Exercises for hips

Hips training – is one of the most contradictory components of training process. On one hand, everybody understands the need to do exercises for legs, as the strongest and biggest muscles in human body. On the other hand – men avoid it, and women make hip slimming one of the main targets. While not seeing the difference between tight muscle hips and hips, covered with fat (also know as “hip ears”). But by including hip exercises in your training program, you will not only replace the esthetically unattractive and dangerous for health excessive hip fat with a lot less in volume muscle fiber. You will create a base for harmonic development of the whole body.
Take a look into the gym (in fact, masked fitness center): most of its frequenters do chest and arms exercises for 90% of their time. That is why they look, at best, like a lightbulb – blubbery from pumping core on thin legs. Don’t repeat their mistakes – spend enough time on leg training (exactly – hips exercises) which they deserve. I propose to start from the easiest exercise, which you do everyday, without even thinking of it.

Step ups

What muscles work: quadriceps, buttock muscles, rear hip muscles.
Performing the exercise: stand tightly to the pillar. Put one leg on full foot on the pillar, connect your hand behind your back or put on waist (photo 1). Move the bodyweight on base leg and using its muscles step up the pillar. Without stopping and touching the pillar with rear leg, move it forward, with knee bent and risen maximum high (photo 2). Hold the top position for one second and slowly go back to the starting position. Repeat for required times and switch the leg.
Step ups (starting position) Step ups (final position)
Notice: the main job should be on a leg, that is on pillar. Do not push with rear leg, and do not lean forward too much (forehead line shouldn’t come out your base leg’s toes level). Put your leg on a pillar on full foot, main load should be on heel. Rear leg shouldn’t touch the pillar when moving forward or backward. Don’t swing, keep your back straight. Perform the exercise in 2-1-2-1 rhythm (two seconds to go up, one second pause in top position, two seconds to go back to the starting position, one second at the bottom). Synchronize your breath with movement: go up – exhale, go down – inhale. Always start the exercise series from the weaker leg, especially if you don’t alternate them in one set, doing several reps with one leg.
When you can do at least 20 reps on each leg, you should complicate the exercise by increasing the pillar height. But don’t try too hard, maximum height is when base leg’s knee in starting position is bent at right angle (photo 3). First you can help yourself in starting position, leaning at base leg’s hip with your hands. But as your training level rises, try to perform raise only with your base leg’s power (photo 4). Other rules are the same: keep your back straight, do not let yourself tilt front too much, do it slowly and under full control from the start to the finish, breathe rhythmic and synchronous with movement.
High pillar step ups (starting position) High pillar step ups (final position)
If those exercises come easy to you – try to differ your training by including other leg exercises: lunges and different kinds of squats.

Good books to read:

Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.

Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.

Other articles about hips exercises:

Squats: high effective basic exercise, which if performed right, will help you to get slim, as well as build mass in shortest terms.
Lunges: famous exercise, which has a couple of performing variations for complete leg training and tendons flexibility increase.

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