How to Increase Hip Mobility in 3 Steps

Authors: Christopher Ioannou | Updated on: February 7, 2024
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Stretching alone is not enough to solve hip mobility issues. There are four factors to consider:

1. Pelvis position
2. Core stability
3. Movement patterns
4. Genetics

Let's address each one of them.

1. Anterior Pelvic Tilt

The position of the pelvis is directly connected to hip function.

A forward rotation of the pelvis, known as anterior pelvic tilt, can restrict hip mobility by up to 31% [1].

Anterior Pelvic Tilt Decreases Hip Mobility


  • Sit Less: Prolonged sitting can tighten the hip flexors, pulling the pelvis forward. If sitting for extended periods is unavoidable, regular hip flexor stretching can help.

  • Wear Flat Shoes: Zero-drop barefoot shoes are recommended as they don’t raise the heels and change the posture of the body and position of the pelvis.

  • Build core stability: The core muscles attach directly to the pelvis, playing a crucial role in maintaining its neutral position.

2. Core Stability

Core stability also has a more direct influence on hip mobility.

Take the act of bending over to pick something up, as an example.

One can generally employ two strategies:

1. Without core stability.

Unstable and Rounded  Spine During the Deadlift

An unstable spine tends to buckle and hinge during the lift, taking some of the mobility away from the hips.

2. With core stability

Stable and Straight Spine During the Deadlift

A stable spine enables the hips to act as the primary hinge point for bending and completing tasks.

In this way, spine stability can indirectly facilitate greater hip mobility.

The scientific evidence supports this notion. A study found that participants increased their hip mobility between 10 and 18% in just six weeks, through core stability work alone – without any stretching [2].


  • Belly Bracing : A popular technique used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts to stabilize their spine during exercise.

Belly Bracing Technique
  • Core Exercises: The Curl-Up, Side Bridge, and Bird Dog exercises, known collectively as “The McGill Big Three,” are exercises engineered to improve core stability.

Mcgill Big Three Core Exercises

Learn the belly bracing technique, the Mcgill Big Three Core exercises and how to move correctly through the hips in the Power Glutes Course.

3. Hip Mobility Drills

A regular hip mobility routine is another vital part of improving range of motion in the hips.

In modern living, everything is raised to make life more convenient. Years can go by without putting the body below these raised objects.

Different Chair Sitting Scenarios

The consequence is that the joints then stiffen up because they aren't often challenged through a wide range of motion.

Consider the difference between sitting on a chair versus sitting in a squat.

Hip Range of Motion in a Squat Vs Sitting on a Chair

Chair sitting usually requires about 90 degrees of hip flexion, while a deep squat demands about 30% more hip range of motion [3].

Fundamentally, a mobility exercise is one that challenges the body’s joints through a wide range of motion.

Therefore, the simple act of ditching the chair and sitting lower to the ground in a squat position can be considered a mobility exercise.


Spend time on the ground, exploring the positions that challenge the full range of motion of the hips.

Here are four poses to try.

1. Half Lotus

The first pose is the half lotus, targeting hip external rotation.

Half Lotus hip mobility stretch

The trick is to switch legs periodically, but if one side feels tighter, spend more time on that side.

2. 90/90 Pose

The second position is the 90/90 pose, excellent for hip internal rotation on one side while simultaneously capturing external rotation on the other.

90:90 Hip Mobility Stretch

3. Kneeling Lunge

The kneeling lunge focuses on full hip flexion in one leg at a time.

Kneeling Lunge Hip Mobility Stretch

4. Hip Flexor Stretch

Hip Flexor Stretch - Beginner

From the kneeling lunge, extend the upright leg and lean back onto the hands for a stretch in the front of the hip.

The back foot should be tucked under the bum, not sticking out.

Hip Flexor Stretch Mistake

The stretch can be intensified by lowering onto the elbows, and eventually lying flat.

Hip Flexor Stretch   Advanced

Feeling tension down the quad is normal; these are your hip flexors, which often tighten from excessive sitting.

The general rule of thumb is to spend at least one minute in this stretch for every hour spent sitting.

As a side note, stretching the hip flexors can also help activate the glutes [4].

We conducted a 5-day experiment with friends and family to demonstrate this.

By alternating between these four poses, the range-of-motion in the hips can be fully challenged.

With daily practice, one can expect to see a steady improvement in hip mobility over time.

4. Hip Anatomy

Some individuals may find it difficult to achieve a wide range of hip motion even after implementing the above strategies.

This could be due to genetic differences in hip socket depth. [5].

Deep Vs Shallow Hip Joints

Having shallower hip sockets naturally allows for a wider range of motion, a trait commonly seen in gymnasts who can do the splits and Olympic weightlifters with a deep squat.

On the other hand, deeper hip joints have limited mobility but offer more power for upright movements such as sprinting, jumping, or rotational actions.

It’s crucial to acknowledge and embrace our individual anatomy while striving to optimize it.

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Christopher Ioannou

BSc (Hons) Sports & Exercise Science

Founder of Barefoot Strength

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