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Man performing lunge exercise with kettlebell in workout class

Exercises to Strengthen Your Hips and Core

If you find you’re spending more and more of your day sitting in a chair, you’re going to run the risk of losing muscle – muscle that’s helped you stand up straight and avoid injury during sports or exercise. But don’t lose hope, there is a way to combat all that desk time.

OhioHealth Exercise Physiologists with our McConnell Heart Health Center put together this list of exercises to help those of us stuck at our desks for most of the day. These exercises will help you build hip stability and core strength, which can, in turn, help you avoid knee injuries and even lower back pain.

Hip and Core Workout

Farmer’s Carry

Side view and front view
Side view of person performing the Farmers Carry Exercise Front view of person performing the Farmers Carry Exercise








Stand tall with weights held by your sides. Keep your shoulders tight and your back straight. Take short, quick steps as you walk a set distance, which will likely be limited by the size of your gym unless you really are a farmer and have the luxury of a field. It can be tricky to get the weight right, but given that you’re just holding it by your side, you can carry a hefty amount. Start off with some of the heavier dumbbells and kettlebells (20 to 30kg), and if that’s not enough of a burden, grab a small barbell and load it up. Some gyms will have special farmer’s walk barbells or handles you can strap onto the heavier disk weights.  Walking for a longer distance in one go or increasing the number of walks will also ramp up the challenge.


Goblet Squat

Front view and side view
Front view of person performing the Goblet Squat Exercise    Side view of person performing the Goblet Squat Exercise








Hold a weight at your chest using both of your hands and stand with your feet about hip-width apart. If you’re using a kettlebell, you can hold it with the handle facing up or down.  When you’re ready to begin, brace your core, then drop your butt back and down to lower into a squat while keeping your chest up. As you squat, sit back into your heels without shifting your weight forward onto the balls of your feet. Try to get as deep into the squat as possible to maximize glute activation. Then, driving through your heels, come back up to standing and give your glutes a squeeze at the top. That’s one rep.


Reverse Lunge

Front view and side view
Front view of person performing a Reverse Lunges Exercise    Side view of person performing a Reverse Lunges Exercise








Stand upright, with your hands at your hips.  Take a large step backward with your left foot.  Lower your hips so that your right thigh (front leg) becomes parallel to the floor with your right knee positioned directly over your ankle. Your left knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle and pointing toward the floor with your left heel lifted.  Return to standing by pressing your right heel into the floor and bringing your left leg forward to complete one rep.  Alternate legs, and step back with right leg.


Step Ups

Front view and side view
Front view of person performing Step Ups Exercise     Side view of person performing Step Ups Exercise








To start, place your entire right foot onto the bench or chair. Press through your right heel as you step onto the bench, bringing your left foot to meet your left, so you are standing on the bench.  Return to the starting position by stepping down with the right foot, then the left, so both feet are on the floor.


Bird Dog

Beginner and advanced versions
Side view of person performing Bird Dog Exercise on mat Side view of person performing Bird Dog Exercise on balance ball







Begin on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.  Pull your abs into your spine. Keeping your back and pelvis still and stable, reach your right arm forward and left leg back. Don’t allow the pelvis to rock side to side as you move your leg behind you. Focus on not letting the rib cage sag toward the floor. Reach through your left heel to engage the muscles in the back of the leg and your butt.  Return to the starting position, placing your hand and knee on the floor. Repeat on the other side to complete one rep.



Equipment needed: exercise band
Person performing Steamboats Exercise with exercise band

Loop your resistance band around your ankles, stand on one leg and kick forward, to the side, and back – bringing your leg back to neutral position in between kicks. Don’t let your moving leg to touch the ground. Repeat on both legs.

Looking for more exercises to try? We have a variety to choose from.


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