Undo the Damage of All-Day Sitting With These 3 Hip Mobility Exercises

Boost your hip mobility and flexibility with these three handy exercises. Hip tightness and lower back pain will become a thing of the past
3 mins read
3 hip mobility exercises

The hip joints connect our spines to our lower body. For this reason, these joints are very strong and sturdy. But as a result of their role in providing us with stability, they often become very tight and immobile.

Immobile hip joints are problematic for tons of different people. One example that is easy to imagine is the athlete. Athletes who have limited hip mobility are at high risk for injury. Think about it: if a running athlete can move their hips very far in any direction, they won’t be able to maintain a proper gait and they are likely to be outpaced by their competitors. The same goes for many other athletes in many different sports.

Also, immobile hips can affect those who don’t participate in athletic pursuits. Office workers and those who sit a lot may have very tight hips, especially their hip flexors. When the hip flexors aren’t as mobile as they should be, people are limited in their ability to move throughout their day. Plus, tight hips can predispose individuals to back pain and other orthopedic issues.

3 hip mobility exercises and stretches

Last, but not least, we should consider older individuals with tight hips. People in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and beyond may not have great flexibility in their hip region. The stresses of a long life tend to present in painful and problematic ways as we get older. While these individuals may need modifications to fit their individual mobility goals and needs, they should still be sure to participate in a regular stretching program, just like all the other populations mentioned above. 

By performing regular stretches, you can keep the hips loose and functional. In this post, we’ll focus on three key stretches for your hips, low back, and lower body in general. Specifically, I’ll outline a few stretches for novices, experienced stretchers, and elite gymgoers.

Novice Stretch: Three-Way Straight Leg Raise

The three-way straight leg raise hits many of the major muscles of the lower body, such as the hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, and inner thighs. These muscles are tight on many people and beginners should focus on these before moving on to more complex, difficult stretches. 

How to Perform

  • Lie on your back to start.
  • Slowly, lift your left leg as high as you can, keeping your knee straight.
  • Once you’ve reached the highest point you can, hold for 10 seconds, then return the leg to the ground. 
  • Repeat this pattern for 3 sets of 10 reps per side.
  • Next, roll onto your right side and perform the same movement, lifting your leg up and to the side.
  • Complete 3 sets of 10 reps per side in this position.
  • Last but not least, roll onto your stomach and perform leg lifts with holds.
  • Complete 3 sets of 10 reps per side in this position.
  • Perform this exercise at least 3 times per week.

Experienced Stretch: Deep Squat

The squat is one of the most fundamental human movements there is. We squat when we sit, stand, use the bathroom, and for many different daily tasks. Therefore, using this movement as a stretching and strengthening exercise can be massively helpful for increasing health and well-being.

How to Perform

  • In standing, position your feet about hip-width apart.
  • Bend your knees and push your hips back, squatting down as deep as you can.
  • Remember to keep your back straight and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 10 times per session.
  • Complete this exercise at least 3 times per week.

Elite Stretch: Half-Pigeon Pose

Half-pigeon is a mainstay of many yoga routines. This move helps to open the hips and stretch out the piriformis. But make no mistake: this is a deep, difficult stretch. So, be careful before you try this one!

How to Perform

  • Start in a pushup position.
  • Tuck your right knee to your chest.
  • As you do so, turn your right foot to the left and your right knee to the right.
  • Place your leg on the ground in this position. 
  • Slowly lower yourself down into a deep stretch.
  • Hold for 1 minute and repeat 3 times on each side per session.
  • Repeat this routine 3 or more times per week.


It doesn’t take much to loosen up tight hips. By simply performing some basic stretches each week, you can take a great step toward increasing your hip and overall body mobility.

If you are looking for a way to increase flexibility and your ability to navigate your world, start with this routine. Over time, you might begin to add in more exercise and stretching, taking your mobility to the next level.

Works Cited

  1. Reiman MP, Matheson JW. Restricted hip mobility: clinical suggestions for self-mobilization and muscle re-education. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2013 Oct;8(5):729-40. PMID: 24175151; PMCID: PMC3811738.

Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS

Bennett Richardson, based in Pittsburgh, PA, is a dedicated physical therapist and writer. Certified as a strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) since 2014, he holds a BS in exercise science and a doctorate in physical therapy, both from Slippery Rock University. Beyond his professional pursuits, Bennett enjoys leisurely reading and staying active.

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