Weekend Challenge: Optimized Hip Builder - Save Our Bones

The Optimized Hip Builder is a low-impact exercise that increases strength and stability in the hip joints. It’s an excellent muscle builder, and you’ll definitely “feel it” after a few repetitions.

Savers are aware of the importance of building bone in the pelvis since a hip fracture can be a devastating type of injury. And given the incidence of hip fractures, exercises that strengthen the hips are more important than ever.


Research shows that between the years 2002 and 2012, hip fracture rates declined; but they began to rise again in 2013, reaching a plateau that did not descend through 2015.1 However, there has been a slight but steady decline in hip fractures between 2015 and 2018, according to America’s Health Rankings.2 This is good news!

It’s also worth pointing out that overall, bisphosphonate use also declined from 2010 to 2012, and in fact, bisphosphonate use is at an all-time low according to a 2015 study.3 To read more about this remarkable decline in the use of bisphosphonates and the research behind these findings, please click here to read this previous Save Our Bones Bulletin.

Scientists can no longer ignore the connection between decreased bisphosphonate use and lower rates of hip fracture. Researchers investigated this connection by reviewing the body of evidence between 1996 and 2012 and published their findings in the Journal of Bone Mineral Research (JBMR). They found that:

“A significant decrease in the use of oral bisphosphonates is noted from 1996 to 2012… A decrease in the incidence of subtrochanteric fracture is also noted in the period, supporting the association between bisphosphonates and subtrochanteric fractures.”4

The truth about osteoporosis drugs is spreading, and thanks to Savers like you, their use will continue to decrease. Staying away from these damaging drugs is crucial for avoiding hip fractures, and so is exercise that strengthens the pelvic area.

So let’s get to it!


You’ll be getting on the floor for this exercise, so it’s best to grab an exercise mat. If you can’t get down to the floor, don’t worry – at the end of this exercise, you’ll see a list of other hip-strengthening exercises, and one of them is done while seated in a chair.

  1. Lie on your right side. Extend your legs out, so there’s an approximate straight line from your head to your feet. Your knees and feet should be stacked one atop the other. Prop your head up with your right hand (your right elbow will be on the floor), or extend your right arm and lay your head down on it. Feel free to put your left hand on the floor in front of you to stabilize yourself.
  2. Lift your left leg and, keeping your left foot flat, bring your left knee up to your abdomen (or as close as you can).
    Now bring your left leg back out straight again to the starting position, keeping your left foot up – don’t let it touch the ground or your right foot.
  3. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for one minute (as long as you are comfortable), and then switch sides and do the same exercise for another minute with the other leg.
  4. Here are two more hip exercises that are done on the floor, so you can go right to them:

    And here is a hip exercise you can do in your chair:

    I hope you enjoyed this Weekend Challenge, and that you’re able to incorporate the challenges into your regular bone-healthy workouts. We target a different area of the body every week and incorporate a wide variety of fitness levels and abilities. So if there are some exercises you’re unable to do, wait until the next week or search previous Weekend Challenges to find moves that work for you.

    Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!

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    Keep doing your part to prevent hip fractures, and have a great weekend!


    1 Lewiecki, Michael E., et al. “Hip fracture trends in the United States, 2002 to 2015.” Osteoporosis International. 29. 3. (2018): 717-722. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29282482
    2 “Hip Fractures in United States in 2018.” America’s Health Rankings, United Health Foundation. (2018). Web. https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/senior/measure/hip_fractures_sr/state/ALL
    3 “Following Media Reports of Safety Concerns, Use of Osteoporosis Drugs Down.” Science Codex. (2015). Web. https://www.sciencecodex.com/following_media_reports_of_safety_concerns_use_of_osteoporosis_drugs_down-159496
    4 Jha, Smita, et al. “Trends in Media Reports, Oral Bisphosphonate Prescriptions, and Hip Fractures 1996–2012: An Ecological Analysis.” JBMR. 30. 12. (2015): 2179-2187. Web. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/jbmr.2565

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Veena Sharma

    Can I lie down to do exercises with my knee problems doctor says not to sit on floor. Thanks

  2. Margarita Esteban

    Thanks Vivian for all your valuable information.

  3. Betty

    Thank you for all the valuable information. What do you consider the best exercise that you have provided for the FHP for an 89 year old! I have printed out a lot of what you have sent so I can refer to it. Thanks.

  4. Sandi

    Vivian, how often should we do these hip building exercises? Thanks!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      It’s really up to you, Sandi! Three times a week is a good place to start with any regular exercise routine, and then you can go from there according to your fitness level and personal schedule. 🙂

      • Sandi

        Vivian, would wearing ankle weights(5 lb.each) make this a better exercise?
        Thank you!

        • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

          Hi Sandi,

          You could certainly wear ankle weights to give your muscles more of a challenge. Great idea!

          • Sandi

            Thank you, Vivian!

  5. Carmen Godinson

    Thanks for all the info.. much appreciated… I was wondering if I can do the hip exercise, having had a hip replacement. I fell and broke my femur, because the break was too high up, the had to remove a good hip and replace it.
    They said that if they fixed the femur, I would be back with more trouble in a couple of years time. so the Dr decide to do it right from the start.
    I am not sure what I can or can not do. I am 71.. of course the wanted to give the prolia injection, but I refused.
    Thank you

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Carmen,

      Have you checked with the doctor who did your hip replacement surgery? As far as figuring out what you can and can’t do exercise-wise, that would be a good place to start. 🙂 Every situation is different, so checking with your doctor who knows your particular health history is crucial. Also, if you had physical therapy following your surgery, you could check with your therapist for some exercise ideas.

      That said, a low-impact move like this one is likely to work well for those who have had hip replacement surgery. But please check with your doctor first.

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