If you experience hip, back and knee pain, there is good chance your hip stabilisers require strengthening. Ineffective pelvic and hip stability can lead to a host of problems including lower back pain, muscle tightness and back injuries.
Weak gluteals are a common cause of the issues associated with instability throughout the hips, the glutes being heavily involved with correct pelvic stability and this article looks at isolating these small muscles in an easy to follow routine.
How does strengthening the glutes improve stability?
The glute maximus, glute medius, glute minimus, piriormis and deep core muscles are all vital in ensuring the pelvis is aligned correctly and stabilised optimally. They all work together when our body is in motion or during isometric contractions (static exercises). Our hip joints are synovial, ball and socket joints which can be described as 'multi-axial'. This means they can move in all directions including rotation.
It also means that there is more room for the pelvis to potentially move, if the stabilising muscles are weak or inactive. Too much movement without strong muscles can lead to instability and injury.
How do our stabilisers control our hip movements and pelvic stability?
As you can see from the list below, our hips can move in a host of different directions axes and planes. Aside from hip flexion and extension (for example during a hip thrust), take a look at the other movement patterns of the hips in bold and the muscles which are used to perform these movements effectively. These are also the muscles that need to be strengthened in these movement planes and all contribute to pelvic stability.
- Abduction – gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, piriformis and tensor fascia latae
- Adduction – adductors longus, brevis and magnus, pectineus and gracilis
- Lateral rotation – biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, piriformis, assisted by the obturators, gemilli and quadratus femoris.
- Medial rotation – anterior fibres of gluteus medius and minimus, tensor fascia latae
As you can see, the glutes work with other muscle groups to perform hip exercises and stabilisation and these will also be targeted during the routine in this article.
Which everyday movements use our hip stabilisers?
It is important to reiterate that as well as stability in motion, our hip stabilisers align our pelvis correctly during static exercises such as standing on one leg. Other 'everyday' movements which require strong glutes and core muscles include: walking, balancing on one leg between steps, lunges and climbing stairs.
As we use our lower body often in unilateral (single limb) movements, it is so important to focus on the muscle groups in this workout to prevent injury and pain from training, and daily activities.
We teamed up with Rebecca, an equestrian personal trainer who specialises in hip and core stability to improve her client's body position and alleviate unwanted stress on their joints. Try her routine below using a glute band which aims to focus on:
Pelvic stability & glute strength, balance, core strength, flexibility and a true symmetrical way of moving.
Stronger Hips & Stability Routine
Complete 2-3 rounds of each exercises
Bosu ball banded squats x 12-15 reps
Kick Backs x 12-15 reps
Hip thrusts x 15 reps (weight optional)
Walking lunges x 10 reps each leg
Floor leg raises x 10-12 reps (bend legs if required)
Yoga ball balance x 15-25 seconds
Aim to complete all exercises with good technique by controlling every rep. Tag us on Instagram if you try these out!
Rebecca says, "my sole aim is to strengthen both horse and rider to prevent reoccurring injuries, help with chronic pain and get them as symmetrical as possible to live a healthier and happier life."
This routine will not only improve your strength during exercises and workouts, but also optimise hip symmetry and stability during your daily life.
Rebecca can be found on Instagram at BaldwinS Equestrian