5 Hip Mobility Exercises to Restore Function to Sore Hips

// 5 Hip Mobility Exercises to Help Restore Function to Your Sore Hips

Above all, If you lift heavy, hard, and often, the likelihood is that your poor old hips take a battering. Of course, a little soreness and stiffness comes with the territory, and you need a certain level of carefully dosed training stress paired with adequate rest to prompt adaptation and obtain the results you seek.

However, it’s all too easy for your hips to lock up, causing pain and discomfort, limiting your range of motion, and inhibiting performance. Here are 5 hip mobility exercises I learned from my Waterman 2.0 co-author Dr. Kelly Starrett, co-founder of The Ready State. Put them into action (just a few minutes a day is all you’ll need to make change) and start sorting out your hips.

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Hip Mobility Exercise #1: Hip Capsule External Rotation
  1. Kneel on the ground and move most of your weight onto your left knee, positioning it directly under your hip
  2. Lower your hips toward your left side, keeping your weight over your left knee. Picture attempting to pop the head of your femur out the side of your butt.
  3. Keeping your weight over your left leg and pushing your hips to the left side, crawl forward a little and emphasize the tissues at the front of your hip capsule
  4. Switch sides
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Hip Mobility Exercise #2: Side Hip Smash
  1. Lie on the ground and place a lacrosse ball, mini Supernova or other small ball by your left hip
  2. Turn onto your left side and prop yourself up on your left elbow as you move the soft tissues just behind your left hip onto the ball
  3. Slowly roll back and forth across the ball
  4. Switch sides
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Hip Mobility Exercise #3: Couch Stretch
  1. Kneel in front of a wall, a plyo box or, as the name suggests, your couch
  2. Place your left shin flat against the wall, box or couch and turn your foot slightly inward
  3. Your right foot should be straight and flat on the floor in front of you
  4. Push your left hip toward the ground, squeezing your butt as you do so
  5. Try moving into the corners by tilting your torso slightly to the outside or inside of your  back leg
  6. After a minute or 2, put your left hand into a “sprinter’s start” position (making a bridge with your thumb and forefinger on the floor) and push your torso halfway upright
  7. Repeat step #4
  8. After another minute or 2, push through your right foot, remove your left hand from the floor and move your torso into an upright position. Try to squeeze your glutes. If you find yourself losing your balance, place a box, weight bench or something else to the side of you to hold on to. 
  9. Switch sides
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Hip Mobility Exercise #4: Single Leg Flexion with External Rotation
  1. Get into a lunge position with your right leg behind you and your left foot straight and plated on the floor 
  2. Next, push your left knee outward and toward the floor as you flatten your back
  3. You can keep progressing until the outside of your left knee is almost touching the ground. To bias the lateral hip, lean your torso more to the outside and vice versa to emphasize the medial side.
  4. Switch sides
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Hip Mobility Exercise #5: Hip Capsule Internal Rotation
  1. Kneel on the floor and move your weight onto your left knee, ensuring your knee is under your hip. Place a kettlebell on the inside of your left foot.
  2. Hook your left foot around the kettlebell, keeping most of your weight over the left knee
  3. Drop your hips back and toward your left side
  4. Keeping most of your weight over the left knee and lowering your left hip toward the ground, crawl forward a little to emphasize the front of the hip capsule
  5. Switch sides

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