How to Do the Hip Lift Exercise to Build Strong Abs

Woman performing hip lift
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The hip lift is a good ab exercise to add to your routine. It strengthens the rectus abdominis (the muscle between the ribs and hips), and the obliques (muscles that run down the sides of the torso). 

Try to work up to two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions, with a short break between. In addition to other ab exercises, you can do hip lifts several times a week.

Starting Position

  • To begin, roll back until your back and head are resting comfortably on the ground—you'll probably want to use a mat or other softer surface during this exercise—and place your arms by your sides. Your palms can be facing down or up.
  • Raise your legs so they are straight up toward the ceiling and perpendicular to your torso. It is fine to have a bend in the knee, though as you perform the exercise over time, you can push to straighten your knees to stretch the hamstring.
  • Flex your feet at the ankle, as if to point your toes down toward your head, for a little stretch. You can then flex your feet back and point your toes toward the ceiling during the exercise, or simply let them rest perpendicular to the floor, whatever is comfortable. Many find pointing the toes toward the ceiling can help your focus during the lift.

Hip Lift Exercise

  1. Pull your navel in toward your spine. Inhale.
  2. Exhale as you lift your hips a few inches off the floor, keeping your legs pointed straight up. Your hips should leave the floor as you push your legs up toward the ceiling. Really pull in the lower abdominal muscles during the lift. Don't lift your head during the lift, but keep it resting on the floor.
  3. Slowly lower your hips back to the floor, inhaling as you do.
  4. Repeat 10 to 12 times for one set.

Also Known as the Bridge

The bridge is a similar exercise to the hip lift. The hip lift is sometimes referred to as the bridge, but they are slightly different. The bridge exercise focuses on the glute (butt) muscles and the hamstrings.

Vary Your Core and Lower Body Workout

You can do many different exercises for your core muscles, as well as exercises for your glutes, hips, and thighs. Try working these into your regular routine to vary your workout, keeping it interesting and challenging your body.

It is good to change up your routine every two weeks. As you perform an exercise, your body develops to meet the challenge you're presenting it with—which is exactly what you want. However, after about two weeks, the same exercise is going to become less challenging because your body has built up the muscles the exercise recruits. The exercise will become easier.

The body is excellent at adjusting to workload in order to make effort as efficient as possible. If you want to continue to develop your fitness in a well-rounded way, change up your workout and throw something new at your muscles. You'll force your body to readjust, keeping it "on its toes."