Hip Abduction Exercise for Firmer Thighs

What is Hip Abduction Exercise?

In basic terms abduction means to take a body part or, in this case the leg away from the midline of the body, kick your leg straight out to the side, or to work the outer/lateral thigh.

So, when you are doing abduction exercise it involves some form of moving the leg away from the body, usually with added resistance for increasing strength.

What types of exercises for the hip should I be doing?

There are many different ways to do hip joint exercise. You can do it standing, lying on your side, or lying on your back.



Hip Abduction Exercise Standing:

hip abduction exercise image

· Standing tall with or without a weight around your ankles kick or reach one leg out to the side until you feel the outer thigh or hip stop you from going any farther without having to bend sideways.

Keep your spine upright and with good posture as you do 8-12 kicks on each leg.


There are many Pilates based mat exercises or those utilizing Pilates equipment if you have it available.


Side Kicks for the Hip Abductors:

All exercises are done lying on your side with your shoulders and hips stacked on top of each other and legs angled or piked slightly forward at the waist.

· Small Circles – With the top leg slightly forward of the bottom and at hip level circle the whole leg 6-8 times each direction. Reach through your heel as you circle keeping the leg long and straight, think of reaching out of the hip.

· Forward and Back Kicks – With the torso and bottom leg staying stationary as an anchor swing the top leg forward and back at hip level keeping the leg long and straight.

Flex the foot as you swing to the front and point to the back. Don’t allow the shoulders to roll forward as you swing the leg behind you.



pilates side kicks hip exercise imag

· Open the Clam –Shown here to the left.

Lying on your side with both knees bent out at a 90 degree angle, place your hand on the top hip and keep it aligned over the bottom hip.

Squeeze your heels together and then draw your top knee away from the bottom knee.

If you are aligned properly it should not open very far as with trying to open a very tight clam shell.


Check out these moves and more in the new Pilates ebook available here. It includes detailed pictures and descriptions of these and many other hip, shoulder, and back exercises.


Pilates Leg Circles:


pilates leg circles imag

· Lying on your back with one leg extended along the mat anchored to the floor, the other leg extended up just under a 90 degree angle.

Feel the thigh bone of the leg in the air set right in your hip socket and then circle it 8 times each direction.

The picture at the right shows a modification to help support your leg in the air using a stretch band.

Make the circles as large as you can control keeping your torso and leg on the floor very still.

Shoulders and butt cheeks stay anchored into the floor as you circle the leg 6-8 times each direction.



side lying exercise on pilates reformer imag

The Pilates Reformer

is a very effective way for you to do hip abduction exercise.

Shown here to the left is a side lying footwork exercise to help strengthen the lateral thigh/abductor muscles of the hips.

The nice thing about working on the reformer is that you can adjust the spring tension for added resistance to your muscles without stressing the hip joint.


Check out more free hip abduction exercise moves and ways to help with hip pain by going here.



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