Find Your Place: 10-Minute Hips, Core, and More

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Your hips and core play a key role in your everyday activities. Give them the care and attention they deserve.

Whether you’re kicking back on the couch or stepping out on the dance floor, your hips and core are going to have something to say about how your entire body is going to feel—both in the moment and long afterward.

That’s because nearly every movement you make—big or small—originates in your midsection, says SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack.

Quick anatomy refresher: Your core is the set of muscles that connect your upper and lower body. It includes everything from your hips, abs, and glutes to your back and pelvic floor muscles.

No surprise, then, that any weakness or restricted range of motion in your core can set off a chain reaction of stiffness and pain—and even set you up for injury. Your hips might feel tight, your shoulders might ache, and your back might feel stiff and sore.

Sound familiar?

This workout is designed to help you build strength, stability, and mobility in these all-important muscles, so you can move with greater ease throughout your day.

How the 10-Minute Hips, Core, and More Workout Works

The beauty of these exercises, says Jack, is that they do two things at once. “They strengthen one side of the muscle, while stretching the other side. When we have those muscles working together the right way—and in balance—it really creates a healthy body.”

For this workout, you’ll need a few items: an exercise bench or sturdy couch, a light- to moderate-weight dumbbell, and a mat or some pillows if you’re working out on a hard floor. If you’d like support during any of the exercises, set up near a wall or counter. And don’t forget to keep water handy to sip as needed.

All you need to do is press play and follow along. If you’re performing the workout on your own, start with a quick warmup by marching in place and doing some arm circles in both directions. Then complete the seven exercises below in order, followed by a cooldown and some stretches. Aim to do this workout two to three times a week.

To keep tabs on your effort, use a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest. You can ramp up or dial down as you need, but you don’t want to go higher than 7. As you move, keep breathing, and prioritize good form.

As always, safety is key. These exercises may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

Exercise #1: Sit to Stand from Chair

Do the move for 1 minute

How to do it: Sit on a bench or other sturdy seat with your feet about hip-width apart and flat on the floor. Lift your chest and chin so your torso is upright, and keep your shoulders down and back—no hunching. Raise both arms in front of you to shoulder level for counterbalance. Push down through your feet to stand up. Pause here.

Return to sitting by pressing your hips down and back. Keep your chest up and your back straight throughout the movement. If it helps, press your arms down and back as you sit. Repeat the movement.

Make it easier: Use your hands to help push you off the seat, but remember that the driving force should still come from your legs. It’s also okay to position yourself near a couch or counter so you have something to grab for support.

Exercise #2: Deadlift

Do 8 to 10 reps

How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes turned out, and engage your core as if you were about to be punched in the gut. Hold a dumbbell at one end with both hands in front of you.

From here, push your hips back, and bend your knees to lower your body toward the floor, pulling your knees away from each other and toward the back wall as you do so. Keeping your core engaged and chest lifted, let the dumbbell gently touch or hover above the floor.

Pause, and continuing to keep your core engaged and chest lifted, push the floor away with your feet and drive your hips forward to stand up. Repeat the movement.

Make it easier: Skip the weight, and use your hands for resistance.

Exercise #3: Loop Chop

Do the move for 1 minute

How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and engage your core. Hold a dumbbell at both ends and begin with your hands at your left hip.

From here, push through the floor, and circle your arms up and around, ending with your hands at your right hip. You can make your circle big or small, whatever feels most comfortable to you.

Pause, then circle your arms back in the opposite direction. Continue alternating circles, moving slowly with good form.

Make it easier: Skip the weight, and use your hands for resistance.

Exercise #4: Single-Leg Reach

Do 2 reps with each leg

How to do it: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. If you’d like extra support, stand near a wall or sturdy piece of furniture. Hinge forward at your hips as you slide your left leg behind you and reach forward with your left arm. For balance, extend your right arm back.

Keeping your right foot firmly planted to the floor, lift your left foot off the floor. Pause and hold for 10 to 15 seconds, or as long as you comfortably can while maintaining proper form. Return to start and repeat on that same side. Switch legs and repeat.

Exercise #5: Shoulders-Elevated Hip Raise

Do 8 to 10 reps

How to do it: Bring yourself to the floor in front of a bench or couch, using as many points of contact to guide you down safely. Sit with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms out to the side, and rest your shoulders and arms on the bench. Engage your core as if you’re about to be punched in the gut, and lift your chest.

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From here, push through the floor and raise your hips so your body forms a table shape. Let your eyes look up at the ceiling. Pause, then slowly lower your hips to start. That’s one rep. Do eight to 10 reps.

When it’s time to return to standing, use multiple contact points to guide you up safely.

Make it harder: Add resistance by placing a very light weight on your hips. You can also try lifting one foot at a time at the top of the move.

Exercise #6: Sit to Stand from Floor

Do the move for 2 minutes

How to do it: Start on the floor. Place your right hand on the floor, lean forward, and rotate your body so both knees are now on the floor. Place your left hand on the floor so you’re now on all fours, and walk your hands back toward your knees.

From here, lift your torso and come up on your right knee. Place your right hand on the chair or bench and your left hand on your thigh. Push through the floor, and come to standing.

Now it’s time to reverse the move and return to the floor. Lean forward and place your hands on your left thigh for support. With your left foot firmly planted, step your right foot back and lower that knee to the floor. Place your right hand on the floor, sit back, and let your hips drop to the floor. That’s one rep. Repeat the pattern, alternating which side your body turns each time.

Make it easier: Use a wall, couch, or other sturdy furniture for support. If you’re not able to get up and down from the floor, you can skip this exercise or repeat sit to stand from a chair.

Exercise #7: Supported Row

Do 8 to 10 reps with each arm

How to do it: Stand in front of a bench or another sturdy seat. Engage your core, and hinge forward from your hips. Hold the bench with your right hand and a dumbbell in your left hand with palm facing in.

Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bend your left elbow and pull the dumbbell up to the side of your torso, keeping your arm close to your body. Pause, then slowly lower the dumbbell. That’s one rep. Do eight to 10 reps with each arm.

Make it easier: Put your knee on the bench for added support.

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