Standing Hip Abduction
- Stand facing a chair or sturdy support. Rest both of your hands lightly on the top of the chair for balance.
- Bring both of your heels together and toes apart, making a V shape with the feet.
- Elongate your spine, growing taller; position your body so that your ears are stacked over your shoulders and the shoulders are aligned directly over your hips.
- Pull your abdominal muscles in towards the spine until you feel your tailbone drop downwards towards the floor, lengthening the low back. Keep your core muscles active throughout the exercise to support the low back and create a resistive force to strengthen the outer glutes.
- Extend your right leg straight behind you with your toes pointed; bring the leg one to two inches out to the side so that it creates a diagonal line from your right hip, toes resting on the ground. Straighten the leg as much as possible, relaxing and lengthening behind the knee.
- Create a slight bend in your left leg to avoid locking your standing knee.
- Activate the gluteus medius and minimus — the muscles on the sides of your butt — to lift your right leg up so your toes are just about two to three inches off the floor.
- Hold the lift for a few seconds, then lower the right leg back down just about one inch. The key here is using the muscle to move the leg and to avoid swinging or jerking the leg up from the hip flexor. You can think of this as a release and flex of the side glute muscles. Lift and lower the leg an inch, a total of 10 times.
- For an optional variation, you can keep the right toes pointed and circle the leg clockwise 10 times (these should be small, controlled circles, as if your toes were tracing a circle the size of a quarter), then reverse the direction of the circle 10 times.
- Repeat the entire sequence on the opposite leg.