Fire Hydrant Exercise

Nadia Santiago
Fire hydrant exercise

Looking for a simple yet effective exercise to help you build core strength and mobilize your hips? Try fire hydrants. There are basic, intermediate, and advanced forms to benefit and challenge those at any fitness level.

Performing the Exercise

Performing the fire hydrant strengthens the glutes, stretches the inner thighs, and stabilizes the abdominals. Together, this means firmer, more toned legs and backside. Fire hydrants also increase external hip rotation. It is often used as a tool for rehabilitation after hip injuries to regain mobility in the joint. It also supports proper alignment of the spine, which can lead to better posture and reduce low back pain. The best part is that the exercise is simple to perform.

Fire hydrant exercise step 1
Fire hydrant exercise step 2
  1. Start on your hands and knees, with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Draw your belly in to tighten your abdominals and flatten your back.
  3. Lift one knee off the floor and out to the side so it is level with your hip. Be careful not to shift your hips during this step.
  4. Return to the starting position.

Repeat 10-20 repetitions, then switch sides. If your hips are tight, you may not be able to lift your knee to hip level. This is completely normal. The more you practice, the greater your flexibility will become.

Variations

The fire hydrant exercise is generally considered to be a beginner's move. It is worth including in a warmup at any level. However, those seeking a challenge can try intermediate and advanced versions.

The Fire Hydrant Kickout

The simplest variation is the fire hydrant kickout.

  1. Begin in the same starting position on your hands and knees.
  2. As you lift your knee off the floor, kick out to the side so your foot is level with you hip or higher. Think of a side kick on your knees.
  3. Return to the starting position.

As with the basic fire hydrant, be sure to engage your glutes and avoid shifting your hips. Complete 10-20 repetitions, then switch sides.

The Fire Hydrant in Plank Position

An advanced version of the fire hydrant exercise is the fire hydrant in plank position. It is the hardest variation of the three. This form works the entire abdominal region, along with the chest and shoulders for full frontal muscle engagement.

Fire hydrant plank exercise step 1
Fire hydrant plank exercise step 2
  1. Start in high plank position, also known as pushup position.
  2. Draw one in knee in toward your chest. Make sure your hips don't sag toward the floor.
  3. Rotate your knee out to the side, then back toward your chest.

Repeat 10-20 repetitions or for continue for 30 seconds without stopping. Once you have completed time or your reps, switch sides. This version of the fire hydrant exercise is challenging, so be sure to work your way up to it. Only attempt this move if you have mastered the basic fire hydrant. You should also be able to hold a high plank for an extended period with proper form.

Fire Hydrant Exercise Video Demonstration

Here's a demonstration of the fire hydrant exercise in action, from the easiest to the hardest.

Add the Fire Hydrant Exercise to Your Workout

The fire hydrant exercise is a staple move that can be added to any workout, whether you're a beginner or more advanced. Place it at the beginning of your workout to turn on your glutes, stabilize your abdominals, and increase the range of motion in your hips. As you get stronger, challenge yourself with the intermediate and advanced variations.

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Fire Hydrant Exercise