Hip and Thigh Exercises


The hip, also called the hip joint, plays a central role in supporting the entire weight of the upper body. It balances the body while walking, running, and performing other such activities. The thigh is the region of the body between the hip and knee.


Hip muscles

Three common exercises that benefit both hip and thigh muscles.

Thigh muscles

The thigh is the area between the pelvis and the knee. The femur is the only bone within the thigh. It forms the ball-and-socket joint at the hip; and the condylar joint at the knee. It is comprised of the following two groups of thigh muscles:

Different types of exercises benefit the hip and thigh muscles:

Common thigh exercises include:

To pull away.
The act of pulling toward an axis.
The round prominence at the end of a bone.
Thigh bone.
A muscle that bends a joint or limb when it is contracted.
The largest and uppermost bone of the pelvis.
The bone that forms the lower and back part of the hip bone.
Also called the pubic bone, the ventral and anterior of the three main bones on either side of the pelvis.

Many other exercises are available for the hip and thigh. Each one is dedicated to exercising one or a few muscles of the hip or thigh; it is important that these are performed correctly to avoid injuries. In addition, do not over exert on such exercises. Pain should not be present while doing exercises.


The large and powerful muscles of the hip and thigh are used to move the body forward, assure the body is balanced, and keep the knees and feet working properly. Some of the more important muscles of the hip and thigh are the quadriceps, gluteals, and hamstrings. The quadriceps (quads) are the strong muscles in the front of the thigh, while the gluteals (glutes) the muscles of the buttocks and the hamstrings are located down the back of the thigh. These muscles should be exercised regularly, along with the other hip and thigh muscles, to maintain a healthy and fit body.


At any age or physical fitness level, regular exercising of the hip and thigh muscles is extremely important for maintaining a healthy body. To keep the body in tip-top shape, the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and other related hip and thigh muscles should be strong so the lower body including the legs, knees, and feet, can move the upper body around during daily activities. Such exercises are especially important when performing athletic competitions and physical fitness events such as running marathons, performing in football games, competing in track-and-field matches, and even playing leisure games like Frisbee.


The muscles of the hip and thigh should not be exercised on consecutive days. It is recommended that these exercises be done at least three times a week. A day of rest should be included between each day of exercising the hip and thigh muscles. Medical professionals advise people as to whether they are physically fit and healthy enough to perform exercises such as those for the hip and thigh muscles. In cases where people are new to exercising, physical trainers should be consulted as to the correct type of individualized program.

Many videos and instructional manuals are available to help in the learning process. Instructions provide the correct form and technique that individuals should use with hip and thigh muscle exercises. Before starting a routine, stretching exercises should be performed to limber up these muscles. Most stretching, however, should be performed after an exercise workout.

An exercise for the hip is the hip flexor stretch. While kneeling on the right knee, place the left foot in front. Bend the knee and place the left hand on the left leg for stability. Then, place the right hand on the right hip to prevent bending at the waist. While keeping the back straight and abdominal muscles tight, lean forward while shifting more body weight onto the front leg. Hold for about 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.


  • Should I attempt hip and thigh exercises?
  • What are some good hip and thigh exercises for me to do?
  • How often should I exercise my hip and thigh muscles?
  • What hip and thigh exercises should I avoid?
  • What types of lifestyle changes will help with my exercises?


The hip muscles help to support and stabilize the largest weight-bearing joint on the body: the hip joint. As such, the hip muscles are very important to overall health and fitness of the body. Exercises for the hip muscles help to support and stabilize the hip joint, along with helping to stretch and add flexibility to the hip muscles. Strong hip and thigh muscles help to protect the hips during falls.



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American College of Sports Medicine, 401 W Michigan St., Indianapolis, IN, 46202-3233, (317) 6379200, Fax: (317) 634-7817, http://www.acsm.org .

American Council on Exercise, 4851 Paramount Dr., San Diego, CA, 92123, (858) 576-6500, (888) 825-3636, Fax: (858) 576-6564, support@acefitness. org, http://www.fitness.gov .

National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity, 1150 Connecticut Ave., NW, Ste. 300, Washington, DC, 20036, (202) 454-7521, ayanna@ncppa.org, http://www.ncppa.org .

President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, 1101 Wootton Pkwy., Ste. 560, Rockville, MD, 20852, (240) 276-9567, Fax: (240) 276-9860, fitness@hhs.gov, http://www.presidentschallenge.org .

SHAPE America, 1900 Association Dr., Reston, VA, 20191-1598, (800) 213-7193, Fax: (703) 476-9527, http://www.shapeamerica.org .

William A. Atkins, BB, BS, MBA

  This information is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.