5 Exercises for Hip Pain and Improving Mobility

Published June 18, 2019
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@type":"BlogPosting", "headline":"5 Exercises for Hip Pain and Improving Mobility", "datePublished":"June 18, 2019", "description":"Alleviate your hip pain and get back to living life to the fullest with these five exercises for hip pain.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/05/5-exercises-for-hip-pain-0192-thumbnail.jpg" }, } ] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What Causes Hip Pain?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">How Does Exercise Help with Hip Pain?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">Our Top 5 Exercises and Stretches for Fixing Hip Pain</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Want More Exercise Tips?</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p align="justify">Do your hips ache when you walk? Are you struggling to hit a deep squat or unable to follow along to Shakira’s music videos like you used to? </p> <p align="justify">Whatever your problems, tight, painful hips can drastically reduce your quality of life. Your hips help with nearly all movement, so keeping them healthy should be a top priority.</p> <p align="justify">What causes hip pain? A lot of things. If you have it, we can’t say for certain what’s causing yours. But we can show you five stretches and exercises for hip pain that you can do right in your living room. </p> <p align="justify">Try one or all of them. However fit or flexible you are, there’s a modification for you. </p> <p align="justify">See for yourself how stronger, more flexible hips make your workouts (and life) a little better.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hip-pain-diagram-0192.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hip-pain-diagram-0192.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hip-pain-diagram-0192.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hip-pain-diagram-LR-0192.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="hip-pain-diagram"> </picture> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"What Causes Hip Pain?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Your hips are one of the biggest, most important joints in your body. Helping you to walk, run, jump, and move from sitting to standing, you need healthy, strong hips to do pretty much anything.\n\nUnfortunately, lots of things can cause them to hurt. Sciatica, inflammation, and various forms of arthritis are some wide-ranging examples. If you’re experiencing hip pain, though, it’s probably safe to say you either have tight or weak hips or your hip pain will lead to tight or weak hips down the road.\n\nArthritis makes the joints feel stiff, but so does sitting too much, poor posture, and not exercising. While we can’t say with certainty what’s making your hips hurt, we do have some ideas that might help."}}]}</script> <h2>What Causes Hip Pain?</h2> <p align="justify">Your hips are one of the biggest, most important joints in your body. Helping you to walk, run, jump, and move from sitting to standing, you <i>need</i> healthy, strong hips to do pretty much anything.</p> <p align="justify">Unfortunately, lots of things can cause them to hurt. Sciatica, inflammation, and various forms of arthritis are some wide-ranging examples. If you’re experiencing hip pain, though, it’s probably safe to say you either <i>have</i> tight or weak hips or your hip pain will lead to tight or weak hips down the road. </p> <p align="justify">Arthritis makes the joints feel stiff, but so does <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-simple-chair-exercises-for-everyday-fitness/" rel="noreferrer">sitting too much</a>, poor posture, and not exercising. While we can’t say with certainty what’s making your hips hurt, we do have some ideas that might help.</p> <h3>(Our Lawyers Made Us Say This…)</h3> <p align="justify">If you’re dealing with tight hips or hip pain, as always, check with your doctor before trying these exercises or starting any exercise routine. </p> <p align="justify">We’ve helped thousands <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/introduction/warrior-made-tribe/" rel="noreferrer">transform their bodies</a> through healthy eating and effective home workouts, but we are not doctors and can’t diagnose any specific hip ailments.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"How Does Exercise Help with Hip Pain?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Tight muscles and weak joints lead to (or exacerbate) hip pain. Like fixing tight shoulders, exercising and stretching are two of the best things you can do.\n\nExercise—especially functional exercise— strengthens the muscles around your hip (hamstrings, glutes, lower back, abs). Strong muscles protect joints from arthritis and decrease the risk of injuries.\n\nStretching or mobilizing the muscles and joints around your hips makes it easier for you to squat, jump, or walk without pain. Think of stretching as ‘bullet-proofing’ the hip joint. Better range of motion leads to a pain-free—and better quality—life."}}]}</script> <h2>How Does Exercise Help with Hip Pain?</h2> <p align="justify">Tight muscles and weak joints lead to (or exacerbate) hip pain. Like <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/at-home-exercises-to-strengthen-your-shoulders/" rel="noreferrer">fixing tight shoulders</a>, exercising and stretching are two of the best things you can do<sup>1</sup>. </p> <p align="justify">Exercise—especially <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">functional exercise</a>— strengthens the muscles around your hip (<a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-3-best-hamstring-workouts/" rel="noreferrer">hamstrings</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus/" rel="noreferrer">glutes</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/top-5-exercises-to-strengthen-your-lower-back/" rel="noreferrer">lower back</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-best-lower-ab-exercises-you-can-do-at-home/" rel="noreferrer">abs</a>). Strong muscles protect joints from arthritis and decrease the risk of injuries.</p> <p align="justify">Stretching or mobilizing the muscles and joints around your hips makes it easier for you to squat, jump, or <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/10-reasons-why-walking-is-the-best-exercise" rel="noreferrer">walk</a> without pain. Think of stretching as ‘bullet-proofing’ the hip joint. Better range of motion leads to a pain-free—and better quality—life.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <h2>Our Top 5 Exercises and Stretches for Fixing Hip Pain</h2> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/couch-stretch-outside-woman-0192.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/couch-stretch-outside-woman-0192.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/couch-stretch-outside-woman-0192.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/couch-stretch-outside-woman-LR-0192.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="stretch-outside-woman"> </picture> <h3>1. Couch Stretch</h3> <p align="justify"><b>Equipment:</b> Couch and a pillow or mat.</p> <p align="justify">This stretch mobilizes your quads and hip flexors. Imagine the bottom of a lunge, and you’re 80 percent of the way there already.</p> <p align="justify">Place a pillow or soft mat on the floor in front of your couch. The pillow will take pressure off your knee. Place your back knee—the one that you’d drop down into a lunge—on the pillow and the top of your foot on the couch. The front knee is at a 90-degree angle in front of you. Keep your heel flat on the floor.</p> <p align="justify">Depending on how tight your hip is, your shin might not get close to vertical. That’s okay. Square both hips up to the wall in front of you, slightly leaning until you feel a stretch in your quads and hip flexors. </p> <p align="justify">Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then do the same thing on the other side.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/girl-stretching-against-wall-0192.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/girl-stretching-against-wall-0192.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/girl-stretching-against-wall-0192.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/girl-stretching-against-wall-LR-0192.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="girl-stretching-against-wall"> </picture> <h3>2. Wall-Assisted Hamstring Stretch</h3> <p align="justify"><b>Equipment:</b> A mat and a wall.</p> <p align="justify">Tight hamstrings pull your hips out of alignment, which may cause your hips to hurt.</p> <p align="justify">Stretching, especially your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-3-best-hamstring-workouts/" rel="noreferrer">hamstrings</a>, helps ‘bulletproof’ the hip joint, your knees, and your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/can-ketosis-reduce-inflammation/" rel="noreferrer">lower back</a>. The hamstrings are a large muscle, so doing this simple stretch a few times a week will get your hips back in alignment and hopefully reduce pain.</p> <p align="justify">The goal is to create a 90-degree ‘scissor’ angle between your legs: one lying flat on the floor, the other flat against the wall. Press your straightened leg into the wall with your knees locked.</p> <p align="justify">If your hamstrings are really tight, scoot your butt away from the wall and re-lock your knee at a distance that’s comfortable. Your legs will look like a sideways ‘V,’ which is still correct. Just make sure your knees stay locked. Otherwise, your hamstring won’t stretch.</p> <p align="justify">Slowly move your butt closer to the wall over time. If your leg feels tingly after about 45 seconds, that’s normal. Your blood is working against gravity. Switch sides if it gets uncomfortable.</p> <p align="justify">Hold for 60 seconds on each side, then repeat. Do it two times on each leg so your hamstrings really open up.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/one-leg-drink-bird-0192.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/one-leg-drink-bird-0192.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/one-leg-drink-bird-0192.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/one-leg-drink-bird-LR-0192.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="one-leg-drink-bird"> </picture> <h3>3. Single Leg Drinking Birds</h3> <p align="justify">‘Hinging’ movements like drinking birds strengthen the hips, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/top-5-exercises-to-strengthen-your-lower-back/" rel="noreferrer">lower back</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-3-best-hamstring-workouts/" rel="noreferrer">hamstrings</a>, and calves—basically everything you’d want in an exercise to prevent tight or weak hips.</p> <p align="justify">Place your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands behind your head. With 90 percent of your bodyweight in your heels, bring one straight leg behind you. Keep a tight, flat back. From your head to your straight back leg, everything should be in one straight line.</p> <p align="justify">When your hamstring gets tight, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus/" rel="noreferrer">squeeze your glutes</a> and return to where you started. Repeat on the other leg.</p> <p align="justify">We recommend the single leg variation here because increasing balance is another way to alleviate hip pain—a two-for-one deal for fixing hip pain. </p> <p align="justify">That said, start with regular <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/27-beginner-bodyweight-exercises-that-get-results/" rel="noreferrer">drinking birds</a> if you need to and work your way up. We break down drinking birds in <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZehrAhU0h4&t=321s" rel="noreferrer">this video</a>.</p> <p align="justify"><b>Try This Workout:</b> Do 3 sets of 10 single leg drinking birds on each leg (or 20 regular ones). Rest 1 to 2 minutes between sets. Do this 3 times per week. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/deep-squat-woman-in-living-room-0192.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/deep-squat-woman-in-living-room-0192.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/deep-squat-woman-in-living-room-0192.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/deep-squat-woman-in-living-room-LR-0192.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="deep-squat-woman"> </picture> <h3>4. Deep Squats</h3> <p align="justify">How low can you go? Go that low, and your hips will reap the benefits.</p> <p align="justify">Like drinking birds, a deep ‘parallel’ squat—where the crease of your hip is at your knees and your thighs are parallel to the floor—is another beneficial ‘double whammy’ for hip pain. Squats make the muscles around your hips stronger <i>and</i> increase the range of motion in your hip.</p> <p align="justify">Don’t be intimidated by the word ‘deep’ here if you can’t squat to parallel yet. Just go as low as you can without pain and build up over time.</p> <p align="justify">Use <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/introduction/warrior-made-tribe/" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made’s</a> guide to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/step-by-step-guide-on-how-to-do-perfect-squats" rel="noreferrer">perfect squats</a> to perfect the exercise, mix up your workouts with these <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-squat-variations-that-will-kick-your-butt" rel="noreferrer">killer squat variations</a>, or use a beginner movement like <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/27-beginner-bodyweight-exercises-that-get-results/" rel="noreferrer">bear squats</a>.</p> <p align="justify"><b>Try This Workout:</b> Do a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">high-intensity interval training</a> (HIIT) workout using squats or a squat variation. Do 8 sets of 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest. Count your total reps and try to beat your score next week.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hollow-hold-pose-0192.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hollow-hold-pose-0192.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hollow-hold-pose-0192.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hollow-hold-pose-LR-0192.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="hollow-hold-pose"> </picture> <h3>5. Hollow Holds</h3> <p align="justify">Your hips connect your upper and lower body muscles, so it makes sense that a strong core keeps your hips pain-free. A strong <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/top-5-exercises-to-strengthen-your-lower-back/" rel="noreferrer">lower back</a> and abs helps you stabilize, taking pressure off the joint.</p> <p align="justify">One of our favorite <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/best-core-workouts-for-men/" rel="noreferrer">core exercises for men</a>, hollow holds strengthen these stabilizing muscles. </p> <p align="justify">Practice them on your back, gluing your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-best-lower-ab-exercises-you-can-do-at-home/" rel="noreferrer">abs</a> to the floor and squeezing your glutes, or by holding a hollow during a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/plank-exercises-to-activate-your-core/" rel="noreferrer">plank</a> (or <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/plank-exercises-to-activate-your-core/" rel="noreferrer">kneeling plank</a> if you’re <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/27-beginner-bodyweight-exercises-that-get-results/" rel="noreferrer">a beginner</a>).</p> <p align="justify"><b>Try This Workout:</b> Finish each workout this week with one max effort plank hold. Whether you hold a perfect hollow for 10 seconds or 2 minutes, log your time so you can beat it when you repeat this next time.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>Want More Exercise Tips?</h2> <p align="justify">We hope these five exercises for hip pain help make you stronger, more flexible, get you back to living life to the fullest—whether that’s walking pain-free or dancing to Shakira’s music videos. </p> <p align="justify">If you liked these exercises, or like the idea of being able to get <i>real results</i> from your workouts right in your living room, check out our the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" rel="noreferrer">exercise section</a> of our blog. </p> <p align="justify">You’ll find things like weekly <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/workouts-05-22-19" rel="noreferrer">home workouts</a>, specific exercises for <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/best-core-workouts-for-men/" rel="noreferrer">men</a> and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/best-leg-exercises-for-women/" rel="noreferrer">women</a>, and step-by-step guides for perfecting <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/how-to-do-perfect-mountain-climbers" rel="noreferrer">functional exercises</a>. </p> <p align="justify">Start living pain-free and begin your total body transformation today!</p> <h3>Resources</h3> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/where-it-hurts/hip-pain/treatment/hip-exercise.php" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Exercises to Strengthen the Hip and Relieve Pain</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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