Beginner at Home Hip Exercises

If you're recovering from injury or just haven't exercised in awhile, starting an exercise routine can seem like a daunting task. While there are lots of great gentle exercise classes in Calgary designed exactly for this, there are also lots of exercises that you can start doing at home. Even adding a few minutes of exercise can make a difference in your quality of life and can help you with everyday tasks.

This week will cover some at home exercises for healthy hips recommended by fitness instructor Catherine Rawlek.

These exercises improve our ability to get up and down and help us maintain good posture which is crucial for preventing injury and maintaining mobility. For example, the more mobile and strong your hip joint/muscles are, the easier it is for you to properly lift items which can help take the strain off your back.

As always consult with a medical professional before any large changes to your exercise routine and stop if you encounter any pain. Prior to exercising also make sure to warm up.

For each exercise 8-12 repetitions or 45 seconds of work are recommended; whichever you prefer is fine.

Plie Squat


-feet point at 45 degrees

-keep weight through heels

-keep torso upright (try not to lean towards the ground)

-squat, hold at bottom and return to standing

*Note if you can work to engage your lower (transverse) abdominals. This can be a good way to strengthen your pelvic floor and improve bladder control.


Safety Cues

-pelvis tucked forward (thinking of squeezing your bum can help with this)

-knees point in the same directions as toes

Standing Hip Openers


-lift one foot and turn leg 90 degrees from opening in the hip area

-keep knee and heel in line at all times

-return leg to face front and repeat movement in other direction

Safety Cues

-don’t twist knee joint

-if you have had a hip replacement make sure not to lift the knee above 90 degrees as this puts too much strain on the hip joint

Side Leg Raises


-stand on one leg with hips and toes facing forward

-keep legs straight and lift leg to side

-hold and lower slowly…focus on controlling the motion. You don’t have to lift high, but you want to make sure that you are moving slowly and not letting your leg drop

Safety Cues

-make sure not to arch your back or lean when lifting leg

-if extra support is required, hold onto a counter top or chair back

Back Leg Raises


-keep hips facing forward

-keep legs straight

-squeeze bum and lift leg straight behind, hold and then lower

-make sure that you do not compromise your form in order to lift your leg higher, focus instead on keeping your bum tight and back straight.

Safety Cues

-make sure not to arch back or lean when lifting leg. If you find yourself arching try flipping one of your hands so that the fingers points down at with your elbow pressed towards your stomach as a way to protect your back.

-hold onto a counter top or chair back

Butterfly Stretch 

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License


-sit on bum and bring soles of feet together

-keeping back straight apply gentle pressure to your knees to open up your hips

-if you have trouble feeling the stretch try moving your heels closer to your body, if you find the stretch difficult try moving your heels further from your body

Safety Cues

-make sure that when you move into the stretch that your body is warm and that the stretch is not painful…a good stretch should be uncomfortable, but never cause you pain

Lying Hip Rotation Stretch


-lie on your back and bend your right knee

-set your left ankle on your right knee and gently rotate through your right hip

For an extra stretch:

-grip behind your right knee and pull it gently towards your body…if you need to deepen the stretch try gripping in front of your right knee instead of behind

-repeat on other side

Safety Cues

-make sure that when you move into the stretch that your body is warm and that the stretch is not painful…a good stretch should be uncomfortable, but never cause you pain



Check back next week for arm and shoulder exercises!

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