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How to Do Hip Extension Correctly

How to Do Hip Extension Correctly

Hip Extension Exercises are the most overlooked body movements.

Many injuries and inflammation are caused due to a sedentary lifestyle, and lack of hip extension is a significant part of it.

Getting the workout wrong can further cause injury and unnecessary strain. Therefore, knowing how to perform workouts correctly is critical

In this article, we will talk about all you need to know about this excercise, its benefits and what one workout will do the job for you.

1 – What is Hip Extension?

Hip extension is the movement of your thigh moving away from your front pelvis.

The most common movement to explain can be kicking back.

You extend your hip when you jump, run, and swim.

For instance, when you run, the forward quad movement is hip flexion, and backward is the hip extension.

2 – Muscles Worked

The primary muscles used for this excercise are gluteus maximus and hamstrings. However, the prime mover of hip extension is the gluteus maximus.

A – Gluteus Maximus

Being the largest and the strongest muscle in the lower body, Gluteus Maximus helps you stand upright.

It makes up the rounded shape on your buttocks and is responsible for the movement of the hip and thigh.

It connects your tailbone to the thigh bone. Therefore, all your daily movements such as walking, sitting, standing, and squatting – requires a stronger Gluteus Maximus.

B – Hamstrings

Hamstrings are back muscles of your thighs – comprises semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris.

It connects from pelvis to the back of your knees, stabilizing your hip joints.

It has two main functions for – hip and knee. For knee, hamstrings help bend them.

Whereas for hip, Hamstrings assist your gluteus maximus to make a backward quad movement.

3 – Benefits of Hip Extension Exercises

These exercises are most overlooked workouts. Despite using hip extensors daily, we tend to underestimate its function.

There are several benefits to working the hip extensors with proper workouts and movements.

A – Sports Conditioning

Working out gluteus maximus and hamstrings can help athletes boost their performance. These two muscles are crucial for all the sports.

Hip extension exercise can help athletes in sports conditioning. Stronger muscles will minimize injury and add more flexibility.

Hip extensors and flexors directly impact running and swimming. Both require constant and rapid movements of quads assisted by the flexors and extensors.

B – Balance

Both hip extension and hip flexion are crucial for providing balance for your body.

Hip flexion exercises are common and many perform them unknowingly. Most ab exercises make you work on the hip flexors.

However, we overlook the hip extension exercises, which require backward movement of thighs. Working on hip extensors can help maintain balance and prevent injury.

C – Injury Prevention   

People with sedentary lifestyle usually have weaker gluteus maximus and hamstrings. Inactivity leads to tightness and weakness

As a result, the lower back compensates and causes spinal injury. Concentrated hip extension exercises can help prevent such injuries.

D – Toned Muscles

Concentrated exercises for gluteus maximus and hamstrings will tone your muscles.

Apart from stronger muscles, you can get great shape on your glutes and quads. Regular workouts can help you lose fat and make your legs look toned and strong.

4 – How to Do Quadruped Hip Extension Correctly

There are several more movements which can activate your hip flexors. However, we will focus on the most effective one called the Quadruped Hip Extension.

American Council of Exercise did a study and concluded Quadruped Hip Extension as the most popular one to activate maximus gluteus and hamstring at the same time.

This type of hip extension exercise is also called donkey kicks and leg raises.

Therefore, we will demonstrate step-by-step instructions on how to perform Quadruped Hip Extension correctly.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Place your hands and knees on the ground, with back neutral and abs tightened.
  2. Take one leg back and upwards keeping a 90-degree angle through the movement.
  3. Make sure your foot faces the ceiling, and hip, tight and knee aligned and parallel to the floor.
  4. Bring the leg back to the original position, and that completes one rep.

Reps and Sets

If you are a beginner to the workout, then try doing 8 reps with 3 sets on your leg day.

Once you start feeling comfortable after 3-4 leg days, increase reps or add weights (in the tips below)


  1. Avoid arching your back
  2. Keep neck in line with the spine (look down)
  3. To increase challenge: add ankle weights or light dumbbell behind the knees

5 – Hip Extension Exercise Variations

There are tons of hip extension workouts, but we have listed the single leg extension exercises only.

Single Leg Hip Extension exercises are concentrated workouts which are more impactful.

A- Pilates Swimming

Great workout if you are into Yoga and Pilates. You already are accustomed to such body movements.

To perform Pilates Swimming, lie on the floor facing down and do flutter kicks backward.

B – Hip extension machine

If you have a gym membership, working hip extensions on a machine is a great option.

You can adjust your weight and position easily on the machine.

C – Standing Hip Extension

Stand and deliver the hip extension exercise. The most simple of all is doing it while standing.

Grab on the something like a chair or a wall, and make backward movements with the leg.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which muscles extend the hip?

There are 5 muscles that work together to extend your hips. These are as follows:
1. Gluteus Maximus
2. Adductor Magnus
3. Biceps Femoris
4. Semimembranosus
5. Semitendinosus

How do I strengthen my hip extension?

There are many exercises that can help you strengthen your hip extension. The most basic exercise is the one you can try at home
1. Kneel on all fours with your arms under your shoulders and your knees under your hip
2. Extend your right leg outwards so it is parallel to the ground and hold it for one second
3. Bring it back down and repeat the same with the left leg

Why is hip extension important?

Hip extensions work on your glutes and hamstrings, this means that they provide support to your lower back and help you run, walk and jump. It is important to train these parts of your body to stay fit.

Is hip extension concentric or eccentric?

Hip extensions are classed as concentric contraction based on the movement. When you are extending the leg the muscle shortens during contraction making it concentric.

What is full hip extension?

A full hip extension is exactly like a normal extension, the only difference is that you raise your leg behind your pelvis, opening up the hip even more

What are hip raises good for?

Hip raises are a great exercise to stretch and strengthen your hip flexors and glutes. This is one exercise you need to try after a long day at the desk.

What are hip thrust Good For?

There are a number of benefits associated with hip thrusts, such as:
1. Improve glute strength
2. Strengthen lower back
3. Improves body posture
4.Improves leg, ankle, knee, pelvis, and hip movements

Check out other leg workouts from our workout series.

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