Last month, we wrote about the benefits of mobilising the shoulders, as a prerequisite for sports performance and general fitness. In this months post, we will explore our largest joint structure – the hip – and how maintaining and improving hip mobility should be a staple addition to almost every workout you do.
At EVO, we believe that hip mobility is one of the foundations for injury-free movement. While isolated stretching may help in the short term, we advocate using joint rotations that are progressively loaded to achieve optimal hip mobility. With this in mind, we have chosen 5 of our favourite hip mobility exercises for you to incorporate into your gym workouts and home exercise program.
The following hip mobility exercises will progressively increase range of motion and load through the hip joints. They are best performed as part of a warm up, but can also be performed any time you need to increase mobility. If your hips feel stiff after training, you can also perform these exercises as part of a structured cool down.
Lie on your back with knees bent. Place one ankle on the opposite knee allowing the hip to open. Keeping the pelvis stable, slowly move the knee towards the opposite shoulder and back. Feel the movement at the front of the hip joint, as it opens and closes. Repeat 20 times and switch sides.
Lie on your back with knees bent, as before. Place the right leg over the left thigh and allow it to hang there. With the left foot, take a small step to the right, so the foot is in line with the right hip. Allow the left leg to slowly rotate to the right and back to the centre. Feel the movement (and stretch) in the left outer hip, but do not over-stretch. Repeat 20 times and switch sides.
Lie on your back with legs straight. Lift one leg so the knee and hip is bent to 90 degrees. Keeping the pelvis stable, start to rotate the knee. Perform 10 rotations clockwise and 10 rotations anti-clockwise, before switching legs. Aim to use as much of your range of motion as feels comfortable; if your hamstring flexibility is good, you can perform this exercise with a straight leg.
Assume a deep squat position – if this is challenging, you can balance on your toes, or hold onto a stable object for balance. Begin the movement by turning your right knee inwards – aim to touch the floor in front of your left foot. Feel the right hip turning inwards. Return to the middle, and repeat on the other leg. Perform 10 rotations each side.
Assume a lunge position, with the right leg forwards and left knee on the floor. Hold onto an object for balance, if necessary. Gently rock forwards and backwards a few times, opening up the front of the left hip. Now slide the left foot inwards, so it rests behind the right foot. Perform a few more rocks. The. Slide the foot outwards and repeat. In each case, notice how this small change on hip rotation opens up the front of the hip. Repeat on the other leg.