The Safest and Most Effective Ways to Strengthen Your Hips for Less Hip, Knee, Ankle, and Foot Pain

“Our glutes are the cornerstone of hip and pelvic stability and creating a bulletproof body that fends off the likelihood of chronic lower back pain and dysfunction.” - Dr. John Rusin

Building functional strength of our hips is one of the most important things we need to do to be sure we avoid pain and can live out lives without limitations. Training the glutes does not need to be overly complicated. You do not need hundreds of different exercises to strengthen your hips effectively. Variations and progressions of simple movement patterns are all you need to guarantee you engage and strengthen your glutes to eliminate back pain and keep up your active lifestyle. Bridging, lifting, lunging, and squatting are categories of exercises that SAFELY strengthen your hips and can easily be progressed and regressed to fit your current ability level.

1. Bridging

Glute bridges are the easiest and safest way to safely introduce glute strengthening into your routine. The can easily be progressed to more difficult variations to meet your particular strength goals.

How to Perform: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring your heels as close to your hips as possible, engage your core, and press through your heels to lift your hips from the ground. Work should be felt in your glutes (butt) area. If you are feeling it in the hamstrings it may mean your feet are too far away from your hips and you should try to bring them in closer.

2. Lifting

Adding weight to the lifting movement pattern is the best way to further ingrain those movement patterns while building functional strength. Lifting weight from the floor is one of the most functional and easiest ways to strengthen our entire posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, low back, etc.).

3. Squatting

Discussed in Chapter 6, squatting is a full body movement that ingrains movement patterns, improves mobility and can easily be progressed with weights to strengthen our glute and hamstring complex. Once we’ve mastered the squat movement patterns, we can simply add resistance to further challenge our glute/hamstring complex.

4. Lunging

Lunging (in particular reverse lunges) provide a safe way to strengthen our glute complex in a functional way that translates to many of the activities we perform in our daily life. As with the squat, once we can perform a reverse lunge with proper control and balance, we can begin to build strength by simply adding weight.

As you can see, building strength is often as simple as progressing from the movement patterns we discussed in previous chapters. It’s also the reason it’s so important to ingrain those movement patterns first before we start trying to add a lot of weight. We get hurt when we try to add weight or resistance before we’ve mastered the basic movement patterns.

Remember our motto: “Move Well. Then Move Often.”


Evolve Performance Healthcare specializes in helping active adults aged 40+ stay moving and strong, do what they love, and live free of pain meds, endless doctor visits and costly surgeries.

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