may not be the most common goal of women who train but,
I can promise you, there are a LOT of women out there
who would LOVE to build wider hips without putting on
a lot of fat!
you right now, it's not going to be easy but it definitely
CAN be done!
to know the reason why it's so tough to increase hip
width without gaining a lot of fat in the area? It all
comes down to your bones.
You see, hip width
(not counting fat deposits in the area) is primarily determined
by your pelvis size. If you've got genetically narrow hip
bones (you can thank your parents for that!), it's going to
be much tougher to achieve the wider hips you're looking for.
It's the very same
situation with the shoulders - if you want wider shoulders,
you're limited by bone structure. You then have to focus on
building the lateral delts (the side heads of the shoulder
muscles) to give the appearance of wider shoulders.
But the only hitch with the hips is that there really isn't
a whole lot of muscle mass available to build onto the outside
of your pelvis!
In that respect,
it's actually EASIER to build wider shoulders with weight
training than it is to build wider hips.
The main muscles
that operate in the hip area (for our purposes) are the three
glute muscles...the gluteus maximus (the main butt muscle),
gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.
The primary function
of the gluteus maximus is to bring the leg backwards (a.k.a.
hip extension). It's a big, powerful muscle because this function
is our primary method of moving forward! Every time you push
backwards to take a step, that's the gluteus maximus at work.
But the smaller
gluteus medius and minimus muscles are what we'll need to
focus on to try and increase hip width. These two muscles
are what's known as abductors.
Abduction is the
biomechanical term for moving a limb AWAY from the midline
of the body. In this case, it's moving the thigh away from
the center of the body. If you're familiar with adduction
(where you bring the legs in towards each other and squeeze
the thighs together), it's the opposite movement.
So to widen the hips through training, we need to focus some
intense work on the gluteus medius and minimus muscles.
And when I say
intense work, I'm NOT talking about those light pumping movements
where you try and "go for the burn!"
For our purposes,
those are not only a waste of time but completely counterproductive.
Light weight exercises won't build hips and will interfere
with the muscle-building stimulus we're going for that WILL
actually build the hips. So toss "The Firm" videos
back into the pile if you want to build wider hips. Those
won't cut it.
If you want results,
it's time to break out the dumbells and barbells and dig into
some REAL weight training!
|NOTE: the exercises I'm
about explain are probably not familiar to you. Be VERY
sure to watch the videos on how to perform these exercises
properly. They will help you a LOT!
The absolute BEST exercise for increasing hip width is
NOT an isolation abduction exercise.
You may have seen
abduction machines in the gym where you sit on a chair and
force your legs outwards against resistance. I'm sure you've
seen them...they always seem to place those machines directly
across from the cardio equipment or opposite the gym entrance!
The best exercise
is called the Side Lunge and it can be done with a barbell
OR dumbells. But I'm not going to have you do the NORMAL side
lunge...that exercise forces you to use lighter weights so
you don't strain your knees. This version allows for more
resistance and, therefore, more potential muscle growth and
how do you do the Side Lunge?
Well, the "normal"
technique has you starting in a standing position. Then you
step one foot directly out to the side (sometimes at angle
forwards rather than directly to the side) and lower your
body down into a lunge. You come down, bending your knee,
then you push all the way back up to the standing position.
The problem with
this technique is the lateral stress that gets placed on the
knee when you step down to the side. The knees aren't designed
to take a lot of sideways pressure - they're all about going
forward and back (like a hinge). There's some room to manuever
but sideways movement against momentum can be tough on the
knees - just ask any running back in football!
So instead of stepping
out to the side on each rep then pushing all the way back
up, we're going to do it differently. You'll take that first
step out to the side and plant your foot about 2 feet out.
And you're going to keep it there!
If you stepped
out to the right, bend your right knee and come down into
a lunge position. Your left leg will be completely straight
and act as a pivot. Come down until your thigh is parallel
to the ground then, using hip power, push yourself back up,
straightening your right leg but WITHOUT popping all the way
back to a standing position where your feet are together.
keeping our feet in the SAME position for the whole exercise.
When you come to
the top, you're now going to lunge down to the OTHER side.
Come down until your leg knee is bent 90 degrees then push
back back up. Again, you're NOT popping up to a total standing
position - just straightening your legs. This not only spares
your knees, it allows you to keep tension on the muscles better
AND use heavier resistance!
You can do this
exercise with a barbell or 2 dumbells. When using a barbell,
just hold it across your shoulders and be careful with your
balance. If you do this exercise with a barbell, it's best
to use a rack so you don't have to press the weight overhead
and set it down on your shoulders. Just note, you'll be doing
this exercise OUTSIDE the rack (there isn't enough clearance
inside the rack to do it inside - you'll set the bar on the
little hooks on the outside to get the bar on your back).
The dumbell version
will be the easiest setup. All you need to do is pick up the
dumbells! When you perform the exercise, hand position is
important. If you're lunging down to the right, the right-hand
dumbell should be on the outside of your right hip. The left-hand
dumbell should be held in front of your body down between
your legs. This is the best position for balance and resistance.
Then you just reverse
it when you go down to the other side - left dumbell on the
outside of your left hip and right dumbell down in between
The first time
you do this exercise, use a light to moderate weight so you
get an idea of how the exercise is performed. Once you feel
comfortable with it, THEN starting boosting the weight.