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Hip Mobility Drills

Hip mobility issues are common regardless of your fitness level. Many active people have tight hips due to overuse of the involved muscle groups, while out of shape people have diminished ranges of motion due to inactivity and under-use.

Improved hip mobility

Hip Mobility

I recently made a sequence of hip mobility drills to address these issues in several of my clients. The exercises involved in these drills work the hips through their complete range of motion:

  • Internal Rotation,
  • External Rotation,
  • Flexion,
  • Extension,
  • Abduction,
  • and Adduction.
Hip mobility drills
Click to enlarge

These hip mobility drills are best performed after your warm up and before you get into the main part of your workout, particularly if you’re doing any kind of lower body exercise.

The hips respond really well to movement. You’ll see in the video that after the initial exercises to relax the hips through breathing, I move into dynamic movement and full use of range of motion in order to open up the hips. You’ve probably seen those old karate movies where they pull a guy’s legs apart with ropes in order to allow him to do the splits… Well don’t do that, it’s bogus!

Daily tasks that require the use of hips

  • Standing up
  • Walking
  • Picking things up
  • Climbing stairs

Basically, if you’re moving around at all, you’re likely using your hips. They are used so often without thought that they are taken for granted.

Reasons hips get tight

  • Under-use
  • Overuse
  • Sitting too much

Too much inactivity weakens the glutes, hamstrings, and other muscles that support movement in the hips. Your body will compensate for this by placing more stress on other areas of the body, like the lower back. Inactivity also leads to a stiffening of the overall joint, like an old door to the cellar or attic that doesn’t get opened very much.

On the flip side, constant use can also tighten up the hips. Running, bicycling, swimming, or any activity that requires repetitive motion of the hips can really cause those muscles at work there to harden. Over time, they become less and less elastic which impedes movement of the hip-joint.

Benefits of increased hip mobility

  • Reduced lower back pain
  • Increased physical power
  • Improved explosive movement like sprinting and leaping
  • Increased rotation strength

Through working to improve our hip mobility to a natural range of motion, before under-use or overuse occurs, you’ll discover improved performance in any activity that involves movement.

Foam Roll

After your workout, continue working on hip mobility, and foam roll the muscles that are all involved in the movement of your hips.

  • IT Band
  • Hamstrings
  • Piriformis
  • Glutes

I like the grid foam roller, but there are many options to choose from. Also, check out this previous post I published about using a foam roller.

Additional exercises that contribute to hip mobility

Exercises like squatting and lunging will help loosen up the hips over time. Don’t compromise form due to lack of hip mobility, but continue to challenge your range of motion. Just like any part of your body, the hips require constant upkeep. If you stop using them (or overuse them), you’ll lose your ability to move freely.

Go ahead and try the goblet squat and the lunge through for starters.

Do you have any questions about hip mobility or anything that you would like to add? Leave a comment below!

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