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Hip-Strengthening Exercises That Improve Ankylosing Spondylitis

Medically Reviewed by Jabeen Begum, MD on November 18, 2021

In addition to improving symptoms of AS, there are other numerous benefits of hip-strengthening exercises. Some of these include:

  • Reduced risk of falls and fractures
  • Increased hip mobility 
  • Maintenance of proper gait
  • Improved back health

Stretching

Seated leg press or abductor stretch: Sit up with your back straight and bring the soles of your feet together and as close to your groin as you can. Push your knees downwards to the floor so that you will feel a stretch on the inside of your thighs. Come out of the stretch by releasing the pressure on your knees.

Glute raises/glute bridge: This exercise strengthens your lower abdominal muscles, hamstrings, and lower back. If you have difficulty doing squats, this is a great alternative, as it doesn’t place any pressure on your joints. Here’s how to pull off a glute raise:

  • Lie down on a mat with your feet on the ground. Place your arms by your side and bend your knees. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart. 
  • Lift straight up through your heels and upper back as high as possible. 
  • Keep your core engaged to help keep your back strong.
  • Hold and squeeze your glutes for 2 or 3 seconds at the top.
  • Release slowly as you return to your starting position.

Clamshell

This exercise will help you feel how your knees and hips are connected to one another. There are many different variations of the clamshell. To perform the very basic, do the following:

  • Lie on your side and put your legs on top of each other, but ensure they’re bent at a 45-degree angle.
  • Rest your head on your lower arm. 
  • Raise your upper knee as high as you can with your heels still touching. 
  • Try not to shift your hips or pelvis. Don’t move your bottom leg off of the floor. 
  • Hold each raise for 1 or 2 seconds before slowly lowering your top leg back to the resting position.
  • If using a resistance band, place it around both of your legs just above the knees.

Plank

The following exercises are all variations of the plank:

Side plank static holds: Lie on your side with your upper body propped on the elbow and forearm. Rest your top arm on your top leg, lift the pelvis, and maintain this straight alignment position.

Side plank with abduction (holding up laterally away from normal position) static leg holds: Lie on your side with your upper body propped on your elbow and forearm. Rest your top arm on your top leg and lift the pelvis while simultaneously lifting your top leg, maintaining this position with your top leg lifted and held up.

Side plank with abduction leg raises: Lie on your side with your upper body propped on the elbow and forearm. Rest your top arm on your top leg and lift the pelvis while simultaneously lifting your top leg to the abducted position. As you maintain this straight alignment position, raise and lower your top leg, but don’t let it touch the bottom one. 

Show Sources

SOURCES:

NHS inform: “Exercises for hip problems.”

Physiopedia: “Therapy Exercises for the Hip.”

Princeton University: “Pelvic Stabilization, Lateral Hip and Gluteal Strengthening Program.”

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