. They can all be found near the groin and in the front of the thigh.
The hip abductors consist of 3 muscles located directly on the side of the hip and on the derriere. They are called gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and the tensor fasciae latae or gluteus maximus.
Many people assume that we only have one hip muscle. That’s not the case. Instead we have a mix of muscles. They are all responsible for different movements and motions. And they each have their own exercises that target the specific muscle group.
A proper strength training program for the hips will include a mix of hip exercises.
Your hips often get worked when you perform basic leg strength training exercises, but it is always a good idea to throw in a few isolated hip strength training exercises once a week- preferably on the day you do legs.
Isolated hip strength training exercises are exercises that target the hip muscles. These hip strength training exercises include hip abductions and varying leg raises. The word abduction refers to moving the leg away from the body. This can happen through exercises in the gym or at home.
Hip strength training can easily be performed on a machine at the gym. You will want to ask your trainer which machine works the abductors. Your trainer should show you a machine in which you sit down, place the sides of your legs against a cushion, and then slowly move your legs away from each other. This is a picture of what the machine should look like.
You can also perform hip strength training exercises at home. Head over to the leg exercise page and scroll down until you see the “Lying Side Leg Raise” exercise about half way down. You will see that in this exercise and the hip strength training exercise on the abductor machine the basic premise is the same- moving your leg away from your body. This isolates and engages your hip muscles.
It is important to mention that doing hip strength training exercises is not going to directly shed fat from your hips. These hip exercises will strengthen the muscles and add a nice layer of toned muscle to your body. This muscle will not cause you to look bulky. It will provide sexy and sleek body contours.
If you hate the way your hips look (after all we either like them or HATE them), then you are most likely unhappy with the fat that has begun to accumulate there. If so, you definitely need to partake in a full body strength training program and a kick butt nutrition program. No crash dieting. No quick fixes. The absolute best way to lose overall body fat is by working with a trainer or by following the Melt the Fat program.