How to Promote Hip Health through Exercise

By Jennifer Dawson+

practising yoga, standing in horse rider exercise, anjaneyasana pose, working out, wearing black sportswear, cool urban style, full length, grey studio background, side view Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch | Dr Ken Nakamura Best Toronto Chiropractor

Jennifer Dawson, writer at is our guest columnist for this article on promoting hip health through exercise.

If you have suffered from hip pain in the past, then it is more than possible that you have consulted a chiropractor to deal with issues such as arthritis, inflammation, sciatica, overuse, femoral acetabular impingement syndrome, or trauma. Many of these conditions are common in people of all ages, in no small part because we rely on our hip health for everything from bending to jumping, and even maintaining balance. If you are into fitness and working out, it is important to prevent injuries and overuse through stretching of the hip muscle groups: the flexors, extensors, abductors, adductors, and rotators. Hip health exercises are a cornerstone of your core.

#1 Hip Flexors For Hip Health

practising yoga, standing in horse rider exercise, anjaneyasana pose, working out, wearing black sportswear, cool urban style, full length, grey studio background, side view Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch | Dr Ken Nakamura Best Toronto Chiropractor

These muscles, located at the front of the hip, are responsible for important aspects of motion, including our ability to bend, run, or kick. When we lead a sedentary lifestyle, these muscles can become tight and start to hurt. Tightness can also occur in runners and other athletes who use these muscles frequently.


To loosen the hip flexors, and restoring hip health stretching is important.  Try the half kneeling hip flexor stretch, which involves kneeling on one knee with the other at a right angle to the body and the foot flat on the floor. Lunge your upper body forward towards the raised knee for a few seconds, repeating the stretch various times.

#2 Hip Extensors

Hip Extensor Exercise For Gluteus Maximus and Stability: Dr Ken Nakamura | Best Toronto Chiropractor

The muscles that extend the hip include the hamstring muscles and the gluteus maximus. They are also involved in a plethora of movements, including walking, running, jumping, etc.


To extend these muscles, try the leg extension. Kneel on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keep your back straight and extend one leg until you have formed a straight line from head to foot. Repeat with your other leg and so forth.

#3 Hip Abductors

Hip Adductor Exercise

Picture Reference #1


These muscles are used when we move our leg away from the middle of the body – for instance when we step out of a car. To strengthen them, lie on our side with one leg on top of the other, feet touching sideways. With an elastic ribbon around both knees, lift the top knee upwards, and bring it back down, repeating various times, then changing sides and repeating with your other knee.

#4 Hip Adductors

Hip Adductor Exercise With A Ball | Dr Ken Nakamura Best Toronto Chiropractor close-up of patient holding yellow ball between her knees during rehabilitation

These muscles, located in the inner thigh, are used to move your leg toward your body. They are important for maintaining stability and preventing groin injuries.


The are many exercises to strengthen the adductors, one of which involves the use of a stability ball. Just lie on your back on a mat with knees bent at a 45º angle and your feet flat on the floor. Place the ball between your knees and press your thighs against the ball several times.

#5 External Hip Rotators

Piriformis Stretch | Dr Ken Nakamura

Picture Reference #2

These muscles allow us to open our legs outward. They can become painful when we sit too long and stretch too little. When we have a sedentary lifestyle, blood flow and nervous activity are reduced in these muscles, and pain, numbness, and tingling can ensue.


One exercise that is easy to perform is called the seated leg to chest exercise. Sit down and cross one leg over the other, bringing the knee of your crossed leg towards your chest. This stretch needs to be performed every day for several minutes because most of us spend so many hours sitting down. It can take months for these muscles to reach their optimal length, so be patient and constant when performing them.

It is interesting to think that even the most diligent athletes often ignore the hip muscle groups when exercising. Since tight muscles can cause pain and lead to instability and injury, it is worth taking a few minutes a day to stretch these muscles, especially if we sit for many hours on end, or if we partake in running and other high-impact activities.


Picture Reference # 1  Hip Abductor Exercise.

Pictgure Reference #2 External Hip Rotators:


Jennifer Dawson

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