Hip Strengthening Exercises for Seniors | Muscle Imbalances

Much of a person’s balance and strength comes from the hip.  If a person has unstable hips, riddled with muscle imbalances and weakness, they are more prone to fall, to have biomechanical or structural abnormalities, and be susceptible to injury.  This is true for everyone, but is particularly relevant for seniors, who must do more preventative maintenance on their bodies to keep them functioning well.  Here is a list of exercises that seniors can do to maintain hip strength and pelvic stability.

  1. Jane Fondas – this exercise is a throwback to the 80's. Lying on your side with your head pillowed on your arm, lift your top leg up and slowly lower it back down.  Repeat for the other side.
  2. Adductors – this is sort of the opposite of a Jane Fonda, and works the antagonistic muscles to Jane Fondas. Lying on your side, place your top foot on a chair or bench and bring your lower foot up to meet it.
  3. Extension/flexion – this is a straightforward one. While standing, grip a chair and go through a series of motions, extending the hip behind you, flexing it in front of you, bringing it out and around to the side.  This will really work on hip mobility and strength.
The above exercises can all be performed with just your body weight or with ankle weights.  In addition , more advanced people can start moving through shallow squatting exercises on the floor and on unstable surfaces, though that should only be attempted by people who have strong hips and good balance.