Strengthen your hips in under 10 minutes with these three simple moves

Three mobility exercises for stronger, pain-free hip flexors

Woman leaning against a piano in front room and stretching out her leg to the side
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hip flexors play an important role in balance and posture. They work with your glutes and other muscles around the midline to stabilize your spine, and they also come into play whenever you walk or run. 

Sitting down for long periods can cause these muscles to weaken and shorten, which can lead to lower back pain and difficulty walking. To try and combat this, it's important to strengthen and stretch the muscles in the area. 

I'm a personal trainer, but even I'm guilty of spending too much time at my desk. I created this three-move mobility workout to help me (and you!) improve our hip muscle strength in under ten minutes. 

All you need for this session is three weights (if you don’t have weights you could use milk cartons—you just need a few objects to lift your leg over), a chair for balance, and a low table or step. 

Watch the video below to see my demonstrations or scroll down for step-by-step explainers.

How to do the three-move hip mobility workout

Move one

  • Position three weights in a semi circle to the right of you on the floor, with a distance of about 10cm between each.  
  • Kneel down beside the weights but don't rest on your heels. Maintain an upright upper body, so your thighs and torso are in a straight line. 
  • Bring your right leg to the outside of weight furthest to your right and hold onto a chair or sturdy surface with your left hand for balance.
  • Bring your foot over each weight one by one, tapping on the floor. When you get to the end change direction and repeat. 

Move two

  • Kneel down in front of a low surface (like a coffee table), keeping your thighs and torso upright. 
  • Hold a challenging weight over your head, with arms fully extended. This forces your core to work harder to stabilize during this move. You can use a dumbbell, but any heavy household object will do. 
  • Bring your left foot up onto the table, tap it, then bring it back down. Repeat for 30 seconds then swap legs. 

Move three

  • Place two weights about 10cm apart in the center of a low table in front of you. Stand in front of the table with feet together and arms out for balance. 
  • Maintaining a straight leg, bring your right heel up to the table and put your heel to the left of the first weight. 
  • Tap your heel over the top of the weight and onto the table, then over the second weight.   
  • Change direction and repeat the movement. Repeat for 30 seconds then swap sides. 

 Try doing this circuit three times, which should take about nine minutes.

Why is hip strength important?

The hip flexor muscles are essential for movement as we use them every time we stand or take a step—and they are also crucial for stability, balance and posture. That’s why it’s so important to do regular mobility work to improve and maintain hip muscle strength.

Having weak hips causes a lack of full range of motion—basically how far you can move or stretch a body part—which can then lead to muscular imbalances

And here’s the thing: if you have knee or back pain, shin splints or even plantar fasciitis, weak hips could be to blame. If these muscles are weak, the body has to compensate and use nearby muscles to support movement, which over time can cause pain from overuse or repetitive stress injuries. Plus as we age, healthy hip flexors are essential for injury reduction and flexibility to do basic tasks like getting up from a chair or into a car.

If you're looking for more workouts to improve your mobility and strength, try these beginner yoga stretches or have a go at this full-body dumbbell workout. 

Maddy Biddulph

Maddy Biddulph is a freelance journalist specializing in fitness, health and wellbeing content. With 26 years in consumer media, she has worked as a writer and editor for some of the bestselling newspapers, magazines and websites in the US and UK. 

She is also a qualified L3 personal trainer and weight loss advisor, and helps women over 40 navigate menopause by improving their physical and mental strength. At Maddy Biddulph Personal Training, she runs one-to-one and small group training for menopausal women who want to get fit to ease symptoms and feel like themselves again.