Hip mobility is crucial to the fitness athlete wanting to perform optimally. When working on mobility, we want long-standing improvements in mobility that also translates to improved performance. And that’s exactly what you’ll get with these eight hip mobility drills.
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Perhaps my favorite hip mobility drill of all time is 90/90 breathing as it teaches athletes to slightly posteriorly tilt the pelvis, which will allow for more hip mobility into flexion. This exercise also serves as a great step towards teaching proper bracing for heavier loads during squats, deadlifts, etc. I often find this exercise does a great job helping athletes rapidly improve their squat depth.
9090 Hip PAILS & RAILS
This drill has recently become a game-changer for many of the athletes I work with. Athletes have often only seen short term range of motion changes with the hip mobility drills they performed until they added these PAILS & RAILS.
This stretch targets the deepest hip muscles and capsule, two areas commonly forgotten and rapidly will open up your hip mobility, squat depth, and improve back pain.
When it comes to improving squat-specific hip mobility, there is NOTHING better than eccentric isometric goblet squats. By performing a slow negative (eccentric) and then pausing in the bottom (isometric), you get your nervous system owning proper positioning. By performing these with a goblet squat, you have the added assistance of the anterior weight, which often helps athletes squat a bit lower. Combine these two strategies, and you will unlock some serious hip mobility.
Band Pullover SLR
So often, athletes blame their hip mobility problems on tight hamstrings. But when I assess their hamstring flexibility, more often than not, their PASSIVE hamstring motion is good. They just lack the ability to actively move through their full range of motion. That is where the band pullover straight leg raise comes in. This exercise will help athletes activate their core and move their hamstring through its’ full available motion.
Hamstring PAILS & RAILS
Sometimes, passive hamstring flexibility is to blame, and we need to work on improving the tissues ability to elongate. BUT we don’t want to end up in the previous scenario where passive motion is good, but the athlete cannot actively use it. So my go-to drill for improving hamstring muscle flexibility is PAILS & RAILS.
Lunging Hip Flexor
By now, you’ve probably realized I’m not the biggest fan of passive mobility stretching, band distractions, or soft tissue tools. It isn’t that they are bad or worthless. But when they’re the only form of mobility an athlete performs we don’t often see significant progress long term.
When hip flexors need to be stretched, I prefer active stretching where the muscle is elongated, but the glutes and abs are still very engaged. This makes the lunging hip flexor one of my favorites as the hip flexor complex is stretched through the range of motion while the rest of the body is working hard. When performed correctly, this is much more difficult than it looks.
Hip Internal Rotation PAILs/RAILs
Hip Internal Rotation PAILs and RAILs do wonders for many athletes feel chronic stiffness in their hips. We often ignore the importance of hip internal rotation in mobility work. When limited, we’ll often see hip flexion and squat depth suffer.
Posterior Hip Capsule Stretch
Here is probably my favorite stretch for athletes feeling a pinching or pain in their hips during squats. The posterior capsule stretch hits the deep hip tissues if performed correctly. While many athletes like the commonly used pigeon stretch, once they try this variation they’ll feel its increased effectiveness.