Why Hip Mobility Is a Must Have


Why Hip Mobility Is a Must Have

Janey Levinson is a licensed Physical Therapist based in Boston. Her passion lies in empowering patients of all ages to reach their goals. Learn more about Janey

Hip mobility plays a crucial role in improving workout performance, but that’s far from the only reason to add hip mobility exercises to your fitness routine. Having tight or stiff hips doesn’t just keep you from crushing your workouts—hip mobility can affect every type of movement, including walking and even sitting down at your desk to work. Stretching out your hips is a great way to start. The Sculpt Society trainers recommend adding active hip mobility exercises to your routine to increase flexibility and improve strength. And trust me, hip mobility stretches pay off—improved hip mobility can take stress off your joints, help maintain proper posture and alignment, prevent injuries, and even reduce back pain. Read on for my go-to hip mobility exercises, including which TSS workouts are most helpful for improving your range of motion.

Your hip joint is a ball and socket joint, where your thigh bone (ball, or head of the femur) meets your pelvis (socket, or acetabulum). The hip joint is surrounded by muscles, ligaments, and tendons, all of which aid with stability and flexibility. Hip mobility refers to how well your hip joint can move through its full range of motion, without causing you any pain or discomfort.

What is hip mobility?

Hip mobility exercises are critical to ensuring a wide range of motion (that can improve every type of workout), including:

  • Flexion: lifting your leg
  • Extension: moving your leg backward
  • Abduction: moving your leg sideways away from the body
  • Adduction: moving your leg toward the body
  • Internal rotation: turning your leg inward
  • External rotation: turning your leg outward
  • A combination of these movements, so your legs can move more freely

Stiff hips can seriously limit your physical activity—in everything from walking and running to strength training, dance cardio, and progressing in your workouts—so I would recommend adding hip mobility stretches to your exercise routine, ASAP!

Why are hip mobility exercises so important to do during different stages throughout your life?

Getting older

As we age, we experience natural wear and tear on our joints and decreased elasticity in muscles, limiting hip flexibility. Moving less often can also lead to increased stiffness in the joints and tightness in the surrounding muscles, causing you to experience pain in your hips. Your posture may also get worse, and good hip mobility helps with pelvic and spinal alignment. When your hips are more mobile, your body doesn't need to compensate with more movement elsewhere— removing stress from your lower back and knees.

Pregnancy + postpartum 

In addition to getting older, hip mobility exercises are important to do during pregnancy. Hormonal fluctuations, such as Relaxin, during pregnancy can cause your ligaments to relax and stretch as your pelvis widens. Changes to your body can cause postural changes resulting in increased pressure on the hips and low back. You’ll need to safely stretch and strengthen your hips to increase flexibility and stability. Maintaining hip mobility can also help safely prepare the body for delivery. After delivery, lifting and carrying your baby can be hard on your joints and lead to muscle imbalances. Prolonged sitting while breastfeeding can also cause stiffness and tightness in the hips. For all of these reasons, it’s important to keep up with your hip mobility exercises during pregnancy.

What are some of the benefits of hip mobility stretches?

Properly stretching out your hips activates your muscles and benefits your body in so many ways. Hip mobility exercises do all of the following: 

  • Help prevent injuries 
  • Promote good posture 
  • Decrease pain in the back and lower body
  • Improve workout performance  

Which The Sculpt Society workouts offer the best hip mobility exercises?

The Sculpt Society sculpt workouts and stretching + yoga classes all help loosen tight hips and increase mobility. Check out the following workouts to enhance hip flexibility and motion:

Stretching: Start here! Hip mobility stretches help lengthen the muscles surrounding the hip, improving flexibility and decreasing tightness.

Core workouts: Stabilize and support the pelvis through planks, bridges, leg raises and more. 

Prenatal and postpartum workouts: Safely move your body and maintain strength and flexibility, both during and after pregnancy.

The Sculpt Society also incorporates hip mobility in all of the suggested workout programs and challenges – members especially love the Cross Training for Runners program when they want to increase their strength and flexibility.

Bonus: 4 hip mobility exercises to try!

Hips feeling tight? Try these go-to hip mobility stretches.

  • Figure 4 stretch: This hip mobility exercise stretches the piriformis muscle and other hip rotators. To begin, you can either lie down on a yoga mat or sit at the edge of a chair. Place your right ankle over your left knee, forming a “4” shape. If you’re lying down, grab the back of your left thigh and pull it gently into your chest. If you’re sitting up, gently hinge forward from your hips until you feel a stretch in your glutes.
  • 90-90 hip internal and external rotation stretch: Begin this hip mobility exercise in a seated position, placing one leg in front of you and bending your knee and lower leg to the ground at a ninety-degree angle and one leg at your side with your knee bent to a ninety-degree angle. Next, rotate one hip internally, while externally rotating the other. This exercise can help improve hip joint flexibility, strength, and mobility.
  • ½ kneeling hip flexor stretch with pelvic tilt: Start in a half-kneeling position with your right knee on the floor and your left foot flat on the ground (placing it in front of you at a ninety-degree angle). Square your hips and face forward, then begin engaging your core muscles. Tuck your pelvis under and flatten your lower back to enhance the stretch in your hip flexor. Gently begin to push your hips forward—you’ll feel a stretch in your right hip and thigh.
  • Hip CARS: Hip controlled articular rotations (or CARS) can be done in standing or in quadruped (on your hands and knees). Hip CARS is one of the best exercises for improving joint mobility. Begin by getting on your hands and knees, then open your knee out, keeping your foot in alignment with the knee. Follow up by internally rotating your hip as you pull your knee up behind you and back against your chest. You also can do this in standing which is beneficial for your balance!

Take it from Shakira herself, the hips don’t lie…and hip mobility exercises are so important for everyone, at any stage of working out, to help prevent injuries and continue to up your performance and stamina. So take some time out of your busy schedule today to squeeze in those hip mobility stretches—your joints and muscles will thank you.


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Why Hip Mobility Is a Must Have

Why Hip Mobility Is a Must Have

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