It’s no secret that clients who have desk jobs typically have tight and/or weak hips. Chronic sitting produces a weaker posterior chain, a lack of range of motion, stiff muscles and compensation by using the joints above and below during movement.
Whether your client is in Phase 1 or 2 of the ACE Integrated Fitness TrainingTM (ACE IFTTM) model or requires corrective exercise for athletic pursuits, the Versa Loop—a circular band without handles—is an ideal piece of equipment to effectively strengthen hips. If a Versa Loop is not available, a Thera-band tied into a loop or a resistance band with ankle cuffs can be used instead.
The following routine includes exercises that focus on one or more areas of the hip. These exercises can be used for corrective exercise or as part of a client’s regular routine.
Be sure to complete a postural and movement screen to identify which exercises are best for each client. Sets and repetitions will vary according to each client’s needs and fitness level. Some clients may only be able to complete 10 to 15 reps before progressing to higher reps such as 15 to 20.
Place the Versa Loop just above the knee. Begin in an upright, athletic stance and place the arms in front of the chest with a soft bend at the elbows. Laterally walk to the right, with the right leg initiating the step. Maintain resistance with the band and keep a soft bend at the knees. Continue walking to the right and then return to the starting position by walking to the left.
Box Squat Walk
Create a box using cones, foam rollers or any four pieces of equipment to outline the corners of a box. Or, use a gym or court that already has a box outlined. Place the Versa Loop just above the knee. Start at one side of the box and begin with lateral squats. Walk forward or backward while maintaining the squat position. Complete the set with the final lateral squatting exercise. Complete a set in each direction, clockwise and counterclockwise.
Squats With Standing Abduction
Place the Versa Loop just above the knee. Begin in a standing position with feet hip- to shoulder-distance apart. The goal is to start with resistance on the loop, and the width varies depending upon the resistance of the band. Perform five squats while maintaining resistance on the band. After the fifth squat, perform five abduction (lateral leg lifts) movements on the right leg. Next, perform five squats with resistance on the band. Next, perform five abduction movements (lateral leg lifts) on the left leg. One set is 20 reps (five in each direction).
Place the Versa Loop just above the knees. Lie down on the floor on one side with the knees bent and the legs stacked. The head can rest on the biceps muscle of the bottom arm. Keeping the inner arches of the feet together, externally rotate the top leg to the end point of their range of motion. Lower the leg and repeat the motion. Complete a set on each leg.
Elevated Plank With Hip Extension
With the Versa Loop just above the ankle, assume a plank position with the hands on an elevated surface such as a bench or plyo box. Maintain an engaged core and lift the right leg up to the point to where the glute contracts. Lower to center and repeat on the right leg before completing a set on the left leg.
Plank With Alternating Toe Taps
Begin in plank position with the Versa Loop just above the knee. Engage the abdominals and push the right leg away from the body. The toe will touch the floor and the hip will resist against the band. Return the leg to center and repeat on the left leg. Alternate the toe taps. The goal is to isolate the exercise, initiating the movement from the hip. This exercise is best performed slowly so there is no compensation.
Isometric Standing Hip Flexion
Place the Versa Loop underneath the left foot. Place the right foot into the band and lift the right leg to 90 degrees at the hip and knee. The band will be on top of the shoelaces. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds before switching to the left leg.
Lying Adductor Lifts
Place the Versa Loop around the lower calf. Lie on the floor and prop up the upper body on the forearms (the chest is off the floor). Place the left foot on the floor to hold the band underneath the foot. Turn the right toes away from the body and move the leg a few inches to the right. Begin to lift the right leg upward, resisting against the band. The work should come from the inner thighs. If the toes face upward, the lift will come predominantly from the hip flexor. Complete a set on both sides.