Side leg lifts with ankle weights are one of the best hip exercises to isolate the gluteus medius muscle and strengthen the hip.
Ankle weights are a versatile tool, and you can work all the major hip muscles in isolation simply by changing the position of your body.
The gluteus medius is the muscle that pulls your hip out to the side (abduction). In addition to pulling the leg out to the side the gluteus medius also stabilizes the hip when you are standing, especially on one leg.
It is actually very important to also work the gluteus medius while standing up and doing balance exercises.
Below are pictures for using ankle weights to strengthen the hips and gluteus medius muscle.
Starting Position: Secure the ankle weight around your ankle and lie on your side while keeping your body in a straight line.
Form: Exhale and lift your top leg out to the side. Hold for a brief second and then slowly lower to the starting position.
Personal Trainer Tips: Move in a slow and controlled manner so that momentum doesn't take over. Be mindful of your lower back alignment, do your best to maintain a straight line.
There is no need to raise your hip in the air as high as possible. If you feel your lower back moving, that may be a sign that you are trying to raise your hip too high.
Remember that it is just as important to work your hips from a standing position. So add some balance exercises and 1 legged exercises into your workout also.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles PT/PT