If you’re reading this, you probably have tight hips. Actually, if you’re not reading this you probably have tight hips and should be reading it. Many of us have tight hips, often as a result of sitting down for most of our waking hours. Your hip flexors also work hard when you run or perform leg exercises, and they often have to compensate for a weak core as well, which adds an extra burden on top of sedentary lifestyles.
A little stretching can work wonders, however, so we turned to Cody Mooney, director of performance for the mobility and recovery app pliability (formerly ROMWOD).
“I often find that hips are one of the tightest areas for most people,” says Mooney. “With desk jobs resulting in sitting down most of the day, practising mobility flows and exercises is a great way to help loosen and stretch out any tightness, allowing you to move more freely.”
You can use any of the five moves below whenever you have a few minutes to stretch, or put them together for a full hip mobility routine.
Cody Mooney is the director of performance for the mobility and recovery app pliability. Cody started doing CrossFit when he was 15, and became a coach at his local gym at 16. After deciding to pursue a career in CrossFit, he became a two-time CrossFit Games athlete in 2019, and was part of the second fittest team in the world.
The Best Mobility Exercise For Your Hips
1 Dragon pose
Time 20-30sec Reps 2-3 each side
From standing, take a small step forwards into a lunge. Reach up with both hands and push your hips forwards. While keeping your core tight, lean forwards. You will feel the stretch in your hip flexors. Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat at least two to three times on each side.
2 Couch stretch
Time 1-2min Reps 1 each side
Stand next to a couch, facing away from it. Bend your left knee and place it on the floor, as close to the couch as you can – your left foot and shin will rest against the couch. Keeping your hands on the floor for support, step your right foot forwards so your right knee is bent at approximately 90°, with your ankle directly below your knee.
Keeping your core engaged, lift your hands off the floor, raise your torso and place your hands on your hips. Press your left hip forwards, squeezing your glutes and bracing your core, making sure not to arch your back.
3 Seated straddle
Time 1-2min Reps 1
Sit on the floor and extend your legs to the sides as wide as you can. Reach forwards with your arms and torso. Hold this position, breathing deeply, and reaching further to increase the stretch each time you exhale.
4 Pigeon pose
Time 1-2min Reps 1 each side
From a high plank position bring your left knee forwards and your left foot across to your right side. Your left lower leg should end up pointing to three o’clock, resting on the floor. Lower your rear knee to the floor and lift your torso, squaring your hips to the front. Next, lower your torso into a forward bend over your leg. Push your chest to your knee for 10 seconds then release. Continue doing this for one to two minutes. Repeat on the other side.
5 Child’s pose
Time 30-60sec Reps 1
Kneel on the floor with your toes together and your knees hip-width apart. Rest your palms on top of your thighs. Lower your torso between your knees, exhaling as you go. Extend your arms alongside your torso with your palms facing down. Relax your shoulders.
More Mobility Sessions
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.