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How to Improve Hip Mobility

Do your knees constantly hurt or feel stiff? Does your low back pain never seem to go away? The solution may lie in a not-so-obvious place - your hips. 

You see our bodies are interwoven and connected and often pain in one area could be a symptom of an issue up or down your anatomical chain. Think about it, if your hips don’t move the way they should what has to compensate to make sure you can accomplish the movement you want? You guessed it - your knees, low back, or even ankles. 

Ideally, we can avoid pain in our knees and low back if our hips move as they should. This is why mobility, strength, and flexibility are important for not only our quality of movement but long-term health. 

Let’s look at a few exercises and stretches to begin your hip mobility journey:

Hip Mobility Routine:

A few things to note before we jump in. First, take these movements slowly, especially as you first begin. Mobility, just like building muscle, losing weight, or anything else worthwhile, takes time. Second, these movements should never be painful. They should feel similar to exercise - slight discomfort or a “burn” but not painful. If you feel a pinching sensation or sharp pain, stop doing that stretch and seek out a PT for more specific help. Lastly, these exercises can be performed as part of your exercise warm-up, cool down, or even on their own.

#1 Goblet Squats

Photo Credit: Emeric Harney

What is the king of all hip mobility tests you might ask? Well, it is the squat of course. There is probably not a more telling test to determine what someone’s hip mobility is like than a basic air squat. If there is only one movement you do - this is it. 

Begin this movement by grabbing a kettlebell, dumbbell, or really anything that can be used as a counterbalance (a gallon of milk could even work). Place your feet at hip-width apart with your toes pointed slightly out. Slowly lower yourself down and hold yourself as upright as possible in the bottom of the squat. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and then stand. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 3-5 reps. 

#2 Couch Stretch

Photo Credit: Emeric Harney

The couch stretch is great for stretching your hip flexors and quadriceps (or the front part of your upper leg). This stretch is especially great for anyone who sits often and for long periods of time throughout the day as sitting puts our hip flexors in a tightened position, which can lead to low back pain. 

To perform this stretch, first find a couch, chair, or bench at the gym. Next, get into a lunge position, however, instead of putting your rear foot on the ground, you want to elevate it onto the couch or other object you are using. You should feel a stretch in your quad and hip flexor in your rear leg. Focus on keeping your butt and core squeezed so that you don’t arch your low back. Hold this stretch for 30 to 60 seconds on each leg and repeat 2-3 times. 

#3 Pigeon Strech

Photo Credit: Emeric Harney

Don’t ask me how they named this one because I’ve never seen a pigeon look like this. However, I do know that this is a great stretch for your outer glute muscles. 

To get into the pigeon position, start in a lunge. Next, you want to drop your forward knee to where your foot was and your foot to the opposite side of your body. Begin to slide your rear foot back until your back leg is fully extended (or as far as you can go). The goal is to keep your forward leg in a 90-degree position - but don’t be discouraged if you aren’t there, it certainly takes time and each person’s anatomy is different. Sit for 30 to 60 seconds on each side and repeat 2-3 times. 

Wrap Up

Mobility and flexibility take time. You may not have considered this, but hydration plays a key role in mobility. Be sure you are hydrated - a great example of this is beef jerky and a raw ribeye steak. The jerky tears easily because it is dehydrated, whereas the ribeye can be pulled and twisted without tearing. This is an extreme example, but in the same way, make sure you are hydrated to help improve mobility and overall health. Check out our article on dehydration here for more information. 

We are here for you and want to see you crush all your goals from meal prep to mobility - you got this!


“How to Improve Hip Mobility and Flexibility for Athletes.” Idaho Sports Medicine Institute, 6 May 2022, for-athletes/. 

Long, Dr. Zach. “The 8 Best Drills to Unlock Your Hip Mobility.” The Barbell Physio, 

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