Hip Stability Exercises for Better Movement Control

Hip Stability Exercises

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Hip stability is crucial for maintaining balance and ensuring efficient movement in our daily activities. Whether it’s walking, running, or performing complex exercises, the role of hip stability must be balanced. This guide is designed to introduce you to simple yet effective hip stability exercises that will help improve your movement control. By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you can enhance your overall physical performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Having stable hips helps distribute the weight of your body evenly, which is vital for posture and lower body strength. In the early sections of this article, we’ll explore the causes and symptoms of hip instability, followed by a carefully selected list of exercises aimed at improving this condition. Let’s dive into understanding why hip stability matters and how you can achieve better movement control through targeted exercises.

Causes of Hip Instability

Hip instability can result from various factors, significantly impacting your quality of life. Before we get to the heart of our exercise guide, it’s important to understand what leads to hip instability. Here are some common causes:

  • Muscle Weakness: Lack of strength in the muscles surrounding the hips, such as glutes and hip flexors, can lead to instability.
  • Poor Posture: Standing or sitting in poor posture for extended periods can strain hip muscles and ligaments.
  • Overuse Injuries: Athletes and individuals engaging in repetitive movements can suffer from overuse injuries, leading to hip issues.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity weakens hip muscles, contributing to instability.
  • Previous Injuries: Injuries to the hip or surrounding areas can lead to chronic instability if not properly rehabilitated.
  • Age-Related Wear and Tear: As we age, the natural wear and tear on our hip joints and muscles can lead to decreased stability.

Symptoms of Hip Instability

Recognizing the symptoms of hip instability is the first step toward addressing the issue. Here are six key symptoms to watch out for:

  • Pain in the Hip or Groin Area: Often the first indicator of hip problems.
  • Difficulty with Balance and Coordination: Challenges in performing activities that require stability.
  • Limping or Difficulty Walking: A sign that your hips are not supporting your body weight effectively.
  • Feeling of Hip ‘Giving Way’: Sensations of instability while standing or moving.
  • Reduced Range of Motion: Difficulty in moving the hip joint through its full range of motion.
  • Swelling or Stiffness Around the Hip: Can indicate inflammation or injury to the hip area.

Effective Hip Stability Exercises

Before beginning the exercises, it’s crucial to understand that consistency and proper form are key to achieving the best results. These exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles around the hip, improve balance, and enhance overall stability.

1. Abdominal Brace

Hip Stability Exercises: Abdominal Bracing
  • Begin on your back; knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. 
  • Exhale and draw your belly button towards your spine (as if a string was pulling on the inside of your belly button from the ground). 
  • Hold for 5 seconds before relaxing. 
  • Do this 10 times for one set, and complete 2 sets.

2. Clamshells

Clamshell step 1
Clamshell step 2
  • Start by paying on your side with both knees bent.
  • Keep your feet in contact with each other, and then rotate your top leg up. 
  • Make sure you keep your spine in alignment and your hips don’t rock back! Rule of thumb is to do a smaller range of motion if you think your back is moving.
  • Rotate your top leg back down to the starting position.
  • Do this 10 times for one set, and complete 3 sets.

3. Standing Hip Lifts

Hip Stability Exercises: standing hip lifts step 1
standing hip lifts step 2
  • Stand tall with one hand placed on a bed or chair. Balance on your left leg, keeping a soft bend in your knee to keep from locking out.
  • Leading with your heel, lift your right leg out to the side. Be sure not to lean to the left. 
  • Repeat 10 times per leg.
  • Complete 3 sets of the exercise.

4. Standing Hip Extension

Standing hip extension step 1
Standing Hip Extension step 2
  • Stand tall with your hands placed on a steady surface. You can use a counter, sink, or chair (no chairs with wheels) to hold on to for balance. 
  • Shift your weight onto your left leg, keeping a soft bend in your left knee to keep it from locking out.
  • Then, keeping your toes pointed forward and your right leg straight, lift your right leg back a few inches, then lower back down.
  • Repeat 10 times per leg for 3 sets.

5. Bridges

Engaging core and hips with the bridges exercise, supporting hip health and muscle strengthening.
Bridges 2
  • Lie on your bed or floor (a bed is better if you have difficulty getting on the floor). Again, ensure your knees are bent at about 90 degrees and your feet are flat on the floor. 
  • Lift your hips off the ground, using your hands to help push your hips up if needed.
  • Slowly lower your hips to the bed or floor and repeat 10 repetitions for 3 sets.

6. Single Leg Balance Progression

Coach Todd demonstrating a single leg balance progression exercise as a part of an exercises for arthritis, aimed at enhancing balance, strengthening lower body muscles, and promoting joint stability
Coach Todd demonstrating a single leg balance progression exercise as a part of an exercise routine for arthritis, aimed at enhancing balance, strengthening lower body muscles, and promoting joint stability
  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, placing your hands on a counter or sturdy surface for support.
  • Lift one foot off the ground and balance on the opposite leg.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds, focusing on maintaining your balance and stability.
  • Repeat the single-leg balance for a total of 3 sets on each side.
  • As you become more comfortable and confident, progress to the next level of difficulty.
  • Gradually shift your hand position from using the full palm on the counter to just your fingertips for support.
  • Once you feel steady, challenge yourself further by using only one hand on the counter while keeping the other hand by your side.
  • Finally, progress to performing the single-leg balance without any hand support, relying solely on your own balance and stability.
  • Remember to engage your core muscles, keep your posture upright, and breathe steadily throughout the exercise.

Care Tips for Hip Stability

Maintaining hip stability is not just about exercises; it’s also about how you care for your body daily. Here are some tips to keep your hips stable and healthy:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess body weight can put additional stress on your hips.
  • Practice Good Posture: Stand and sit with proper alignment to reduce strain on your hips.
  • Stay Active: Regular physical activity keeps the hip muscles strong and flexible.
  • Use Proper Techniques: Whether lifting objects or exercising, proper form prevents hip strain.
  • Rest and Recovery: Allow adequate recovery time between intense physical activities to prevent overuse injuries.
  • Regular Stretching: Incorporate stretching into your routine to maintain hip flexibility and range of motion.


Hip stability is a cornerstone of good movement control and overall physical health. By understanding the causes and symptoms of hip instability and incorporating the exercises outlined above into your routine, you can significantly improve your hip stability. Remember, consistency is key, and incorporating these exercises and care tips into your daily life can lead to lasting improvements in movement control and reduce the risk of injury.

Start with exercises that you feel comfortable with, gradually increasing intensity as your stability improves. Listening to your body and adjusting your routine as needed will ensure that you gain the maximum benefit from these exercises. Ultimately, better hip stability will enhance your ability to move freely and confidently in all aspects of your life.

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