Whether you’re an athlete or a stay at home mom, hip mobility is critical. This is especially true as we get older.
Keeping your hips loose not only lets you walk or run correctly, but it also reduces your risk of pain. Because your hips coordinate between your upper and lower body, tight hips can cause knee and lower back pain.
This happens because your back and knees have to compensate for the lack of range of motions in your hips. As a result, they have to twist, tilt or turn into irregular positions.
Tight hips are a result of different things.
One of the most common reasons is inactivity and sitting for long periods of time. This included working at your desk, driving or commuting and crossing your legs.
To help loosen your hips and avoid any pain associated with it, here are the best hip mobility exercises for flexibility.
Best Hip Mobility Exercises for Flexibility and Lower Back Pain Relief
1. Hip Flexor Stretch
This is the simplest drill of all. It is however very effective. Essentially, this stretch reverses some of the effects of sitting down all day where your legs are drawn towards your body.
We recommend getting a foam pad or a folded towel to rest your knee on.
How to Do Hip Flexor Stretches
- Kneel on the floor in lung position. Place the foam pad under the knee that’s down on the ground.
- Keeping a straight back, slowly lean forward. This will give your hip flexor a good stretch.
2. 90/90 Hip Switch Drill
If you see someone doing with exercise in the gym, you’ll think they’re crazy. Sure, it may look silly. But it’s very effective in mobilizing your hips.
The 90/90 hip switch drill is a great way to get both internal and external hip rotation in one exercise. The key is to do it slowly and methodically, not in a hurried motion. The latter can get you hurt.
How to Perform the 90/90 Hip Switch Drill
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent in front of you.
- Bring your arms up to your chest and extend then forward.
- Use your arms and upper body to gently turn your legs towards the right side. This will externally rotate your right hip and internally rotate the left one.
- Come back to the middle.
- Then, turn towards the left side.
- Repeat the movement going from right to left and left to right for 8 to 10 times.
3. Quadruped Rock Back
This is an excellent drill for hip flexion and mobility. It lets you move your hips without any pressure on it. The key to doing rock backs is to make small, gentle movements as opposed to jerking ones.
How to Perform Quadruped Rock Backs
- Get on all fours.
- Position your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your knees slightly wider than hip width.
- With a neutral spine, slowly rock back and forth with your hips.
4. Adductor Rock Back
This kneeling mobility focuses on opening your hips while doing the movement. This allows it to experience more of a stretch in the groin and adductor.
It is similar to the quadruped rock back. But, allows you to emphasize each hip separately.
How to Do the Adductor Rock Back
- Get on all fours.
- Extend your right leg out to the side. This will put your foot slightly behind your butt.
- Gently rock forward and backward.
5. Spiderman with Thoracic Stretch
This superhero named drill not only helps open up your hips but also your chest. The extra thoracic rotation gives your upper back a nice stretch while allowing it to move.
How to Do Spidermans with Thoracic Stretch
- Get on a push position.
- Bring your right leg forward to your side.
- Lift your right arm up to the ceiling by rotating your upper back.
- Bring your arm down and do the same with the left arm.
- Pull your right leg back.
- Do the same with your left leg.
- Repeat for 5 to 10 times.
6. Figure 4 Hip Stretch
This is a static stretch that opens up your hips. As a bonus, it’s great for lower back pain relief as well.
You’ll be doing this movement lying on the floor against a wall. This position reduces the stress on the lower back, and it keeps your supporting leg stable.
How to Perform the Figure 4 Hip Stretch
- Lie on the floor with your feet towards a wall.
- Lift both feet up and place them against the wall. Your legs should be at a 90-degree angle at the knees.
- Bring the right foot over your left knee. This is like a figure 4 done when you’re seated on a chair. The only difference is you’re in a lying position.
- Draw your bent right knee towards the wall. You can also use your hand to push it gently. But don’t overdo it.
- Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds.
- Do the same for the other leg.
7. Fire Hydrants & Quadruped Hip Rotations
This is a mobility drill that puts a twist on the traditional fire hydrants. It adds more motion so that you’re able to move your hips in all angles and not just towards the sides.
How to Perform Fire Hydrants with Hip Rotations
- Get on all fours.
- Keep your hands on the floor with your arms extended shoulder-width apart.
- Raise your left knee to the side. The goal is to get it up to hip level. Don’t try to jerk it up when doing the movement. Instead, lift and lower slowly.
- From the top position, rotate your hip in a circle. Go clockwise first. Then counterclockwise.
- Do 5-10 circles each.
- Lower the leg and repeat with the right leg.