Blog Fitness 11 Hip Mobility Exercises To Perform When You’ve Been Sitting All Day

11 Hip Mobility Exercises To Perform When You’ve Been Sitting All Day

Many of us are sitting for longer periods now more than ever—each workday, parked in front of a screen, each moment of leisure often involving some form of sedentary activity. And when we’re not sitting, we’ve got our head down looking at smartphones or slouched in some form of casual position.

Even those who maintain a moderately active lifestyle may feel the effects of prolonged sitting. They may experience stiffness, reduced range of motion, or even discomfort around the hip and lower back areas.

Hip mobility refers to the flexibility and range of motion in and around the hip joints. It determines how smoothly and safely we can move, affecting everything from our walking gait to our ability to perform athletic movements.

Here are the causes behind decreased hip mobility and exercises specifically designed to address and improve this condition, helping you to move more freely and without discomfort.

What Causes Poor Hip Mobility?

Poor hip mobility is almost always caused by a lack of movement, combined with poor posture. Our bodies are designed to move in certain ways, and when we spend most of our days sitting or slouching, stiffness and issues ensue.

Some muscles become overactive, while others become weak and tight. These imbalances lead to limited range of motion and reduced flexibility in the hip joints.

Let’s take a look at some common causes of poor hip mobility:

Sitting Too Long

The hip flexors are a group of muscles that run along the front of the hip. They are responsible for lifting your thigh toward your torso and play a crucial role in walking, running, and other lower body movements.

When we sit for extended periods, these muscles remain in a shortened position, becoming tight and stiff (12). Over time, this can lead to a decreased range of motion and discomfort around the hips.

Repetitive Movement

Ironically, too little movement can cause stiffness and limited mobility, but so can repetitive movements. If your daily routine involves doing the same motions over and over again, you may develop muscle imbalances that affect your hip mobility (3).

For example, runners engage in the same repetitive motion of swinging their legs back and forth, and this may lead to tight hip flexors and possibly an imbalance between the strength of their hamstrings and quadriceps.  Cycling may have a similar effect; just think about how your hips are fixed in a certain position throughout the entire ride.

Weak Glutes

The gluteal muscles, which include the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, are responsible for hip extension, rotation, and abduction. They also play a significant role in stabilizing the pelvis during movement. When these muscles are weak, the hip flexors may become tight and overactive to compensate for their lack of strength (2). This can lead to decreased mobility and even pain in the hips and lower back.

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Weak muscles don’t just happen; they are a result of inactivity and lack of proper strength training. If you’re not properly engaging your glutes through exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts, they may become weak and affect your hip mobility.

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Poor Posture

As mentioned earlier, poor posture is a significant contributor to decreased hip mobility. When we sit or stand with rounded shoulders and a slouched spine, it affects our entire body’s alignment, including the hips (14).

Poor posture can cause tightness in the hip flexors, hamstrings, and lower back muscles, while weakening the glutes and core. This imbalance leads to limited mobility and can also contribute to discomfort or pain in the hips and lower back.

Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries are common among athletes and active individuals who engage in repetitive, high-impact activities. These injuries can affect the hip joints and surrounding muscles, leading to decreased mobility and discomfort (11).

hip mobility exercises  

How Do You Unlock Tight Hips?

First, you identify the signs, determine what’s causing your tight hips, and then you can take steps to address it. The following signs may indicate tight hips:

Aches, Pains, or Discomfort

A dull, nagging ache in the hip area or sharp pains when moving may be signs of tight hips. Usually, this discomfort is felt in the front of the hip or lower back. It may also radiate down the leg, confusing some people into thinking it’s a leg or knee issue.

In extreme cases, you may experience tenderness, swelling or bruising at the hip area. These are signs of more severe issues and should be addressed by a medical professional.

Limited Range of Motion

If you find yourself struggling to perform basic movements like squatting, lunging, or even walking without discomfort, your hip mobility may be compromised. You may also notice stiffness or resistance when trying to move your legs in different directions (11).

Poor Posture

Another sign of tight hips is poor posture. When your hip flexors are tight, they can pull on your lower back and tilt your pelvis forward, causing you to slouch or hunch over. This posture also puts pressure on the spine and can lead to pain in the lower back (14).

The anterior pelvic tilt, which is characterized by a protruding stomach and curvature in the lower spine, is a common result of tight hip flexors.

Altered Gait

When your hips are tight, it can affect the way you walk or run. You may notice yourself taking shorter strides or favoring one leg over the other. This altered gait can be due to discomfort or stiffness in the hip joints.

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A common sign of tight hips is also a lack of glute activation during movements like walking or running. This means that your hip flexors are taking over and not allowing your glutes to do their job, leading to poor movement patterns and possibly pain.

More Frequent Injuries

Tight hips can also make you more prone to injuries, especially in the lower body. When your range of motion is limited, you may unintentionally compensate by overusing other muscles or putting too much strain on certain joints (11). This can lead to strains, sprains, and even tears in the muscles and tendons surrounding the hip area.

Read more: Thigh Workout Guide: 7 Effective Exercises for Building Leg Strength

Can Hip Mobility Be Fixed?

Hip mobility can be fixed; often through dynamic hip mobility exercises but sometimes through more targeted treatment plans. Depending on the cause of your tight hips, you may need to incorporate a combination of stretching, strengthening, and lifestyle modifications to see improvement.  


Stretching is an essential component of improving hip mobility. It helps to release tension and tightness in the muscles and improve range of motion (7). Some effective stretches for increasing hip mobility include:

90/90 Hip Stretch

The 90/90 Hip Stretch originates from Physical Therapy practices, designed to improve mobility in hip flexion and rotation by putting them in a challenging, yet manageable, stretch position. 

This stretch specifically targets the piriformis muscle, part of the gluteal muscles, and the iliopsoas, which is the primary hip flexor muscle. Engaging in this stretch helps combat tight hip flexors by encouraging a deeper range of motion and alleviating tension in these critical areas.

Steps to perform the 90/90 Hip Stretch:

  1. Sit on the floor and position your legs at 90-degree angles: One leg in front of you outside ankle and knee against floor and the other leg to the side with inner ankle and knee against the floor.
  2. Keep your chest upright and slowly lean forward into the front leg, maintaining a straight back.
  3. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.

hip mobility exercises  

Standing Piriformis Stretch

The Standing Piriformis Stretch targets the piriformis muscle located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint. This stretch is crucial for individuals with tight hip flexors because the piriformis muscle can contribute to tightness in the surrounding hip area, affecting overall mobility.

Steps to perform the Standing Piriformis Stretch:

  1. Stand and cross one leg over the other leg’s knee, creating a figure-4 shape.
  2. Slowly bend the supporting leg into a squat, keeping the spine straight and chest lifted.
  3. Apply gentle pressure on the crossed leg’s knee to deepen the stretch.
  4. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds before switching legs.

Hip CARS (Controlled Articular Rotations)

Hip CARS are part of the Functional Range Conditioning system, created to improve joint health and mobility. This exercise engages multiple muscles around the hip joint, including the hip flexors, by guiding the hip through its full range of motion. This combats tight hip flexors by encouraging fluidity and reducing stiffness in the joint.

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Steps to perform Hip CARS:

  1. Stand next to a stable support such as a wall to balance yourself.
  2. In a slow controlled motion, lift one knee up to hip level and then externally rotate the hip, moving the knee outward.
  3. Sweep the leg back, keeping the knee raised, engaging the glute muscles as you move into hip extension.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position, reversing the motion.
  5. Perform this rotation slowly for 5-10 repetitions before switching legs.

Lying Figure-Four Stretch

The Lying Figure-Four Stretch is derived from both yoga practices and physical therapy; it specifically targets the piriformis muscle and the gluteal region, which are crucial for hip movement and stability. 

This stretch helps in alleviating lower back pain, a common symptom associated with tight hips.

Steps to perform the Lying Figure-Four Stretch:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee, creating the figure-four shape.
  3. Gently pull the uncrossed leg towards your chest until you feel a stretch in the hip of the crossed leg.
  4. Hold the position for 20-30 seconds, keeping your back flat and head rested on the ground.
  5. Release slowly and switch legs to repeat the stretch on the other hip.

Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch

The Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch is foundational in sports medicine and rehabilitation, targeting the iliopsoas and quadriceps muscles. These muscles are often tight in people who sit for prolonged periods or engage in repetitive movements like running. This stretch aids in elongating the hip flexor muscles, thereby reducing tightness and improving flexibility and range of motion.

Steps to perform the Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch:

  1. Begin in a standing position and step one foot forward into a lunge, keeping the back leg straight.
  2. Lower your hips towards the ground until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip on the back leg.
  3. For a deeper stretch, raise the arm (on the same side as the back leg) over your head, and slightly lean to the opposite side.
  4. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Pigeon Pose

Originating in yoga, the Pigeon Pose primarily targets the hip flexors, piriformis, and gluteal muscles, making it an essential stretch for addressing tight hip flexors. This pose is highly effective in opening up the hip joint, increasing flexibility, and relieving tension and stiffness.

Steps to perform the Pigeon Pose:

  1. Start in a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the ground.
  2. Bring one knee forward, placing the knee and lower leg on the floor towards the hand on the same side. Extend the other leg behind you, keeping the hip facing downward.
  3. Gradually lower your torso forward, deepening the stretch, and rest your forearms on the ground for support.
  4. Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds, focusing on relaxing the hip muscles to increase the stretch.
  5. Carefully exit the pose and switch sides to repeat with the opposite leg.
See also
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Our chair yoga hip openers article details hip mobility routines for those with limited mobility.

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Strengthening Exercises

Weak glutes and core muscles can contribute to tight hips. Therefore, incorporating exercises that target these muscle groups can help improve your hip mobility over time (5). Unlike stretching that focuses on lengthening muscles, strengthening exercises involve activating and building muscle strength:

Glute Bridges

Glute Bridges are a fundamental exercise for anyone looking to strengthen their lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, which in turn can help relieve tight hips. This exercise promotes pelvic stability and encourages proper posture, essential for improving dynamic hip mobility exercises (4).

Steps to perform Glute Bridges:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
  2. Push through your heels to lift your hips towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.
  3. Pause at the top for a couple of seconds before slowly lowering your hips back to the starting position.
  4. Perform 10-15 repetitions, focusing on maintaining a stable core throughout the exercise.


Clamshells target the gluteus medius, which play a crucial role in hip stabilization (9). This exercise is perfect as a hip mobility exercise for beginners, as it can be done without any equipment and is relatively simple to learn.

Steps to perform Clamshells:

  1. Lie on your side with your hips and knees bent at a 45-degree angle, one leg stacked on the other.
  2. Keeping your feet together, raise the upper knee as high as possible without shifting your hips.
  3. Pause at the top, then slowly return your knee to the starting position.
  4. Complete 10-15 repetitions on one side before switching to the other side.

We’ve discussed advanced mobility routines in our hip-strengthening exercises for runners blog.

Side Planks with Hip Dips

Side Planks with Hip Dips not only target the obliques and core but also actively stretches the deep hip muscles, making them an excellent choice for hip mobility exercises for athletes. This variation adds dynamic movement to improve hip flexibility and strength.

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Steps to perform Side Planks with Hip Dips:

  1. Begin in a side plank position, with your elbow directly under your shoulder and legs extended.
  2. Lower your hips towards the floor, then raise them back to the original plank position.
  3. Perform 10-15 dips on one side before switching to the opposite side.

hip mobility exercises  


Deadlifts are a powerful exercise for strengthening not just the glutes and hamstrings, but also the lower back. 

Steps to perform Deadlifts:

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, a barbell in front of your shins.
  2. Bend at your hips and knees, grabbing the barbell with a shoulder-width grip.
  3. Keep your back in a neutral position, and push through your heels while thrusting your hips forward to stand up, lifting the barbell.
  4. Lower the bar to the ground by bending at the hips, maintaining a strong back.
  5. Perform 5-10 repetitions, focusing on form over speed.


Squats are versatile exercises that primarily target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. They are an integral part of hip mobility exercises and gym routines are essential for enhancing athletic performance. Squats also offer a great way to improve flexibility and strength in the hip flexors when done correctly  (8) (1).

Steps to perform Squats:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward.
  2. Bend your knees and hips to lower your body as if sitting back into a chair, aiming to get your thighs parallel to the floor.
  3. Ensure your knees stay in line with your toes.
  4. Press through your heels to return to the starting position.
  5. Perform 10-20 repetitions, maintaining a straight back and engaged core throughout the movement.

Read more: Fire Up Your Muscles With Effective Resistance Bands Leg Workout

Do Hip Mobility Exercises Work?

Hip mobility exercises work by targeting the muscles in and around the hip joint to increase flexibility, strength, and range of motion. Regularly incorporating these exercises into your fitness routine can help improve overall hip mobility over time. However, it is essential to perform these exercises with proper form and technique for optimal results.

Additionally, if you have any pre-existing injuries or conditions that may affect your hips, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine. They can provide personalized recommendations and modifications to ensure the exercises are safe and effective for you.

Interested in losing that stubborn hip fat? We’ve discussed this in detail in our how to lose hip fat blog.

hip mobility exercises  


  • What Are 3 Simple Ways To Increase Your Hip Mobility?

You can increase hip mobility by; stretching, strengthening your muscles, and making lifestyle adjustments (13).

Stretching refers to the movements that aim to lengthen muscles and increase flexibility, while strengthening exercises target specific muscle groups to improve stability, power, and range of motion .

Lifestyle adjustments can include maintaining good posture, avoiding prolonged sitting or standing, and incorporating low-impact activities like swimming or cycling into your routine.

  • What Limits Hip Mobility?

Underactive or overactive muscles, poor posture, and injuries can limit hip mobility (13).

Underused muscles are weak and tight, resulting in decreased flexibility and range of motion. On the other hand, overactive muscles can cause tightness and discomfort, limiting hip mobility. 

Poor posture can also lead to imbalances in muscle engagement and affect hip mobility. Injuries or conditions such as arthritis or bursitis can also impact hip mobility.

  • Can a Weak Hip Be Fixed?

A  weak hip can be fixed by regularly performing targeted exercises to strengthen the muscles around the hip joint. It is essential to identify which specific muscle groups need attention and work on improving their strength and flexibility (10).

Consulting with a healthcare professional or certified trainer can also help create a personalized plan to address your weak hip and improve overall hip mobility.

  • How Quickly Can You Improve Hip Mobility?

Improving hip mobility may take a few months, depending on the current state of your hips and the consistency of your exercises.

Consistently performing hip mobility exercises at least three times a week, combined with proper nutrition and rest, can help speed up the process. However, it is essential to listen to your body and not push too hard, as overexertion can lead to injuries or setbacks in progress.

The Bottom Line

Hip mobility exercises are crucial for overall health and athletic performance. By incorporating them into your fitness routine and making necessary lifestyle adjustments, you can improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion in your hips. However, it is essential to listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or pre-existing conditions.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. A Comparison Between the Squat and the Deadlift for Lower Body Strength and Power Training (2020,
  3. Balancing Act: Muscle Imbalance Effects on Musculoskeletal Injuries (2022,
  5. Effect of Hip Muscle Strengthening Exercises on Pain and Disability in Patients with Non-Specific Low Back Pain—A Systematic Review (2023,
  6. Improvements in hip flexibility do not transfer to mobility in functional movement patterns (2913,
  7. Hip joint range of motion improvements using three different interventions (2012,
  8. Hip and Knee Kinetics During a Back Squat and Deadlift (2021,
  9. Hip Muscle Activity During 3 Side-Lying Hip-Strengthening Exercises in Distance Runners (2012,
  10. Hip Strengthening PROTOCOL (n,d,
  11. Is lower hip range of motion a risk factor for groin pain in athletes? A systematic review with clinical applications  (2017,
  12. Prolonged sitting and physical inactivity are associated with limited hip extension: A cross-sectional study (2021,
  14. The effect of pelvic tilt and cam on hip range of motion in young elite skiers and nonathletes (2018,


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