Side Lying Hip Abduction

Side Lying Abduction

Like any other exercises, that aims towards the improvement and maintenance of the muscle and joints. Also, side-lying hip abduction is one of the small workouts to regulate the functioning and imparting strength to the muscles.

Various extensive studies were made on Gluteus medius weakness and many of the research demonstrates and results were obtained that reduces symptoms in conditions such as patellofemoral pain and also strengthens the muscle aid in the improving lower limb biomechanics.

So now the question arises to find out the best exercises that target in improving the strength of kind of muscle? In early stage of rehabilitation it was shown that if you want to give this muscle a good stimulus to adapt or on the other side if you want to if you get stronger then you can’t go too far wrong by prescribing simple side lying hip abduction although functional weight-bearing training is one of the exercises that are extremely important. Simple? Yes. Effective? Yes – according to some research.

Distefano et al 2009 show that this exercise is likely to produce a signal of the characteristic amplitude of 81% MVIC, which eventually rose above the common levels of the single leg deadlift and single leg squat. Ekstrom et al 2007 also concluded by demonstrating a lower signal amplitude than DiStefano but that it is effective for non–weight-bearing strength training of the gluteus medius muscle. Giphart et al 2012 showed side lying hip abduction was very effective at recruiting piriformis that when this exercise was performed in external rotation, an important external rotator of the hip.

Furthermore, side lying hip abduction is said to reduce patellofemoral pain by demonstrating the effectiveness of hip strengthening and that’s why it has been included in exercises programs. According to us, that’s good evidence.

More to Know about Side Lying Hip Abduction

Like any other exercise, it will be ineffective if it is not done correctly. Improvements in the mechanical advantage of other muscles to lift the leg by a cheat move are to roll your pelvis backward. Also, some patients suffering from problems will be able to hitch their pelvis during the lift, as opposed to isolating the movement at the hip joint. Increment in the workout can be made by adding more weight to the distal ankle. The instructions and exercise images are below.

Step 1

  • Starting Position: first of all, lay down on your side on a mattress or floor with your legs extended straight away from your body. Hold your lower arm bent and at a position under the head for support (at 90 degrees to your shinbone) and also feet together in a neutral position, doing all this your while the upper arm rests upon your upper hip. Your head should be aligned with your spine. Your shoulder and the hips should be relatively aligned vertically to the floor.

Step 2

  • Upward Phase: now that you have done the above-mentioned process so it’s to exhale and get the upper leg off the lower leg by gently raising it while the foot in a neutral position (avoid flexion and extension) and keeping the knee extended.
  • Also, the knee of the leg that is being raised should be pointing straight away from you (do not rotate downward towards the floor or upward towards the ceiling) and the hips should be maintaining the position vertical to the floor. Continue raising the leg is to be followed until you feel mall amount of developed tension in your low back or hips begin to tilt upwards.

Step 3

  1. Downward Phase: at last, return the raised leg to your initial position in a controlled manner by gently inhale and exhale. Roll over and repeat this procedure with the opposite leg after completion of the set.
  2. A common mistake and probably that can be done by the majority of the people is raising the leg too high in this exercise so it’s better that you should be avoiding this. The thigh can only abduct (move out sideways) to 45 degrees as obviously because of the given the design of the hip joint. Any movement beyond that no longer targets the muscles intended for this exercise and position involves the movement of the entire hip.
  3. Side lying hip abduction is an exercise which involves generally the leg being taken away from the mid-line of the body. This movement comes into action whenever we are doing our day to day activities such as we step to the side, get out of the car and get out of bed.
  4. The side lying hip abduction are important and many of the times they are forgotten that they contribute to our ability to stand, rotate our legs with ease and walk.
  5. The side lying abduction exercises are not only considered to help you get a tight and toned backside, but they can also do help to treat the pain of the knees and hips but also in preventing the pain. Side-lying abduction exercises are essentially believed to benefit women of all ages, men, and especially athletes.

Anatomy of Side Lying Hip Abduction

  1. The side lying abductor includes the tensor fasciae latae (TFL), gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.
  2. They also help rotate the leg at the hip joint, and not only move the leg away from the body. The side lying abductors are necessary for functions such as standing on one leg and for staying stable while walking. Weakness in these muscles can lead to the impairment of proper movement and results in causing the pain.

Benefits of Side Lying Hip Abduction Exercises

Reduce knee valgus

  1. Knee valgus refers to the condition when the knees start giving a “knock-kneed” and of the appearance, cave inward. This is most commonly seen in patients with improper form during exercise or muscle imbalances or young women and older adults.
  2. Research trusted Source & has shown that knee valgus can improve the condition and lack of hip strength and also is associated with side-lying abduction exercises.

Better muscle activation and performance

  1. The side lying hip abductors are closely related to the core muscles and also are crucial for several other functioning such as athletic activity, balance. Many people develop weak gluteus muscles, due to extended time spent sitting during the day.
  2. Being inactive for a long time can lead to the making them harder than before to use during exercise if repeated several times, which will be called as body essentially “turning off” these muscles.
  3. Using the wrong muscles can lead to pain, difficulty with certain movements, poor performance. Using a resistance band around the knees is however is such one the techniques that are supposed to help in increased activation of the gluteus medius during squats, can increase overall performance.

Decrease pain

  1. Weakness in the hip abductors may lead to overuse injuries, patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), iliotibial (IT) band syndrome, particularly in the gluteus medius. PFPS can cause severe pain back side of the kneecap when you when going downstairs or sit for long periods.
  2. Those who don’t suffer from knee pain are not likely to have a hip weakness as compared to the patients with PFPS according to the Studies trusted Source. So when it comes to knee health and stability, hip abductor strength is important.
  3. In addition to exercises that strengthen hip rotators, the quadriceps, hip abductors and treatment for PFPS typically includes anti-inflammatory drugs, stretching of the muscles surrounding the hip and knee and rest.

Effectiveness of side lying hip abduction exercises

  1. It’s not clear whether side lying abduction weakness is a result of knee problems or cause. Findings of the relationship between side lying abduction and knee issues somehow are overlapping. In general, though, strengthening these muscles will not harm in any way but rather delivers benefits.
  2. A 2008 study trusted Source & showed positive results that included strengthening the hip abductors along with a six-week exercise program. Physical function was significantly related to side lying abductor strength at various period of the time such as two, four, and six weeks.
  3. A 2011 study focused at the identifying the various parameters such as the effectiveness of a side lying abductor strengthening program among 25 participants, and also among those 25, 15 were having PFPS. They found that after three weeks, participants with PFPS were found to be with a decrease in pain and an increase in strength.

The takeaway

  1. Side lying abduction exercises have has to offer many benefits. Often these used exercises help strengthen the important muscles needed for injury prevention and stabilization, and among bodybuilders, weightlifters and also both the therapy settings.
  2. Exercises you can do to improve side lying abductor strength include banded side steps, lying side leg lifts, clamshells or squats.


Like any other exercises, this is also one of the several that aim in improving and the maintenance of the proper and natural functioning and working of the muscle and joints.

  1. According to studies, various demonstrations have been done and providing results stating this exercise can be beneficial for hip movement and maintaining its proper functioning.
  2. Irrespective of the age, this is likely to elicit benefit to almost all kind of the age group’s persons such as old adults, kids’ etc.
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