I tried this six-minute mobility routine to open up my hips and it provided immediate relief

One writer tries to undo the damage of her desk job using this simple stretching routine

Fitness writer Alice Porter performing a hip mobility stretch
(Image credit: Alice Porter)

I spend a lot of time sitting down, mostly at my desk. This means that when I get to the end of the working day, my hips often feel stiff.

Tight hips are not only uncomfortable but they can lead to other issues in the body, including lower-back pain. Spending a lot of time sitting down can also lead to a natural loss of flexibility and strength in the hips.

That's why I'm trying to dedicate some effort to working on my hip mobility, taking a little bit of time out of my day to stretch and mobilize.

Personal trainer Ella-Mae Rayner recently shared a stretching routine on Instagram designed to target the hips. It involves eight different hip stretches, each of which Rayner recommends moving through for 45 seconds.

I decided to try it at the start of my working day, to see if it made a difference. 

Watch Rayner's six-minute hip mobility routine

The routine involves a combination of dynamic and passive stretches. 

Dynamic stretches, such as the standing hip opener, involve moving in and out of a pose, making them great for strengthening your joints and improving your range of motion. Passive stretches, such as the frog squat, are a static hold and are ideal for lengthening muscles and improving flexibility, as well as supporting your range of motion, too.  

Fitness writer Alice Porter performing a hip mobility stretch

(Image credit: Alice Porter)

I am usually fairly flexible, but the DOMs (delayed-onset-muscle-soreness) I woke up with from a Barry's Bootcamp workout a few days before made these stretches harder than expected.

Despite my stiffness, I felt some immediate relief in my lower body particularly during the deep side lunge (also known as a Cossack squat) and the pigeon stretch. My muscles gradually relaxed and eventually, I found I could move deeper into the stretches. The full routine didn't take long and my hips felt looser and less achey.

After sitting down for a couple of hours, a dull ache and some stiffness returned—a sure sign I need to commit to a mobility routine like this regularly. 

Armed with this set of stretches, I decided to do a few of them again, which relieved some of the stiffness in my hips almost immediately. As I work a desk job, maintaining my hip health won’t come from one-off sessions but from long-term efforts. 

You don't need much to do these stretches, but a good exercise mat can support your joints. Have a look at our round-up of the best yoga mats, if you need some guidance

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.