Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hip FAQ

Question:

I'm 74-years old and fit as a fiddle. I want to keep up my leg strength. What's the best way to strengthen the muscles along the sides of my hips?

Answer:

Hip exercises are commonly prescribed for older adults after hip injury or surgery. Even without hip problems, it's also a good idea to maintain muscle strength as we get older. Keeping muscles and balance tuned can help prevent falls and fractures.

Physical therapists at the University of Kentucky compared six different hip exercises for the gluteus medius muscle. This is a hip abductor (moves the leg away from the body). It's located on the outside of the hip.

Three of the exercises were done without putting weight on the leg. Three were done in the standing position while putting full weight on the leg. It turns out that the standing weight-bearing exercises activate the muscle the most.

Some examples include:

  • Face sideways on a stair while holding a banister for support. Place one leg on the stair and put your full weight on it. Keep both knees straight. Lower the other foot toward the next stair down by dropping your hip or pelvis down on that side. Return the pelvis to a level position.
  • Stand with both legs about hip-width apart (or slightly less). Stand on the right leg. Keep the pelvis level. Move the left leg about six to eight inches away from the body. Return to the midline and repeat several times. Keep your hips level as you move your leg out to the side. Switch and repeat on the other side.
  • Repeat the exercise above keeping both hips and knees bent about 20 degrees.

    Lori A. Bolgla, PT, MS, ATC, and Timothy L. Uhl, PT, PhD, ATC. Electromyographic Analysis of Hip Rehabilitation Exercises in a Group of Healthy Subjects. In Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. August 2005. Vol. 35. No. 8. Pp. 487-494.

    *Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
    All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.
  • Our Specialties

    Where Does It Hurt?

    Our Locations

      Follow Us

    Follow us on Facebook Follow us on YouTube
    Follow us on Twitter