|What it’s good for||Strengthens the outside-hip muscles and helps to keep hip bones strong. Everyday benefits include:
|How often to do it||Daily|
|Equipment you’ll need||A mat, rug, carpet, towel or anything else you can lie on comfortably on the floor
Possibly one or two cushions for padding any bony bits that are uncomfortable when you lie on your side
- Lie on one side with your hips, knees and feet neatly stacked in a straight line
- Draw the underneath leg in towards you, so the bottom knee is bent
- Rest your top arm in front of you, using the hand to help with your balance
- Keeping the top leg completely straight, lift it up to hip height and hold it there for a count of 5. Make sure your pelvis (hips) stays still and doesn’t sag downwards as you lift your leg
- Carefully lower your leg
- Rest a moment, then repeat
Aim to do 10 raises on one side, then turn over and repeat on the other side.
♦ If you have trouble keeping the top leg straight, push away into your heel throughout the lift; this should help
Cannot do this at all? If you are finding this impossible, try the Clam instead
Varying the exercise for more challenge
Once you can do this, you need to make the exercise a bit harder to continue strengthening your muscles. Firstly, add another set of 10 to your daily routine. Then move on to these other exercises in order of difficulty below.
1. Straighten the bottom leg
Try the exercise with both legs straight out – but still lifting just the top leg: it is a harder balance challenge. Be sure to keep both legs in line with your body (not behind it), so check you can see your toes when you glance down
3. Straight leg lift, lying, with leg weight
Use the lowest leg weight to start with, and build up gradually, following the same instructions as for straight leg lift
4. Side leg lifts, standing (with leg weight)
This adds a balance challenge and variety. Click here to see how to do it.