7 Hip Exercises You Should Be Doing to Increase Mobility

by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

Hip pain is a common issue and can be extremely painful, making it hard to sleep, walk, move, or even just sit in certain positions. This makes hip exercises incredibly beneficial in helping prevent and manage hip mobility.

In today’s modern society, sedentary jobs park our butts in chairs all day, traffic keeps us seated in the driver’s seat, and lounging on couches watching Netflix all night has us sitting down. This means that many of us are dealing with tight hips, hamstrings, and a weak core. Luckily, it’s easy to add some hip exercises into your routine to start loosening things up a bit and increasing hip mobility.

Disclaimer: Speak with your doctor before engaging in any exercise program to ensure you are healthy enough to do so and do not have any issues that could worsen through the exercises found in this article.

10 Best Hip Exercises That Can Increase Your Mobility

If you want to improve your mobility and increase the range of motion in your hips, start with these 10 hip exercises:

1.      Frankenstein Walk

This is an excellent exercise for improving overall hip flexibility. The name comes from the fact that Frankenstein would move in slow, jerky motions — just like this exercise.

How to do this hip exercise:

  • To perform it, stand on one leg with your hands on your hips or at chest height. If you need some help staying balanced, hold onto something stable like a desk or countertop.
  • Then extend one leg behind you as far as possible without letting your knee drop below 90 degrees.
  • Slowly bring it back down and repeat with the other leg.
  • Repeat this movement 20 times on each side or until fatigue sets in (whichever comes first).

2.      Double-Banded Pull Through

This exercise hits the glutes and hamstrings hard while also working the lower back. It’s a great way to strengthen and warm up your lower body before doing any other exercises.

How to do this hip exercise:

  • Position yourself on your knees with a band looped around each foot and anchored under a sturdy object like a bench or chair.
  • Grab the handles at either end of the band with both hands, then pull them towards you until your torso is parallel to the floor.
  • Slowly return to starting position, making sure to keep tension on the bands throughout the movement.

3.      Hip Circle

The hip circle is a great hip exercise for improving hip mobility. It can be used to address a deficiency in external rotation or abduction.

How to do this hip exercise:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift your pelvis up off the floor, contracting your glutes to lift.
  • Make a complete circle with one leg at a time, going all the way around to return to the center. Do 10 reps on each side.

4.      Deadlift

Deadlifts are a great hip exercise to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. It will also help you build the muscles in your upper body that support your spine.

How to do this hip exercise:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart in front of a barbell loaded with weight plates.
  • Bend at the knees and hips while keeping your back straight to lower down until you’re over the barbell.
  • Grab the barbell with an overhand grip that’s slightly wider than shoulder width. Your arms should be straight but not locked out at this point.
  • Lift up by pushing through your heels until you’re standing again without locking out your legs.
  • Slowly lower the weight back down in the same motion as to how you started by dragging the bar in front of your shins and repeat by pushing back up.

5.      Bridges

Bridges are a great exercise to strengthen the glutes, hamstrings, and back.

How to do this hip exercise:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip-width apart.
  • Lift your hips off the floor as high as you can, keeping your back straight.
  • Hold for one to two seconds before lowering down.
  • This move should be done for 10 repetitions.

6.      Straight Leg Raise

The straight leg raise is one of the most common exercises for hip and groin mobility. It’s simple to do and can be performed anywhere, but it will require a little practice to perfect the movement.

 How to do this hip exercise:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift one leg, so your knee is at a 90-degree angle with your thigh, hips, and shoulders all in line.
  • Slowly lower the leg down until it touches the floor, then repeat with the other leg.

7.      Bulgarian Split Squat

This hip exercise is a great way to activate your posterior chain. The Bulgarian split squat is one of the best exercises you can do if you want to improve your squat.

How to do this hip exercise:

  • Stand in front of a bench or box and place your rear foot on it.
  • Lower yourself down as far as possible, putting the weight on the leg that’s in contact with the ground.
  • Ensure the leg in contact with the ground hits parallel with the ground or deeper.
  • Then push yourself back up.