Weakness in the hips can create many functional problems. The main muscle in your hips that can cause weakness is the gluteus medius (middle butt). This is a relatively small muscle that wraps around your pelvis. It connects your lower back with your upper leg muscles. A sedentary lifestyle can prompt this muscle to become shortened and weaker than surrounding muscles. The pelvic drop exercise is something that can be performed daily to improve weak hip muscles.
Signs of Weak Hips
Since the muscles of the hips and buttocks are the primary movers for standing, people with weak hips often suffer from these symptoms.
• Dull pains centered around the waist area and lower back.
• Knee discomfort when seated.
• Cramping and pulsing pain within the deeper parts of the pelvic region.
• Back spasms when walking, climbing stairs, or reaching across the body.
If hip muscles are extremely weak, they cause other muscles to engage during simple body motions. The overexertion of other muscles can cause fatigue, inflammation, and problems in other parts of the body like the shoulders and neck. One simple exercise can help to strengthen hip muscles that have atrophied or have lost supportive strength. This exercise is known as the pelvic drop.
Performing the Drop
First, stand on a raised surface with one leg. This surface can be a step, a platform, or a standard gym riser. Make sure your body is erect and balanced. If you need help with balancing, extend an arm to touch a wall, or grasp a stability bar.
Gently let one side of your body drop toward the floor. This motion should come from a slow “tilt” to one side by your pelvic structure. The drop on the free side of your body should only be a few inches. Do not let your dropped foot touch the floor. This motion can be difficult for some people experiencing pain from weak hip muscles, to perform the motion carefully and slowly.
Once the “drop” has been completed, strongly tense the muscles in your buttocks and abdomen. Raise the dropped side of your body back to an even level with the side that is firmly standing on the step. In order to make this motion, the muscles of the gluteus medius and lower back will be engaged.
When your pelvis has dropped and raised, one drop exercise repetition has been completed. Try to repeat this motion at least twenty times. Switch sides to work the opposite hip muscles. Perform the hip drop exercise with very slow and concentrated motions.
When you have completed the hip drop motions on both sides of the body, slowly return to a balanced posture. You may experience some tension in your lower back and legs because the exercise has targeted a very weak part of your body. End the pelvic drop session with a gentle walk to ease any tension.
This exercise is incredibly effective for people with weak hip, leg, abdominal, and buttock muscles. It should only be performed with a doctor’s approval if you are recovering from back, hip, and knee surgery. Never perform this pelvic dropping exercise in a ballistic fashion, and always note any discomfort during the motion.