Exercises for strong and sculpted hips
February 8, 2008
Every time you stand, climb, walk, run, ski or cycle, your hip abductors and adductors engage to stabilize the hip joint. Strengthening of the hip joint helps to protect the stability and integrity of the hip by smoothing out your gait, enabling you to balance as you transfer weight from one foot to the other. In addition to strengthening these muscle groups, exercises targeting the hip abductors/adductors, also provide shape and contour to the hip. Try the following two exercises and enjoy the results.
Muscle Function and Location:
The hip abductors (i.e. gluteus medius and gluteus minimus along with other assistor muscles); originate on the upper/outer portion of the hip inserting on the lateral portion of the femur (i.e. the thigh bone). When the abductors contract, the leg moves away from the midline of the body.
The hip adductors (i.e. adductor longus, adductor brevis, and adductor magnus along with other assistor muscles); originate on lower portion of the pelvic area and insert along the medial side of the femur. When the adductors contract, the leg moves across the midline of the body.
Side lying hip abduction on a fit ball (55-65cm size) ” targets the hip abductor muscle group.
– Lean your left hip against a fit ball, your top/bottom thighs should be parallel to one another, the top leg straight and the bottom leg flexed at the knee joint approximately 45 degrees so that you feel comfortable supporting yourself on that leg.
– Your left arm should rest on the ball so that the body remains one straight line from the top of your head to the toes of your right foot and relax your shoulders away from your ears keeping the shoulder girdle stabilized.
– Engage your abdominal and core muscles by pulling your navel toward your spine.
– Initiate the movement from the right hip joint, lifting the right leg just to the point where you can keep the hips, knees and toes facing forward (i.e. do not permit the leg to rotate externally from the hip causing the knees/toes to point toward the ceiling).
– Lower the leg to the beginning position without touching the foot to the floor.
Repeat on both sides, two-three sets of 8-12 repetitions, two to three days per week, two slow counts up and down.
Standing cable adduction ” (targets the hip adductor muscle group)
– Attach the ankle cuff to the right ankle of a low-pulley cable station. Stand with the legs shoulder distance apart and the left leg staggered just behind parallel to the right leg. Maintain a soft knee on both legs. Hold onto the vertical support of the cable station with the right hand; however, avoid leaning into the machine.
– Engage the abdominals and core by pulling the navel toward the spine. Keep your eyes fixed forward.
– Relax the shoulders away from the ears keeping the shoulder girdle stabilized.
– Adduct the right leg initiating the movement from the right inner hip joint crossing the leg in front of the left leg.
– Return the leg to the beginning position with control not permitting the weights you are lifting to touch the weight stack.
– Repeat on both sides two-three sets of 8-12 repetitions, two to three days per week, two slow counts out and back.
Next week look for great guidelines on healthy eating.
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