How to perform hip abduction exercises

Flexibility and strength training are good for your abductor muscles



<p>Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images</p>
<p>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/eZcKBb7DvHo4fzGOrtvLbg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/verywell_health_articles_729/edc98c6330de4f085f4f80a62e9b1162″/><noscript><img alt=Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images

” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/eZcKBb7DvHo4fzGOrtvLbg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/verywell_health_articles_729/edc98c6330de4f085f4f80a62e9b1162″ class=”caas-img”/>

Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images

Medical review by Laura Campedelli, PT, DPT

Hip abduction is the action that moves the thighs directly out to the side, such as during the first half of a jumping jack. This movement is mainly performed by the gluteus medius muscleone of the three muscles commonly called the buttocks. Hip abduction exercises strengthen abduction movements and improve pelvic stability, particularly when you’re standing on one leg.

This article discusses hip abduction exercises, how to do them, what they are for, and what happens when the hip abductor muscles are weak.



<p>Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images</p><div class=

” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/SsHFRsRMh.rhcsaby6k24w–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MQ–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/verywell_health_articles_729/e79bc00607108528ca76aff51fbc605a”/>

Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images

Why is hip abduction good?

The hip abductors are responsible for stabilizing the pelvis and controlling leg movements. Hip abduction is essential for everyday activities such as walking and getting in and out of the car, bed and shower.

While these exercises won’t make your hips “wider,” they can give your butt a rounder appearance.

Possible causes of hip pain

Hip pain is often classified as orthopedic (related to muscles or bones) or non-orthopedic (related to something else), and is usually caused by one of the following:

Hip abduction exercises

Exercises that target your hip abductors can be done in various positions. You can also use a machine at the gym designed specifically for hip abduction.

How to use a hip abduction machine

Whether you’re exercising your hip abductors for fitness or rehabilitation, you may want to consider using a hip abduction machine. Here’s how to do it safely:

  1. Sit upright on the abductor machine.

  2. Grasp the handles to stabilize the trunk and maintain an upright position.

  3. Slowly push your hips outward as far as you can without pain, then return to the starting position.

Lateral hip abduction

Keep your toes pointing forward throughout the exercise to ensure you are targeting the correct muscles when performing the laterally extended hip abduction. Perform as follows:

  1. Lie on your left side with your legs stacked on top of each other.

  2. Place a pillow under your head or support it with your left hand.

  3. Place your right hand on the ground in front of you or rest it on your upper hip.

  4. Keeping your toes pointing forward and your knee straight, lift your top leg toward the ceiling.

  5. Hold the position for two to three seconds, then lower your back.

  6. Perform 10 reps, then repeat on the opposite leg.

Make this exercise more challenging by adding a cuff weight (between 3 and 5 pounds) to your ankle.

Shells

Clamshells target the hip abductors on the leg which are positioned overhead. Perform as follows:

  1. Lie on your left side with your legs stacked on top of each other, then bend both knees.

  2. Support your head with your left hand and rest your right hand on your right hip.

  3. Keeping your heels in contact with each other, lift your right knee towards the ceiling.

  4. Hold for two to three seconds, then lower your knee again.

  5. Perform 10 reps, then repeat on the opposite side.

If your hips begin to rotate backward during this exercise, decrease the height to which you raise your upper leg.

Standing hip abduction

Standing hip abduction works the muscles on both sides of the body simultaneously. Perform as follows:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart with your hands resting on your hips.

  2. Keeping your toes pointing forward and your knee straight, lift your right leg out to the side. Keep your body still. (If you start leaning to the opposite side, you’re lifting your leg too high.)

  3. Hold the position for two to three seconds, then return to the starting position.

  4. Perform 10 reps, then repeat on the opposite side.

Make this exercise more challenging by adding ankle weights or wrapping a resistance band around your lower legs.

Bandaged bridges

Start with a thinner resistance band and work your way up to thicker ones to increase the tension when you can do it with proper technique. Too much resistance shifts pressure to the spine, causing back pain. Perform as follows:

  1. Sit on the ground and place a circular elastic resistance band around your legs above your knees.

  2. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

  3. Separate your knees to tension the resistance band.

  4. Keeping your knees apart, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the ground. Keep your shoulder blades in contact with the ground.

  5. Hold for two to three seconds, then lower your hips again.

The monster walks

Make monster walking exercises harder as your strength improves by placing the resistance band around your ankles. Perform as follows:

  1. Place a circular resistance band around your thighs, just above your knees.

  2. Stand with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent in a mini-squat position.

  3. Spread your knees to put tension on the band.

  4. Maintaining tension on the band, take ten lateral steps to the right. Keep your toes pointing forward throughout the exercise.

  5. Take 10 lateral steps to the left.

You can go on monster walks, walking forwards or backwards.

Wrapped squats

Before attempting bandaged squats, make sure you can squat without resistance, using proper technique. Perform as follows:

  1. Place a circular resistance band around your thighs, just above your knees.

  2. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

  3. Spread your knees to put tension on the band.

  4. Lean forward at the hips, pushing your glutes back as if you were about to sit down in a chair.

  5. Squat down as far as possible while keeping your chest up.

  6. Stand up and repeat for 10 reps.

Fashionable hiking

The hip hiking exercise targets the hip abductors of the leg you’re on. Perform as follows:

  1. Stand sideways on the outside edge of a step with your left foot, with your right foot hovering above the ground.

  2. Lower your right hip to lower your right foot under the edge of the step.

  3. Lift (quickly lift) your right hip and hold for two to three seconds.

  4. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.

Hold onto a sturdy surface, such as a handrail or the back of a chair, to help with balance during this exercise.

Risks to safety during exercise

Consult a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise routine. If done incorrectly, some exercises can lead to injury or increased pain.

Related: Exercises to keep your hips strong and mobile

How to find the hip abductor muscles

The gluteus medius is the major hip abductor muscle. It is located deep in the gluteus maximus, the main muscle that shapes the glutes. You can feel the top of this muscle above the gluteus maximus. To find this muscle:

  1. Put your hands on your hips.

  2. Move your thumbs down an inch or two from the top of your pelvis.

  3. Press firmly into the soft tissue, this is the gluteus medius muscle.

THE fascia lata tensor (TFL) is a small muscle on the outside of the hip that helps with several hip movements, including abduction. To find this muscle:

  1. Put your hands on your hips.

  2. Run your fingertips along the outer thighs, about two inches below the top of your pelvis.

  3. This is the tensor fascia lata muscle.

If you are having trouble finding your TFL, place your fingers on the outside of your right hip. Balance on your left foot and lift your right leg out to the side (abduction). You should feel the muscle contract under your fingers.

Effects of weak hip abductors

If you have weak hip abductors, your body can overcompensate by engaging surrounding muscles to overcome the weakness. This can lead to pain, weakness or injury in the pelvis, knees and ankles and contribute to various symptoms and conditions, including:

Summary

Hip abduction is the action of moving the legs outward and out to the side. The muscles that perform hip abduction, primarily the gluteus medius, also help maintain pelvic stability. Strong hip abductors can help prevent other symptoms or conditions, such as low back pain, hip pain, and patellofemoral syndrome. Hip abduction exercises can be done in a variety of positions.

#perform #hip #abduction #exercises

Leave a Comment