How to Isolate Your Hips

X-ray of hips

Your hip joints are complex congruous joints that are designed for standing and walking, according to the American Medical Association. Each joint is surrounded by a multitude of muscles that allow you to bend and rotate your legs freely. Isolating just one muscle of the hips is impossible as more than one work together at a time to accomplish tasks, including exercise. Instead, focus on movements of the hips to isolate that area of your body to improve balance, stability and strength.

Hip Flexion

Stand on a step or low box. Allow your right foot to hang off of the box while balancing on your left leg. Keep hips level and your abs pulled in tight.

Bring your right leg forward, bending at the hip while keeping the knee straight. Raise your leg as high as you can in a controlled manner. Lower your right leg back to the start position.

Perform one to three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions. Perform all repetitions on your right leg before switching to your left leg.

Hip Extension

Lie on your back on an exercise mat or towel. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor approximately hip-width apart. Arms remain at your sides.

Press your feet into the floor through your heels. Raise your hips up as high as you can toward the ceiling while squeezing your glutes. Hold for one to two seconds.

Slowly lower your hips back to the ground in a controlled manner. Repeat the movement until you have completed your desired number of repetitions.

Hip Abduction

Lie on your left side on your mat. Support your head on your left arm with your right arm on the floor in front of you for balance. Legs are straight with your right on top of your left.

Keeping your right foot pointed forward, slowly lift your right leg. Raise it until it is at approximately a 45-degree angle.

Slowly lower your leg back to the start position. Finish all repetitions with your right leg before switching to your other side.

Hip Adduction

Lie on your left side with your head supported on your arm. Place your right foot on the floor behind your left leg. Keep both legs straight throughout the movement.

Raise your left leg off the floor in a controlled manner. Hold for one to two seconds at the top of the movement before lowering your leg back to the floor.

Perform all repetitions with your left leg. Roll to your right side and perform the exercise with your right leg.


Keep abdominal muscles tight for all hip exercises. Breathe throughout the movement. Exhale on exertion, inhale as you relax. Start with just your body weight for all exercises. Later add bands, ankle weights or use a cable apparatus to make the exercises more challenging. Move only at the hip joint with your knee straight for all exercises described.


Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. Do not use momentum during any hip exercise. Avoid adding heavy weight or resistance to the exercises if you are new to them.