Stronger Hips, Better Ride

4 Exercises to Strengthen Your Hips and Enhance Your Performance

Do your hips ever feel tight and sore after doing several indoor cycling sessions in a week? If so, welcome to the club! Many people think the quads and hamstrings are the muscles that rev up their pedal strokes but it’s actually your hips and core that generate much of the power for indoor cycling.

After all, with every pedal stroke you take, you contract the psoas major, the primary hip flexor muscle.

Over time, the repetitive pedaling motion (and the continuous hip flexion that comes with it) can create lingering tightness in the hip muscles if you don’t regularly engage in key lower body stretches after you ride. You can also end up with hip pain if your hip and/or glute muscles are weak or saddle soreness if you sink into the seat excessively.

To sidestep these issues, strengthen the muscles in your hips, glutes, and pelvis. Doing so will also help you boost your pace and comfort on the bike, enhance your balance and stability if you ride outside, and decrease your risk of suffering a muscle imbalance or an overuse injury. Here are four hip-strengthening exercises to incorporate into your regimen:


Benefits: Strengthen your hips, inner and outer thigh muscles, and stabilize your pelvic muscles.

How to do the move: Lie on the floor on your left side with your hips and knees bent at a 45-degree angle and your legs stacked.

Rest your head on your outstretched left arm. While keeping your feet in contact with each other, raise your right knee as high as you can (as if opening a clam shell) without moving your pelvis (your left leg stays on the floor). Pause at the top then lower your right leg, bringing your knees together again.

Do 10 to 15 reps, then switch sides. To crank up the challenge, place a circular resistance band around both legs, just below your knees, then do the move.

Lateral Side Steps

Benefits: Strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings in your thighs, and your glutes.

How to do the move: Stand on a straight resistance band, with your feet hip-width apart, and hold the band’s handles tautly at waist level to provide resistance. Bend your knees slightly so you’re in a half-squat then step out several inches to the left with your left foot; pause then bring your left foot back to a hip-width stance. Repeat with your right foot. Continue to alternate your feet this way until you’ve done 10 to 15 reps with each leg.

Single-Leg Bridges

Benefits: Strengthen the hamstrings and glutes and your lower core.

How to do the move: Lie on your back with your hands by your sides. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle and place both feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips off the floor so they form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.

Slowly lift your left leg and extend it while keeping your hips raised and steady and your abs engaged. Hold this extended position for 5 to 10 seconds before lowering the left leg and returning to the starting position. Do 10 reps then switch to a set with the right leg. 

One-Leg Squats

Benefits: Strengthen the glutes and the quads and hamstrings in your thighs and stabilize your pelvic muscles.

How to do the move: While standing on your right foot, lift your left foot a couple of inches off the floor. Bend your right knee and squat down as far as you can, as if you’re going to sit in a chair behind you. (Keep your weight in the heel of your standing foot and be careful not to let your right knee move past your right toes.) Pause at the bottom of the squat then return to standing. Do 10 reps with the right leg before switching to the left. (If you need extra support, hold onto back of a chair for balance as you squat.)

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