This side-lying exercise strengthens the hip abductors like the gluteus medius. It’s great for inclusion in a rehabilitation programme for lower-back pain and hip injuries, says Lynne Cantwell

Lie on your side. Rest your head on your arm or hand.

Bend your hips to approximately 45 degrees and bend your knees at 90 degrees. Make sure one hip is lying above the other. You should be well aligned – your feet in line with your back.

Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, engage your core muscles.

Inhale and, while exhaling, float the upper leg upwards while keeping your feet together.

Inhale and as you exhale bring the leg down to the starting position. Focus on not allowing the alignment of the body to be disrupted by leg movement.

Repeat 5-10 times with each leg.

If done correctly you should feel the muscles around the back of the hip-bone (the gluteus medius and minimus) working hard.

» Lynne Cantwell is a sports physiotherapist with a specialism in running injuries at Six Physio in Fulham (