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Hips Don't Lie

Hips don’t lie (and neither does Pilates).

Never a more true word - if you have suffered from tight, sore, or broken hips, or have had a hip replacement, these words will especially resonate with you.


The hip is one of the largest weight-bearing joints in the body. The thigh bone intersects the pelvis to form a ball-and-socket joint. The hip is surrounded and supported by the gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, and the iliopsoas muscle, with major nerves and blood vessels running through it.


  1. Arthritis: The hip is one of the most vulnerable joints in the body for developing arthritis. Risk factors include being older, being a woman, being overweight, having a family history of arthritis, and having past hip trauma.

  2. Hip fractures: As we age, our bones can become weak and more brittle. This increases the risk of breaking a hip during a fall.

  3. Bursitis: This is inflammation of the bursae (sacs of liquid found between tissues) that can cause pain. This usually occurs from excess activity or irritation of the joint.

  4. Tendinitis: This is also due to inflammation, in this case of the tendons.

  5. Muscle Strain: This is another one that can happen from overuse.

Pilates is a great tool to retrain muscles to support the hip. However, working within the range of motion suggested by a health care professional and working with caution is of the utmost importance. The muscles need to be both strengthened and stretched. Slowly and appropriately adding light resistance with closed chain exercises and then adding multiple planes of motion is the safer movement pattern.


Exercises to slowly incorporate to strengthen the hip include:

Picture 1: Squat

Picture 2, 3: Hip work over a ball

Picture 4: Gluteus Medius Work with sliders

Picture 5: Lunges

Picture 6: Single Leg Lifts

The absolutely best exercise to simply stretch the hip joint is the famous pelvic curl.

See the picture below.

Working the backline of the body and all planes and directions to make the hip work optimally should eventually be encouraged.

3 back extension exercises to slowly incorporate to strengthen the hip include:

Picture 1: Swimming

Picture 2: Single Leg Kick

Picture 3 and 4: Double Leg Kick

Hip hip hooray.

Here is the good news. Pilates can help you with hip pain and rehabilitation. Pilates assists with rehabilitation as a tool to recover, rebuild strength, and find something that you can continue to do over the long term.


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