3 Hip Mobility Exercises to Build Hip Strength and Function

Motion

Active mobility training is life-changing.

LIFE CHANGING.

In my experience, most people are going to notice the most significant improvements from dedicated mobility training in the hip and shoulder region.  

Getting the shoulders and hips working nice, pain-free, strong, and supple is a good goal for ANYONE.

And I know saying that sounds really broad, but a body that works nicely without pain during movement is ideal.  

Today’s post shares 3 hip mobility exercises that can wake up your hips and make them feel great.  

I preach to play the long game with fitness.  Whether you’re pursuing a body transformation, performance gains, or general health improvement, it’s going to take time.

Nothing long-lasting happens overnight with fitness and movement.  

It’s a process.

But after “blowing the dust” off of your hip musculature with a few good work sets of active mobility work, your hips will likely feel amazing.

“Amazing” = buttery, mobile, alive, awake, workable, etc.

The basic premise of active mobility training is to increase range of motion (progressively) and establish full CONTROL over that range of motion.

We accomplish this using a variety of isometric holds and dynamic movements. 

Conditioning the hips, a ball-and-socket joint with a really robust potential for movement in many directions, to perform tasks beyond lifts like deadlifts, squats, and lunges is ESSENTIAL.  

Deadlifts, squats, and lunges are all great exercises to include in a workout regimen.  

No question.

My YouTube channel is loaded with variations of each of those movement patterns.

But, from a joint articulation perspective, these exercises only scratch the surface.

Your hips can do more.  Way more.  Mobility training can help retrain your body to access this movement.  

Don’t interpret my message as a call to stop lifting weights.   but rather an encouragement to deliver nourishment to your joints in the form of active mobility training.   

Dedicated mobility training can help mitigate injury while boosting movement performance. 

Building strong hips is can be made simple, and these 3 hip strengthening exercises will help to improve your hip control and strength.

90/90 Knee to Heel

Touch the knee to the heel.  

Position the hands in front and outside the lead leg, using your arms to prevent any contorting of the body.

While moving the leg, hover the knee an inch or two above the floor while the foot lightly glides.  Keep the floor pressure as soft as possible.

After touching the knee to the heel, drive the leg away from the heel as far back as possible.  

Squeeze the glute hard and PUSH!

Keep the torso calm throughout the drill.

Aim for 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps per side.

 

90/90 Heel to Heel

Same idea here, except right before the knee touches the heel, articulate the hip and lift the knee upward.  

Guide the trailing foot heel to contact the down leg heel.

Some people might refer to this as a “heel click”.  

Call it whatever pleases you, just make sure you try it. 

Lightly touch heels without losing body position before reversing the range of motion and reaching back.

On the reach back, SQUEEZE your ass cheek HARD.  REACH!!!

Aim for 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps per side.

90/90 Around the World

I wasn’t sure how to name this movement, “around the world” seemed fitting.

Perform the same knee to the heel, upward lift into the heel to heel, but return to the leg to the start position by extending at the knee and swooping the leg back into extension (with a subtle rotational articulation).

All of the hip mobility shared will burn up the muscles to some degree, but this exercise will really set them ablaze.

Again, do your best to keep the upper body calm.  Avoid excessive leaning or other compensations.

Stay strict, make the hips do the work.

Aim for 3-5 sets of 8-10 reps per side.

How to Make These Hip Mobility Exercises Harder

Slow down and increase the time under tension.

Test your ownership over the movement by moving slower.  Try moving at a 3-count or 5-count pace.  Add pauses when you find weak points and GRIND!

Add ankle weights.  

Wearing 2-5lb ankle weights load will make each of these hip mobility variations significantly more difficult.

Especially on the 90/90 “around the world” variation.  Your face will begin to melt onto your neck.  

A 5lb ankle weight will feel like 25lbs when your leg is at full extension.  🔥 

A simple pair of ankle weights serve a valuable purpose with mobility training, and if you didn’t find the bodyweight variations difficult, take a shot of whiskey because adding weight is going to increase the intensity quickly.  

Consistently practicing active mobility drills helped me make gains with my lifts.   

I fought the idea for years and talk about it frequently on this blog and in the description section of my YouTube videos. 

Deadlifts clean up.  Squats clean up.  Overhead movements clean up.  

I couldn’t touch the dragon squats for months.  It got to a point where I wasn’t even sure my bony structure would allow me to perform a full range dragon squat.  Ha.  Regressions provided limited improvements.  

 

My hips didn’t understand they could move into those “extreme” ranges without compromising safety.  Our bodies are equipped with amazing safety features. 

So I turned my attention to ramping up the mobility work (along with dragon squat regressions), and whammo… depth achieved.  

I prefer these Valeo ankle weights that are adjustable from 5lbs to 20lbs.  

For Best Results

Give every work-set full attention and focus and don’t let your mind wander during the exercise.  

Center yourself, and stay in the moment.  

Expect these drills to be humbling.  Moving the hips like this will light up the muscles different than any traditional exercise. 

You can expect soreness in the days afterward. 

One workout is not enough to make forever change.  Mobility, just like strength, requires ongoing TLC.  

Patience.  

It took a while to arrive at your current state, it’s going to take some time to reverse it. 

Give the body time to adapt to the stress to make room for the next bout of stress.

Related Posts and Resources:

14 Exercise Total Body Warm-Up Routine

Home Gym Workouts! 31 Exercises to Stay Fit and Other Fitness Things

The Weighted Lizard Crawl

MyMobilityDaily (best streaming mobility training program)

Home Workouts! Bodyweight Flow to Challenge Balance, Mobility and Endurance

Motion

Bodyweight training can (and probably should) be the foundation of any home workout.

No matter where you go, what equipment is or isn’t available, bodyweight based exercise is a card that can be ALWAYS be played.

There many ways to design and organize a bodyweight workout.  

Varying the tempo, joint range of motion, training on one leg, changing levels, balancing, transitions between exercises are all ways to keep bodyweight training fresh and effective.

Today’s workout is non-traditional, imagine that. 

If Yoga, locomotion, and calisthenics got together, partied and made a baby, this flow would be the result.

Flow training is like a more dynamic form of Yoga.  

I find myself sharing a lot of slow-tempo movements and flow sequences on YouTube and Instagram.  

Subconsciously, it might be a knee-jerk reaction to counterbalance all of the high-intensity training videos out there.  

Removing momentum from movements can reveal strengths and weaknesses with regard to what positions and motions you own versus what you don’t.  

Here’s the bodyweight flow:

This flow is designed to be mirrored on the right and left side and can be performed as a warm-up or as the workout itself.  Changing legs on the single-leg squat will keep you alternating sides. 

If you choose to use it as a workout, set a timer and keep working for the duration non-stop.  

Aim for 20 minutes.  If you get 20 minutes, go to 25 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.  

You’ll be exhausted (in a positive way) moving like this for long periods, and it might be an eye-opening shift away from high-intensity training.  

Muscles will fatigue and heart rate will elevate, even though you’re moving slow and steady.  

This flow is low-impact on the joints but does require a decent amount of joint mobility. 

Focus on momentum free movement.  

Especially with the modified hip CARs (controlled articular rotations).  Do your best to ONLY articulate the hip joint without changing posture to do so.  Obviously, in the video, I’m moving elsewhere but the goal is to keep the movement at the hip.

CARs are incredible for joint health, especially the hips which are supposed super mobile, but oftentimes aren’t.

Most people lack mobility at key joints like the hip, which forces other joints to try and pick up the slack, but so commonly ends up creating greater issues (aches, pains, injury).  

MyDailyMobility.com is a really good follow along resource to keep up with daily mobility work.  The guys upload new workouts all the time.  Last time I checked they had 5 months’ worth of workouts for customers.

Similar to resistance training (muscle) and cardio (endurance), mobility must be practiced consistently for maintenance and improvement.

Use it or lose it.

[You can see me lose balance returning to the single-leg stance.  I could have reshot the video and uploaded a perfect rep, but I decided to keep the original because this flow will test your balance.]

After the single-leg deadlift (Warrior 3 to the Yoga peeps) descending to the floor gracefully is the next order of business.  While this flow is controlled, learning how to fall is a skill people could really benefit from, especially older folks.  

Lowering down to the floor stress your pushing muscles and core.  You’re basically hitting the brakes on the way down, and stepping on the gas to stand back up.  

Lastly, expect the final move to make you cramp at the hips.  It’s aggressive.  Squat down, lift the hovering leg as high as possible and REACH.  

Find the floor, transition through the middle and get deep into the Cossack squat.  

Flow completed.  

Stand up and start over.  

Movement sequences like this are perfect for a home workout.  

No equipment is needed, it’s just bodyweight, balance, expressing strength and mobility while flowing into and out of various body positions.  

🤔 Want to make this flow harder?  Add a weight vest,slow down the tempo ever more or speed up the tempo and move quicker.  

👉 Make sure to check out more M(EAUX)TION fitness content on Instagram and YouTube.