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September 07, 2022 10 min read

The concept of mobility is not only a buzzword. Mobility is defined as the ability of your joints to move freely through their specific range of motion. Mobility and flexibility go hand-in-hand, and an inflexible, tight body is prone to injuries.

Take the hips, for example—with tight hip flexors, the glutes shut down and cause inefficiency of the hamstrings.

Hip mobility exercises can strengthen and stretch the hip muscles and improve flexibility and stability while reducing injury risks. Tight hip flexors are probably the most common cause of muscle imbalance in America.

Fortunately, compensating for a sedentary, hip-tightening lifestyle is not difficult.

However, if you have existing hip pain, you’d be advised to discuss hip mobility exercises with your physician or physical therapist before doing these exercises.

Working with an experienced personal trainer  to establish a mobility routine that ensures safe movement patterns is always a good idea.

This article will show the 10 best exercises for hip mobility that will stretch, strengthen, and tighten the muscle groups that work your hips.

HOW DO YOUR HIPS WORK?

It is essential to understand how your hips work to understand the concept of hip mobility, and how hip mobility exercises can be beneficial.

The workings of your hips comprise the following three primary movements:

Hip Flexion and Extension:  The forward and backward movements of the legs.

Hip Rotation: Moving the straightened legs towards the toes, and moving the feet left and right.

Hip Abduction and Adduction: This involves moving the leg out to the side, and in towards the other leg.

WHAT ARE THE 5 COMPONENTS OF YOUR HIPS?

Knowing the different components of the hips makes understanding how they work easier.

  1. Bones:
  • The primary bones of your hips include the ilia. It is the pair of large, winglike ilium bones on either side of the hips.
  • The three-part ischium forms the rounded bottom of the hip, located lower and at the back of the hip.
  • The pubis is the area where the other pelvic bones connect.
  1. Articular Cartilage:  Where the bones come together to form the hip joint, the smooth, white articular cartilage covers them to serve as lubrication.
  2. Ligaments and Tendons:  They are bands of tissue that form the connection between bones, and it also connects the muscles to the bones.
  3. Synovial Membrane and Fluid:  An additional source of lubrication for the hip joint, provided by the synovial membrane.
  4. Muscles:  The hip has no less than 20 muscles, of which the four groups discussed below affect hip flexibility and mobility.

THE MUSCLES THAT WORK YOUR HIPS

If you have any unpleasant symptoms like cramping, pain, or tightness in your hips, the reason could be weakness or immobility in one or more of these muscles.

Steel Supplements Hip Muscles – Image from Shutterstock

 

Hip Flexors

All the muscles you use for bending at your hips are grouped into the hip flexors.  You use the flexor muscles whenever you move your knee forward or upward to walk or go up a staircase.

This muscle group includes:

Rectus femoris, which is part of your quadriceps

Psoas major, which forms the connection between your spine and hips

Iliacus, which attaches your thigh bone to your hips

Pectineus, your groin muscle

Sartorius, which connects each leg’s knee to your hip

Hip Extensors

Unlike the hip flexors that bend the hips, this muscle group extends the hip.

It includes:

Biceps Femoris, mostly referred to as hamstrings

Gluteus Maximus, the largest muscle in your butt

Hip Abductors

The hip abductor muscle group is responsible for moving your legs outward, or away from your body. These include

Gluteus medius, making up the sides of your glutes

Gluteus minimus, a small muscle located beneath the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius

Tensor fasciae latae (TFL), attached to your iliotibial band to stabilize your knee and hip

Hip Adductors

Unlike the hip abductors, the group of hip adductor muscles performs the opposite motion. They bring your legs toward your body, or inward, such as when you squeeze your legs together. Your adductor muscle group comprises five small muscles that run along your inner thighs.

They include:

  • Gracilis
  • Obturator Externus
  • Adductor Brevis
  • Adductor Longus
  • Adductor Magnus

THE 10 BEST EXERCISES FOR HIP MOBILITY AND STRENGTH

Working out is not only about strength and muscles, mobility is key to safe training. Tight hips lead to lower back pain, which in turn, causes overcompensation by the knees, leading to knee issues.

The root cause of a significant percentage of knee and hip injuries, and even replacements, is tight hip flexors. With a proper understanding of the hip structure and how it works, the following exercises for hip mobility and strength may make more sense.

1. CLAMSHELL

This is an effective stretch that promotes internal rotation of the hip. You have the option to use a resistant band or stretching strap when doing the clamshell exercise.

Steel Supplements Hip mobility exercise – Clamshell – Image from Shutterstock

How to do the Clamshell:

  • Lie on your left side with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees, with your left elbow supporting your upper body.
  • While keeping your left leg flat on the floor, and your right heel securely on the side of your left heel, lift the right knee.
  • Rotate the bent right leg up to have your bent right knee pointing straight up in a vertical position, hinging at the hips.
  • Complete one set of 10 reps on your left side, rest for 30 seconds, then roll over to repeat the range of movements lying on your right side.

Recommended Reps:  Complete 2 sets of 10 reps per side, with 30-sec. rests before switching sides between sets.

2. GLUTE BRIDGE

This exercise is one of the best for loosening the hip flexors, while also improving the glute activation patterns. Although the  glute bridge  is a bodyweight movement, it’s still an excellent exercise for hip mobility and strength.

Steel Supplements Hip mobility exercise – Glute Bridge  – Image from Shutterstock

How to do the Glute Bridge:

  • Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent 90 degrees, and your feet flat on the floor. Let your arms lie straight down beside you.
  • While squeezing your glutes, push your hips up toward the ceiling into a bridge position.
  • Only your feet and shoulders should remain on the floor throughout the range of movements.
  • Hold the bridge position for two seconds before lowering the hip to just above the floor before pushing them up again.

Recommended Reps:  Complete 2 sets of 10 with 30-sec. rests before starting a new set.

3. LOW LUNGE TWIST STRETCH

This hip mobility exercise combines a lunge position  with a static twist. It works the psoas hip flexors and the lower back to open the hips.

Steel Supplements Hip mobility exercise – Twisted Low Lunge – Image from Shutterstock

How to do the Low Lunge Twist Stretch:

  • Begin in a lunge position with your right leg forward. Lower your left knee to the floor.
  • With your right elbow gently pressing into the inside of your right knee, twist your torso to the left.
  • Use your left arm to stretch behind you until you feel a slight stretch in your right groin and lower back.
  • Hold that stretch for about 20-30 seconds.
  • Release and repeat the movements using the left leg.
  • You can vary the way your arms are worked in this exercise. You can hold a medicine ball in both hands with your arms stretched out in front of you. Move your arms along as you twist your torso.
    If you are strong enough, you can replace the ball with a kettlebell or dumbbell.
    Another version is to simply stretch your arms forward with your hand palms together.

Recommended Reps:  Complete 2 sets of 10 reps to each side, with 30-sec. rests before starting each new set.

4. PRYING SQUAT

Although this exercise trains your legs to better stabilize your squat, it also improves adductor mobility for better overall hip mobility.

Steel Supplements Hip mobility exercise – Prying Squat – Image from Shutterstock

How to do the Prying Squat:

Hold a light kettlebell or dumbbell goblet-style.

Set your feet in the squat position you prefer.

Keep your torso upright as you slowly squat until your elbows reach the insides of your knees.

Hold your shoulders down and your chest up while actively pressing your elbows into the insides of your knees.

Rock from left to right while holding the squat position for several seconds before you stand up.

Recommended Reps:  Complete 2 sets of 10 with 30-sec. rests before starting a new set.

5. FIRE HYDRANT

This exercise focuses on your hips and glutes while engaging your core muscles. It is best performed on a soft surface like a mat. The form is key in this hip mobility exercise because the wrong form will activate the wrong muscle groups.

Steel Supplements Hip mobility exercise – Fire Hydrant – Image from Shutterstock

How to do the Fire Hydrant:

  • Bend down onto all fours, making sure your hands are directly below your shoulders, and your knees below your hips.
  • Tighten your core and look straight down. Try to create one long line in your back from your glutes to the crown of your head.
  • Exhale and lift your right leg out to the side away from your body, keeping your knee bent at a 90-degree angle and directly in line with your hip. Lift it until it is about as high as the hips, making sure all of the movement comes from your right hip joint.
  • Keep your knee open by squeezing your glutes and hip muscles.
  • Slowly release the squeeze and lower your right knee back to the starting position.
  • Repeat with the right leg to complete a set before using the left leg.

Recommended Reps:  Complete 2 sets of 10 for each hip, with 30-sec. rests before starting each new set.

6. REVERSE LUNGES

As a variation to forward lunges, reverse lunges have more gluteal strengthening power, while they also serve as excellent hip mobility exercises. You can make them even more effective by holding a set of small hand weights while you do the reverse lunges.

Steel Supplements Hip mobility exercise – Reverse Lunges – Image from Shutterstock

How to do Reverse Lunges:

  • With your feet about hip-width apart, stand up straight, with your hands on your hips or holding hand weights.
  • Lift your right foot and step directly backward with it, taking a step of about two to three feet.
  • Then, bend both knees so that your right knee almost touches the floor, and your left knee is at a 90-degree angle.
  • Use your glutes and the muscles in the backs of your legs by squeezing them to get back up and move the right leg to the starting position.
  • Repeat with the left leg and continue alternating between stepping your right and left foot backward.

Recommended Reps:  Complete 2 sets of 10 with 30-sec. rests before starting a new set.

7. LEG CRADLE

This hip mobility exercise works effectively on stretching the outsides of the hips.

How to do the Leg Cradle:

  • Begin this exercise from a standing position with your arms at your sides.
  • Lift your right foot off the ground and squat with your left leg.
  • Grab your calf just below the right knee with your right hand, and use your left hand to grab your right ankle.
  • Extend the left leg on which you are standing, and pull the bent right leg up and across toward the left hip.
  • At this time, you should feel a stretch on the outside of your right hip.
  • Return to starting position. Complete one side of reps before switching sides.

Recommended Reps:  Complete 2 sets of 10 with 30-sec. rests before starting a new set.

8. LUNGE ELBOW TO INSTEP

This exercise is also known as The World’s Greatest Stretch. It benefits not only the lower body. It is a full-body stretch that hits all the necessary muscle groups. It is also a good measure to judge your overall hip mobility and strength.

Steel Supplements Worlds Best Stretch Image from designjunction

How to do the Lunge Elbow to Instep:

  • Begin this exercise by stepping forward with your right foot into a lunge.
  • Place your left forearm on the floor and your right elbow on the inside of your right foot.
  • Hold that stretch for two seconds.
  • Then place your right hand outside your right foot and push your hips up, pointing the toes on your right foot up.
  • Return to a standing position, and repeat by stepping out with your left foot. Continue alternating sides.

Recommended Reps:  Complete 2 sets of 10 repetitions of alternating sides with 30-sec. rests before starting a new set.

9. FRANKENSTEIN WALK 

This exercise works your hips, psoas muscles, hamstrings, and quads, and helps increase your range of motion. Maintaining good posture is key. Don’t bend at the waist, and increase your speed as you progress.

The Frankenstein walk typically forms part of cardio warm-ups, but it is also an easy and effective hip mobility exercise.

How to do the Frankenstein Walk:

  • Choose a spacious area for this exercise.
  • Stand up straight with good posture with your hands hanging at your sides. 
  • Begin the Frankenstein walk movement by kicking your right leg straight out in front of you to a height that creates a 90-degree angle with your body.
  • Swing your left arm forward and touch the tips of your toes as your right foot reaches midair.
  • Repeat the movement with the opposite leg.
  • Continue the walk in this manner, alternating legs and arms.
  • Maintain a neutral back and an upright upper body throughout all the reps.

Recommended Reps: Repeat this exercise in a seamless “walking” fashion for several steps.

10. Wall Hold

This is an uncomplicated exercise, but an excellent test of your ability to maintain proper posture for squatting. It is also an excellent hip flexor stretch for day-to-day movement, keeping your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles in a straight line. All you need for this hip mobility exercise is a wall.

How to do the Wall Hold:

  • Take a standing position facing a wall.
  • Lean forward and place your hands shoulder-width on the wall.
  • Lift your right knee and foot toward the wall, and hold the position for 30 seconds.
  • Bring the right foot back to the starting position, and repeat the movement with the same leg, before switching to the left leg.

Recommended Reps:  Complete 2 sets of 10 reps per leg, with 30-sec. rests before starting a new set.

CONCLUSION

Tight hip flexors are probably the most common muscle imbalance in America.

According to, a survey by Ergotron the average American spends a full 13 hours of their day sitting down. With an average of 8 hours spent sleeping, the average American only dedicates about 3 hours a day to physical activity. All that sitting robs people of having a full range of motion and leads to problems, not the least of which is overly tight hip flexors.

While working on mobility and strength is essential for everyday life and working out,your overall health and immune system should not be overlooked.

For you to be healthy your body needs a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals and a healthy gut to perform at its optimal state.

That’s precisely what the STEEL Essential Stack is designed to do. It is formulated with ingredients backed by science to support healthy immune system function, promote overall health, and improve mental clarity and focus.