? Your hips don't lie. ?
Your squats are impeccable. Your lunges are deep and long. Your calves would make Johnny Drama and Lamar Odom jealous. You're thinking to yourself, leg day is a great day. But don't forget to train your hips. Although it can be a pain in the ass—have you tried working them out with regular old free weights?—building strong hips is critical to developing speed, balance, and agility, and it can help you level up when that you hit a plateau in the big-ticket leg movements, too. Oh, also? Hips are really where you get that motion-in-the-ocean ability, too. If you're not keen on those awkward-looking abductor and adductor machines, we asked a few friendly fitness pros to share some of their favorite hip exercises for you to try.
1. Side-lying Banded Clamshells
From: Idalis Velazquez
What sounds like a delicious shellfish is really a great movement for activating and shaping dat ass, and it helps to prevent hip and back problems, too. Place a band just below or above your knees, depending on your capacity, and lay on your side propped up on one forearm, like you're being painted by a pre-Raphaelite. Stack your feet and bend your knees slightly. Lift the top knee to open your legs, but keep the feet together. Hold for a second and then lower your knee back to the start position. Don't let your torso rotate backwards as you open that top leg toward the ceiling. Keep your abs activated throughout, and squeeze your glutes at the top of the motion, too. Make sure to keep the movement slow and controlled throughout the range of motion.
2. Side Shuffle
From: Jay Cardiello
You're going back to high school basketball practice with this one—no weights or other means of resistance necessary. Drop into a quarter-squat stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your heels off the floor and quickly shuffle 10-20 paces to right, then back as quickly as possible to the left until you've reached your starting point. Perform these shuttles back and forth for 30-60 seconds. Godspeed.
3. Mini-band Lateral Walks
From: Gideon AkandeO
h, you're not done with that clown-sized rubber band. Place one around your ankles, or just over the knees, or—if you’re feeling bold—both. Side-step to the right, then back, but here's the tricky part: you can't let the band(s) lose resistance in between.
4. V-stance Leg Press
From: Alexia Clark
Using a leg press machine, put your feet in a “V” shape position, but don't let your heels touch. Press the weight up through your heels, as shown here. The V-stance promotes strong abductors—a.k.a., the major muscles in your hips and ass—because they get the glutes in on the act, letting you work with more weight.
5. Mini-band Ice Skaters
From: Alexia Clark, againP
Place a mini-band above your knees and jump in a lateral direction, crossing one foot behind the other in your best Anton Apolo Ohno impression. Twist your upper body to the side as you jump, keeping your core and your stomach tight, like so. Lean forward slightly throughout, and go as slow as you need while you’re still getting a feel for this exercise so that you don't blow an ankle out.