Hip Mobility Exercises That'll Keep You Feeling Limber

Add these hip mobility movements to your regular routine to get the most out of your workouts and remain injury-free.

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Like creativity and directness, hip mobility is something that kids can pull off without trying. "We are born with full joint mobility," says Juliet Root, a NASM-certified trainer and instructor on fitness app Onyx. "If you have ever watched a toddler squat or bend over to pick something up — the perfect deadlift — they display exceptional form."

Once you pass childhood, that doesn't come as naturally. Maintaining hip mobility is worth a bit of effort, though, even if it means tacking on a few extra minutes to your workout sessions. "For athletes, hip mobility allows for peak performance during exercise, improves speed, and allows the individual to have full range of motion," says Amanda Butler, another NASM-certified trainer on Onyx's roster. (

And whether or not you consider yourself athletic, maintaining hip mobility can help you avoid pain. "If you lack hip mobility, you will tend to suffer from tight muscles in the hip flexors, low back and front of the hips — leading to more injuries and pain around your body," says Butler. "If muscles are tight in any area of your body, another muscle group must overcompensate for the lack of mobility in those areas and can cause more strain to the healthy muscles." (

Hip mobility can pay off throughout your day-to-day. "Anything we do in our daily lives, even mundane activities, require the use of our joints and limbs being mobile and having a full range of motion," says Root. "Lack of hip mobility, in particular, weakens the glutes and shortens the hip flexors and when those are weak and inactive, the lower back tends to take over." That's why she recommends incorporating hip mobility exercises once a day, especially if you're about to perform an athletic movement of any kind.

Need some guidance on what to include in your hip mobility routine? Here are some of the best exercises to try, courtesy of Butler and Root. (

Best Hip Mobility Exercises

Foam Rolling

A. Lie face down with the corner of a foam roller pressing into the hip flexors, at the front of your body where the top of your quad meets your hip.

B. Gently rock forward and back, using hands or forearms for support, to release tension in the hip flexors. Repeat on the opposite side.

Alternatively, use a massage gun at a light speed, apply the gun to the same area. It is also beneficial to use a foam roller or massage gun on your hamstrings and quadriceps to better release tight hips.

90/90 Stretch

A. Sit upright on the floor and bend left leg in front of body with hips externally rotated. The left leg and knee will create a 90-degree angle. Place the right leg next to body with your hips internally rotated. Bend knee so that leg creates a 90-degree angle. Hips should be in line with right knee. This should create an S-shape with your legs.

B. Sit up tall and breathe into this stretch with both knees evenly placed on the floor. Repeat on opposite side.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

A. Start in a half-kneeling position on the floor with left foot forward and right knee down directly below the hip.

B. Slowly drive the left knee forward to feel a stretch in the right hip flexor. Hold. Repeat on opposite side.

You can make this an active stretch by continuously shifting forward and backward. As a static stretch, you can amplify this movement by rotating your chest toward the kneeling leg and placing the opposite hand on the outside of the knee.

Lying Pigeon

A. Start in a downward dog position, with hands and feet on the floor, hips raised toward the ceiling. Raise right leg toward the ceiling and then bring right knee in toward chest. Rest bent leg down with right ankle close to left hip.

B. Allow left leg to rest on floor. Keeping hips level, walk hands forward while slowly lowering forehead to the mat. Hold, breathing through discomfort. Repeat on opposite side.

Deep Squat Extension

A. Start in a deep squat (as low as possible without lifting heels), with chest lifted and hands resting on the floor between legs.

B. Keeping hands on the floor, extend legs into a standing position, dropping head and bringing gaze to the floor.

C. Bend legs and lower into a squat, opening knees to stretch the hips. Continue to bend and extend legs from a squatting to a standing position.

Leg Swing

A. Stand beside a wall or other stable surface, holding onto it for support.

B. Begin to swing outer leg forward and back, keeping leg straight. Make sure to generate the power from the hip and not the hamstring. You may need to shorten your stride to ensure that you are not using your lower back. Continue to swing leg back and forth. Repeat on opposite side.

Fire Hydrant

A. Start on all fours in tabletop position, stacking shoulders over wrists and hips over knees.

B. Keeping knee bent at a 90-degree angle, lift left leg. Lower knee back to the floor to return to start. Continue lifting and lowering leg. Repeat on opposite side.

Hip Thrust

A. Place upper back and shoulder blades on a bench and place feet on the floor so that they are directly under knees.

B. Lower hips toward the floor then press through your heels to thrust hips up toward the ceiling, squeezing glutes at the top of the movement. Continue lowering and thrusting hips.

Reverse Lunge and Twist

A. Standing with feet together, take a big step back with left leg and lower the left knee to hover an inch or two above the floor.

B. Rotate your torso to the right side. Step feet together and repeat on the other side. Continue lunging and standing, alternating sides.

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