Tight or open, your hips need to be strong for injury-free movement. Learn how to build more stability in common yoga poses.
Stability in the hips is crucial for athletes—and everyone else: The hips’ primary function is to bear weight, and we need them to stabilize the upper body, support the lower limbs, and absorb shock from movements such as running and jumping.
The gluteus medius is the hip’s primary stabilizer. It originates from the outer, top rim of the iliac crest and inserts at the top of the thigh bone, covering the outer hip, and maintains stability in the joint with the help of the gluteus minimus. A lax, unsupported hip joint slides around unnecessarily, irritating the soft tissues and increasing the likelihood of alignment problems and overuse injuries elsewhere in the body. Simply put, the role of the gluteus medius is to minimize excessive movement by keeping the thighbone firmly integrated into the hip socket.
4 Ways to Build Hip Strength + Stability
Standing and balancing poses can build both strength and stability in this muscle—when practiced with the appropriate engagement. Let’s take a closer look at how to turn on the gluteus medius in a few common poses.
Since we want to build strength in the widest possible range of motion, it’s smart to precede these poses with a few stretches to lengthen the relevant muscles. Try Gomukhasana or Pigeon Pose.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Back to basics! Symmetry in the hips is key for maintaining a good range of motion, and this easy variation on Mountain Pose makes it easy to identify a weakness on either side. Stand with one foot on a block and the other floating.
DON’T Let the hip of the standing leg sag out to the side.
DO Strongly engage the outer hip of the standing leg to bring the pelvis level. It’s useful to place the hands on the hips for reference; I also like to visualize the front points of my pelvis lining up horizontally.
Repeat a couple of times on each leg, noting whether one side is having to work harder than the other.