The hips are one of the body’s largest weight-bearing joints and, therefore, take a good bit of abuse during physical activities. With regular attention, however, your hips can remain strong and healthy. The many muscles that surround and support the hips include the glutes, adductors, abductors, iliopsoas, quadriceps and hamstrings; keeping these lower body muscles strong by doing standing side kicks can provide stability for the hips. Form is essential in standing side kicks; work slowly and use a mirror for assistance.
Warm your legs up for five to 10 minutes with light cardiovascular exercise before your strength training workout. Warm up with jogging, walking, jumping rope or riding a stationary bicycle.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointing forward. Place your hands on your hips. Pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine, contract your glutes, lift your chest and push the shoulder blades down your back.
Transfer your weight to your leg and laterally kick your right leg up toward the ceiling, stopping when the inner thigh is parallel to the floor. Continue to engage your abdominal muscles for stability. Hold onto a wall or the back of a chair if you have trouble balancing on one leg.
Hold the right leg in the air for one count and then slowly lower it back to starting position, taking three counts for the descent. Complete 15 repetitions and then repeat with the left leg.
Stretch the hips immediately following your workout. Lie on your back with your legs extended straight. Lift the right leg off of the ground and bend the knee. Clasp your hands behind your thigh and gently pull the knee toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your hip. Hold the stretch for 30 to 45 seconds and then repeat with the left leg.
Keep the hips squared and pointing forward as you raise and lower the legs.
Consult a health care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time, if you have not worked out for a while or if you have any chronic health issues.