Hip Strengthening Exercises Are Important For Everyone
There are a number of reasons for doing hip strengthening exercises, and three of the primary ones are discussed below. While in some cases the exercises may differ slightly among these three categories, the ultimate goal is always the same, and that is to strengthen the muscles of the hip, legs, and lower body.
The Hip Muscles
The hip is a large ball joint, in which the rounded end of the upper leg bone fits into a socket in the pelvis. Ligaments, muscles and tendons hold the bone in place, and also enable hip movement. There are 27 muscles in each hip, which are divided into 4 main groups, the gluteal group, the adductor group, the abductor group, and the iliopsoas group.
The gluteus maximus, a muscle within the gluteal group, is the largest muscle in the body. Its function is to straighten the leg, and also to move the body from a sitting to a standing position. The function of the adductor group is to move the leg towards the center of the body, while the abductor group allows movement away from the center of the body. The iliopsoas muscle group, which includes the powerful iliacus muscle, serve to move the torso or trunk upward, from a lying to a sitting position. The functions these groups of muscles perform essentially define the hip strengthening exercises they benefit from. A complete set of hip exercises is therefore one that works the muscles in each of these four muscle groups.
Hip Strengthening Exercises For Athletes
Athletes usually incorporate hip exercises into their training regimens, since strong hips are required to perform many athletic activities well. Strong hips enable the powerful leg movements required in football and sprinting, and also provide the stamina required to be able to maintain a performance level over an extended period of time. The exercises outlined here can be done with or without the use of weights or machines, but weight or tension is usually added when the ultimate goal is to build powerful hip and leg muscles. These exercises consist of bridging, straight leg raises, hip flexion, and hip abduction. The number of repetitions of each exercise and the amount of weight to be added, if weight is to be added, depends where a person is in his or her exercise program, and on the goal he or she is trying to reach.
Hip Strengthening Exercises For Therapy
Hip muscles strengthening exercises are therapeutically important following hip surgery, or during recovery from an injury to a hip. It's not only important for the health of the hip, but for a patient's overall health as well that the lower body muscles, and especially the hip muscles, be kept strong and in good tone. The hip exercises done during therapy are usually quite gentle at first, and are primarily designed to promote enough movement in the hip to keep the muscles of the hip flexible. If these exercises are not done, the end result could be chronic stiffness in the hip area. The exercises in question are not all that different from the ones mentioned above. A doctor or physical therapist should determine the degree of intensity to be allowed for the various exercises during recovery.
Hip Strengthening Exercises For Seniors
Hip exercises are highly recommended for seniors, since a loss in mobility in the legs or hips can often result in a downhill slide into poor health. That's not to say that other muscles in the body should be neglected, but strong hip muscles do play a prominent role in a the state of a senior's health, not the least of which is prevention of osteoarthritis in the hip itself. The wear and tear that usually precedes osteoarthritis will be greatly reduced when the hip muscles are kept strong and flexible. Exercises designed to strengthen not only the hip muscles, but the leg and core muscles as well will, if pursued diligently, tend to keep blood pressure low, which in turn will reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke in seniors. Exercise programs can also lower cholesterol levels, improve the body's glucose tolerance, and strengthen the muscles of the lower back, thereby potentially avoiding back pain issues.
Several of the exercises have been previously noted. Others include lunges, partial squats, heel stands, sit-to-stand exercises, standing knee flexion, and ankle circles. There are a dozen or so hip and leg exercises that are recommended for seniors. It isn't necessary to do all of them in one day, or during one sitting. Doing a few different ones each exercise session is sufficient.
Whether you are in training for a particular athletic event, you are a body builder, or you are already in peak physical condition but trying to improve your athletic performance even more, you'll benefit from these exercises. If you're recovering from an injury or surgery, or are a senior citizen whose goal is to stay in the best possible physical shape, you'll benefit as well. If there's a common goal of these exercises, it could be summed up as the desire to maintain or improve the functional quality of one's life.