August 08, 2021 10 min read

Wide hips are a part of many people's ideal body shape. They are a sign of solid hips and glutes, and they promote that perfect hourglass figure.

To help you build the body of your dreams, we are sharing our top 10 exercises for wider hips!  You can add these exercises to your existing lower body workout program or throw together a new hip workout!  Even better, most of them require little to no equipment, so you can do them from anywhere.

Do not hesitate to start building your dream body. Get going with these top 10 exercises today!

1. Sumo Walks (Resistance Band Lateral Walk)

Sumo walks are perhaps the best exercises for the hip abductor muscles, particularly the gluteus medius and tensor fascia latae. Not only do they target the hips, but they also work the core. Therefore, they have the double benefit of making the hips wider and tightening the core region

Crab walk squat exercise fitness woman training at gym

That combination makes them ideal for building an hourglass figure. Before getting started, you will need a looped resistance band. If you do not have a looped band, you can tie the ends of a regular resistance band in a knot.

Here is how to do sumo walks with proper form:

  1. Step inside the looped resistance band and place it above your knees.
  1. Step your feet to about shoulder-width apart, or until there is mild tension in the band.
  1. Get into an athletic stance by slightly bending your knees and sending your hips backward. Your upper body should fall forward between 30 and 45-degrees. You can place your hands on either your hips or in a fist at your chest.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and step your right foot directly out to the right side while keeping your left foot in place. Make sure to keep your knees bent and to step in line with the rest of your body.  This movement should increase the tension in the resistance band.  Use the strength in your hips, glutes, and core to resist the force.
  1. Hold your wide stance for one second, then step your left foot to the right to return to your starting position. The resistance in the resistance band should decrease back to what it was with your feet at shoulder-width apart.
  1. Repeat! Take ten steps to the right with your right foot leading, then reverse directions and take ten to the left with the left foot leading.

2. Donkey Kicks

Your glutes intricately connect with your hips. In many ways, having ripped glutes leads to ripped hip muscles. Several muscles, including the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and tensor fascia latae, wrap around from the sides of the glutes to the hips.

Donkey kicks are the perfect exercise for strengthening the hips by directly strengthening the glutes! Not only will donkey kicks lead to better glutes and therefore hips, but they also give your backside a rounder and more lifted look.  For ripped and rounded glutes, you can't go wrong with donkey kicks.

Here is how to do donkey kicks with proper form:

  1. Get on all fours on a soft and flat surface. Your knees should be directly under your hips and your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Make sure that your back is in a straight line.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and lift your right knee straight backward and up until your quad is parallel with the floor and your foot is pointed straight in the air. Keep your knee bent to a 90-degree angle as you lift it.
  1. Squeeze your glutes and core to keep the knee lifted for one to two seconds, then slowly lower the knee back to starting position.
  1. Repeat! Do ten to twelve kicks on the right side, then repeat on the left side. You will know you are doing the exercise right if you look like a donkey kicking its leg behind itself!

As you do the kicks, do not sink your lower back! The back should stay perfectly flat to avoid back injuries and keep the muscle-building benefits on the glute muscles.

3. Fire Hydrants

After going donkey kicks, transition right into fire hydrants!  While the donkey kicks build muscle in the glutes, fire hydrants build muscle in the outer hips and side glutes. 

They both have the same starting position, so it's easy to move from one exercise to the other.  Together, these two exercises make a great combination for building bigger hips.

Here is how to do fire hydrants with proper form:

  1. Get on all fours on a soft and flat surface. Your knees should be directly under your hips and your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Make sure that your back is in a straight line.
  1. When you are ready, exhale and lift your right knee straight out to the side to open up your lower body. Keep your right leg bent to a 90-degree angle as you lift the knee.
  1. Lift your knee until it reaches the level of your hips. Squeeze the hip muscles at the top for one to two seconds, then slowly lower back to starting position.
  1. Repeat! Do ten to twelve fire hydrants with the right leg, then ten to twelve with the left leg. 

As you do the knee lifts, keep your upper body facing the floor! The only thing that should be moving is your hip joint and knee.  Everything else stays still!

4. Glute Bridges

Glute bridges are one of our favorite lower-body bodyweight exercises! You must add them to your weekly butt workout. In addition to stimulating muscle growth in the hips, they also grow the:

  • Hamstrings
  • ​Glutes
  • Abdominals

Here is how to do glute bridges with proper form:

  1. Lay flat on your back on a soft surface. Pull your feet in towards your glutes and rest your arms along the sides of your body. Your knees should bend to about 90-degrees.
  1. When you're ready, press into your heels to lift your glutes off the floor. Imagine that there is a string tied to your hip bones that is pulling you into the air. Lift your hips until you create one long line from your knees to your neck.
  1. Squeeze your glute muscles to hold yourself up in the bridge, then slowly lower back to starting position. The movement is tiny, but it's hard work for your backside!
  1. Repeat! Do two to three sets of ten to twelve glute bridges.

The other great thing about glute bridges is that they are super versatile. There are countless variations that can help you build big hips. A few of our favorite variations include:

  • Glute bridge heel lifts
  • Glute bridge pulses
  • Single-leg glute bridges

Moreover, you can put together an entire glute bridge workout that includes the regular bridge and several variations!

5. Side Lunges

Lunges are one of the best lower body compound exercises. While the regular lunge is good for the hip muscles, side lunges are even better.

Also known as the lateral lunge, side lunges work the hips, outer thighs, and inner thighs. You might be surprised that the inner thighs intricately connect with the hips.

Four muscles in the inner thighs make up the hip adductor muscle group, including the:

  • Adductor longus
  • Adductor brevis
  • Gracilis
  • Pectineus

The adductors support overall hip balance and alignment. Having well-balanced hips directly helps to build wider hips.

Here is how to do side lunges with proper form:

  1. Get into starting position with your feet hip-width apart and hands in a fist by your chest. Take a step out to the side with your left leg so that your feet are wider than shoulder-width apart.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and bend your right knee to push your hips out to the right side. Keep your left leg straight and feet flat on the floor as you bend your knee.
  1. Inhale and bring your hips back to the center by straightening your right knee.
  1. Repeat! Do two to three sets of ten to twelve lunges on the right side. Then, switch to the opposite side.

6. Squat Lateral Leg Lifts

This next exercise combines a squat and lateral leg lift. On their own, both are excellent for the hips. When combined, they create one of the best exercises for the hips.

This exercise is particularly good at activating the gluteus minimus. Also known as the glute min, it is a tiny but mighty muscle. It is the smallest of all the glute muscles but has a couple of essential roles, including:

  • Stabilizing the hips and lower body
  • Initiating movements from the hip joint

Moreover, while it is a small muscle, your hips wouldn't be able to function without it. For more on this fantastic muscle, check out our complete guide to understanding the glute min!

Here is how to do squat lateral leg lifts with proper form:

  1. Stand in a starting squat position with your feet hip-width apart, upper body tall, and hands in a fist at your chest.
  1. When you are ready, exhale and do a squat. Hold at the bottom for one second.
  1. Inhale to press out of the squat while laterally lifting your right leg straight out to the side. As you come up from the squat, lift the leg in line with the rest of your body.
  1. Squeeze your right hip and outer glute to keep the leg lifted for one second.
  1. Exhale and slowly lower your right leg and foot to starting squat position. Your foot should land at a hip-width distance from your other foot.
  1. Repeat! Do ten to twelve squats while lifting your right leg, then do ten to twelve lifting the left leg.

Make sure to move slowly through the movement so that you are targeting the correct hip muscles. Also, you can make the exercise even more challenging by holding a dumbbell in your hands at chest level.

7. Side Leg Hip Abduction

What if there was an exercise that you could do lying down while still building muscle mass

It turns out you can do just that with the lying-down version of the side leg hip abduction.

Here is how to do it with proper form:

  1. Lay on the right side of your body on a soft, flat surface. Prop your head in your right hand. Try to create one long line from your head to your toes. Make sure that your hips are stacked right on top of one another.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and slowly lift your top left leg off the bottom one. Keep your hips stacked and upper body facing forward as you lift the leg - do not rotate!
  1. Lift the leg as high as you can to get as much pinch in the hip joint as possible. Squeeze the hip abductor muscles, then slowly lower the left leg back to the right leg.

There you have it; you can lay down (and relax a bit) and still build wide hips!

8. Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts are a challenging variation of the glute bridge. Like glute bridges, they focus on building strength and power in the glute muscles. They do require equipment, so they're not very at-home workout friendly.

Young beautiful woman doing hip thrust

But, they're worth throwing into your lower body workout routine for days that you are at the gym. Before getting started, grab a flat bench and barbell. You don't need a barbell, but using one will be more challenging for your glutes.

Here is how to do hip thrusts with proper form:

  1. Sit on the floor about one foot in front of your flat bench. Lean back, so your upper back rests on the bench. Pull your feet in towards your glutes so that your knees bend to a 90-degree angle.  Rest your elbows on the bench.
  1. If you are using a barbell, place the barbell in a comfortable position above your hip bones.
  1. When you're ready, press into your heels to trust your hips in the air. Lift until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
  1. Squeeze your glute muscles to keep your hips lifted, then slowly lower your glutes back to the floor.
  1. Repeat! Do two to three sets of ten to twelve reps.

It is essential to keep your pelvis neutral during this exercise! You could severely injure your lower back if you allow your pelvis to drop. Therefore, only use a barbell if you can keep your pelvis neutral!

9. Side Plank Hip Dips

The sad truth is that your hips can only grow so wide. Unfortunately, the human bone structure biologically limits the width of the hips.  While you can do exercises to widen the hips, those exercises will only go so far. However, you can help create the illusion of wider hips by snatching in your waistline.  

A small waist helps make your hips look wider than what they really are.  The way to do that is by doing exercises that target the muscles on the sides of your waist. And, the most prominent muscles on the waistline are the obliques. Moreover, while biology does limit hip growth, you can counter that limitation by shrinking your waistline!

Side plank hip dips are perhaps the best exercise for snatching your waistline by tightening the obliques. 

Here is how to do them with proper form:

  1. Get into a regular plank starting position on your hands and toes. Make sure that your hands are directly underneath your shoulders.
  1. Lift your left hand off the ground and rotate your upper and lower body open to the left side. The entire right side of your body should face the floor. Squeeze your right obliques to keep your hip lifted and create one long line with the right side of your body.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and drop the right hip a few inches towards the floor.  Hold for one to two seconds.
  1. Inhale and squeeze your right oblique muscles to lift your hips back up.
  1. Repeat! Do ten to twelve hip dips on the right, then ten to twelve left hip dips.

10. Curtsey Lunges

Finish off your hip-widening workout with curtsey lunges. We love them for creating wider hips for a few reasons, including:

  • Targeting several hip and glute muscles
  • Targeting the obliques
  • Boosting the heart rate

As we mentioned above, your hips can only grow so wide. But, one way to make them look larger is to create a smaller waist. You can accomplish that by strengthening the obliques and losing belly fat.

The best way to lose belly fat is to up your heart rate with cardio exercise. Curtsey lunges do just that!Widen your hips, shrink your waistline, and stimulate weight loss with curtsey lunges!

Here is how to do them with proper form:

  1. Stand up tall with your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and step your right foot backward and slightly towards the left. Unlike a regular lunge, the idea is to curl the leg back and inward instead of just backward.
  1. Inhale to return to starting position, then repeat on the opposite side with the left foot.

Final Thoughts

The path to building wider hips starts right here with these exercises. Let go of all the other advice and stick to these exercises to start seeing results right away. Your journey to wide hips begins right now!


Bonus tip: The party doesn't stop here. Check out our guide to the best glute medius exercises to build even wider hips!


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