Hip Stretches

Written by Tele Demetrious, Physiotherapist, BPhysio(Hons)
Reviewed by Brett Harrop, APA Sports Physiotherapist, BPhysio(Hons), MPhysio(Sports Physio)
Updated:

Exercises > Flexibility > Hip Stretches

The following hip stretches are designed to restore movement to the hip and improve flexibility of muscles crossing the hip. If you are injured, you should discuss the suitability of these hip stretches with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them. Generally, they should be performed 3 times daily provided they do not cause or increase pain:


Hip Stretches – Basic Exercises

Hip Flexion

Take your knee to your chest as far as possible pain-free (figure 1). Repeat 10 – 20 times.

Hip Stretches - Hip Flexion

Figure 1 – Hip Flexion

Hip Abduction

Keeping your knee straight, take your leg to the side as far as possible pain-free. Keep your knee cap and toes facing the ceiling (figure 2). Repeat 10 – 20 times.

Hip Stretches - Hip Abduction

Figure 2 – Hip Abduction

Hip External Rotation

Begin with your knee bent and foot flat on the floor. Take your knee to the side as far as possible pain-free (figure 3) . Repeat 10 – 20 times.

Hip Stretches - External Rotation

Figure 3 – Hip External Rotation

Hip Extension in Lying

Begin lying on your back, with your buttocks at the very edge of a bench or bed. Take one knee towards your chest as far as possible, letting the other leg drop down towards the floor (figure 4). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.

Hip Stretches - Extension in Lying

Figure 4 – Hip Extension in Lying (right leg)


Hip Stretches – Advanced Exercises

Gluteal Stretch

Lying on your back, using your hands, take your knee towards your opposite shoulder until you feel a stretch in the buttocks or front of your hip (Figure 5). Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.

Hip Stretches - Gluteal Stretch

Figure 5 – Gluteal Stretch

Adductor Stretch

Standing tall, back straight, place your feet approximately twice shoulder width apart. Gently lunge to one side, keeping your other knee straight, until you feel a stretch in the groin of your straight leg (figure 6). Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.

Hip Stretches - Adductor Stretch

Figure 6 – Adductor Stretch (left leg)

Psoas Stretch

Begin in the lunge position, with the leg to be stretched behind you. Keeping your back straight and buttock muscles contracted, gently lunge forwards until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip (figure 7) . Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.

Hip Exercises - Psoas Stretch

Figure 7 – Psoas Stretch (right leg)


Hip Stretches – Less Common Exercises

ITB Stretch

Cross the leg to be stretched behind your other leg, taking it as far as you comfortably can. Then push your hips to the side of your leg to be stretched until you feel a stretch in your outer thigh / hip (figure 8). Keep your back straight. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.

Hip Exercises - ITB stretch

Figure 8 – ITB Stretch (left leg)

Prone Gluteal Stretch

Begin this stretch on your hands and knees. Place the leg to be stretched under your stomach / chest, with your knee in front of your hips and your foot to the side as demonstrated (figure 9). Gently lower your upper body onto your leg, keeping your back leg straight, until you feel a stretch in the buttocks. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.

Hip Stretches - Gluteal stretch (Prone)

Figure 9 – Prone Gluteal Stretch (right leg)

Long Sitting Gluteal Stretch

Begin sitting on the floor with both legs in front of you. Place your foot of the leg to be stretched on the other side of your straight leg as demonstrated (figure 10). Keeping your back straight, pull the leg to be stretched towards your chest, until you feel a stretch in the buttocks. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.

Hip Exercise - Gluteal Stretch (Long sitting)

Figure 10 – Long Sitting Gluteal Stretch (left leg)

Hip Internal Rotation Stretch

Begin lying on your back, feet on the floor and twice shoulder width apart. Gently bring your knees towards each other, until you feel a stretch in your hips (figure 11). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.

Hip Stretches - Internal Rotation

Figure 11 – Hip Internal Rotation Stretch

Quadriceps Stretch

Use a chair or table for balance. Take your heel towards your bottom, keeping your knees together and your back straight until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh (figure 12). Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.

Hip Exercises - Quadriceps Stretch

Figure 12 – Quadriceps Stretch

Hamstring Stretch

Place your foot on a step or chair. Keep your knee and back straight, lean forward at your hips until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh / knee (figure 13). Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.

Hip Exercises - Hamstring Stretch

Figure 13 – Hamstring Stretch


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