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Due to today’s way of life, most people spend a good part of their day sitting, thus shortening their hip flexor muscles, which then leads to:

  • decreasing stride length
  • bad running form
  • injuries

To avoid all these problems, you should do hip mobility exercises.

In this article, I will show you all hip mobility exercises for runners I personally do before more intensive training or races.

Hip Mobility Exercises For Runners

What is hip mobility?

Hip mobility is the ability to achieve the maximum range of motion of the entire muscle group around the hip joints. The more flexible the surrounding muscles and tendons, the more mobile the hips are. The ability to have a wide range of motion will reduce the risk of injury.

Straight leg swings

Hip mobility exercises for runners

1. Straight leg swings

Straight leg swings are one of the hip mobility exercises that improve the mobility of hip flexors and extensors. They also activate the nervous system, which prepares you for a faster run.

Straight leg swings

How to properly do straight leg swings?

  1. Stand next to your support (fence, tree, bench…) and hold it for balance during the exercise.
  2. Swing the left leg, stretched in the knee, forwards then backward, standing fully on the right foot as you swing.

Do 10-15 reps, then repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.

Tips for properly doing straight leg swings

  • Make sure you have enough space so that you can perform the full range of motion smoothly.
  • Maintain your posture – keep your body straight, do not bend your back or turn your hips.
  • Control your movements – avoid swinging your leg too high and avoid performing the exercise too quickly.

2. Side leg swings

Side leg swings are one of the hip mobility exercises that improve the mobility of the hip adductors and abductors. These are the muscle groups used to move your leg toward or away from the midline of your body.

Straight leg swings

How to properly do side leg swings?

  1. Stand in front of your support (fence, tree, bench…) and hold it for balance during the exercise.
  2. Swing the left leg, stretched in the knee, to the left and then to the right, standing fully on the right foot as you swing.

Do 10-15 reps, then repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.

Tips for properly doing side leg swings

  • Make sure you have enough space so that you can perform the full range of motion smoothly.
  • Maintain your posture – keep your body straight and do not bend your back.
  • Control your movements – avoid swinging your leg too high and avoid performing the exercise too quickly.

3. Standing knee to chest

Standing knee to chest is one of the hip mobility exercises that improve hip mobility while increasing the flexibility of the glutes and the hamstrings.

Standing knee to chest

How to properly do standing knee to chest?

  1. Begin by standing with your feet hip-distance apart, look straight ahead, and keep your upper body straight.
  2. Raise the left knee to the chest, standing fully on the right foot.
  3. Grab the raised knee with both hands, pulling it closer to the chest. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds.
  4. Slowly lower the left leg on the ground.

Do 10 reps, then repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.

Tips for properly doing standing knee to chest

  • Maintain your posture – keep your body straight and do not bend your back (pull your knees towards your chest, not your chest towards your knees).
  • Keep your support leg as straight as possible.

4. Heel grab

Heel grab is one of the hip mobility exercises that improve the mobility of your hips and ankles while also stretching your groin.

Heel grab

How to properly do heel grab?

  1. Begin by standing with your feet hip-distance apart, look straight ahead, and keep your upper body straight.
  2. Grab the left heel with both hands and pull it towards the opposite hip, standing fully on the right foot. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds.
  3. Slowly lower the left foot on the ground.

Do 5-10 reps alternately with each leg.

Tips for properly doing heel grab

  • Maintain your posture – keep your body straight and do not bend your back.
  • Keep your support leg as straight as possible.

5. Single leg hip rotation

Single leg hip rotation is one of the hip mobility exercises that improve hip mobility and strengthen glutes and the hamstrings, while also activating your core.

Single leg hip rotation

How to properly do single leg hip rotation?

  1. Begin by standing with your feet hip-distance apart, look straight ahead, and keep your upper body straight.
  2. Lift the left knee up to the hips, standing fully on the right foot.
  3. Move the left leg in a circular motion.

Do 10 reps in both directions, then do the exercise with the opposite leg.

Tips for properly doing single leg hip rotation

  • Maintain your posture – keep your body straight and do not bend your back.
  • Keep your support leg as straight as possible.
  • Use your hands to maintain balance. For additional stability, use a support to make movement control easier.

6. Hip circles

Hip circles are one of the hip mobility exercises that improve hip mobility while stretching lower back muscles and strengthening the core.

Hip circles

How to properly do hip circles?

  1. Begin by standing with your feet hip-distance apart, hands on your hips, look straight ahead, and keep your upper body straight.
  2. Move your hips in a circular motion.

Do 10 reps of circular motions in both directions.

Tips for properly doing hip circles

  • Maintain your posture – keep your body straight.
  • Make as large circular motions as possible with your hips – start with smaller circular motions gradually increasing the volume.

7. Deep squat stretch

The deep squat stretch is one of the hip mobility exercises that improve hip and ankle mobility by stretching your groin, quadriceps, glutes, hip adductors, and calf muscles.

Deep squat stretch

How to properly do deep squat stretch?

  1. Begin by standing with your feet more than hip-distance apart and facing forward, look straight ahead, and keep your upper body straight.
  2. Get down into a deep squat. Look up and keep your core as straight as possible while keeping your elbows away from your knees.
  3. Hold the position for 15 seconds while pushing out with your elbows.

Tips for properly doing deep squat stretch

  • Your heels should be in contact with the ground for the duration of the exercise – if you find it difficult to maintain balance then your heels should be on an elevated surface.
  • Maintain your posture – keep your body straight and do not bend your back.
  • As you get down into a deep squat your knees should follow the direction of your toes – do not allow your knees to move inwards.

8. The world’s greatest stretch

The world’s greatest stretch is one of the hip mobility exercises that improve hip mobility, stretch hip flexors, and your groin, while strengthening your glutes. That allows you to have longer stride length and better movement control.

The world’s greatest stretch

How to properly do the world’s greatest stretch?

  1. Begin by standing with your feet hip-distance apart, look straight ahead, and keep your upper body straight.
  2. Step forward with the left foot into a lunge. Put both of your palms on the ground, parallel to the left foot.
  3. The left elbow should be as close to the ground as possible.
  4. Extend the left arm upwards, following it with your eyes.

Repeat the motion 3-5 times, then repeat with the opposite side.

Tips for properly doing the world’s greatest stretch

  • Maintain your posture – keep your body straight and do not bend your back.
  • Make sure that your calf is perpendicular to the ground – your knee must not be in front of your foot.
  • Make sure not to touch the ground with the knee of the back foot.

9. Kneeling lunge

Kneeling lunge is one of the hip mobility exercises that improve hip mobility, stretch hip flexors, and your groin.

Lunges

How to properly do kneeling lunge?

  1. Begin by standing with your feet hip-distance apart, look straight ahead, and keep your upper body straight.
  2. Step forward with the left foot into a lunge and lower the right knee to the ground.
  3. Put both of your palms on the left knee and gently push it towards the ground. Repeat the movement 5 times.
  4. Hold the position for 10 seconds in the maximum range of motion.

Repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.

Tips for properly doing kneeling lunge

  • Maintain your posture – keep your body straight and do not bend your back.
  • Make sure the whole foot of the front leg is on the ground.
  • Perform the exercise within the limits of comfort – do not make any sudden movements.

10. Kneeling quad stretch

Kneeling quad stretch is one of the hip mobility exercises that improve hip and ankle mobility while stretching the hip flexors and quadriceps.

Kneeling quad stretch

How to properly do kneeling quad stretch?

  1. Begin by standing with your feet hip-distance apart, look straight ahead, and keep your upper body straight.
  2. Step forward with the left foot into a lunge and lower the right knee to the ground.
  3. Pull the right foot towards the glutes with the right hand. Repeat the movement 5 times.
  4. Hold the position for 10 seconds in the maximum range of motion.

Tips for properly doing kneeling quad stretch

  • Maintain your posture – keep your body straight and do not bend your back.
  • Make sure the whole foot of the front leg is on the ground.
  • Perform the exercise within the limits of comfort – do not make any sudden movements.

11. Side lunge stretch

Side lunge stretch is one of the hip mobility exercises that improve hip and ankle mobility and stretch hip flexors and your groin while strengthening hip abductors and glutes.

Side lunge stretch

How to properly do side lunge stretch?

  1. Begin by standing with your feet hip-distance apart, look straight ahead, and keep your upper body straight.
  2. Step with the left foot into a side lunge. With the right hand, gently push the stretched right leg towards the ground so that you feel a stretch in your groin.
  3. Hold the position for 10 seconds.

Repeat the exercise with the opposite side.

Tips for properly doing side lunge stretch

  • Maintain your posture – keep your body straight, do not bend your back, and do not turn.
  • Don’t let your heel lose contact with the ground while performing the exercise – without the proper range of motion in your ankle, you will be tempted to lift your heel off the ground so that you can squat deeper.

12. Dynamic butterfly

Dynamic butterfly is one of the hip mobility exercises that improve hip mobility, stretch your groin, and hip adductors.

Leptir u pokretu

How to properly do dynamic butterfly?

  1. Sit in the starting position with your hands holding your feet together, knees spread out.
  2. With your elbows, apply light pressure to your knees, pushing them as close to the ground as possible. Repeat the motion 5 times.
  3. Hold the position for 10 seconds in the maximum range of motion.

Tips for properly doing dynamic butterfly

  • Maintain your posture – keep your body straight and do not bend your back.
  • Perform the exercise within the limits of comfort – do not make any sudden movements.

13. 90/90

90/90 is one of the hip mobility exercises that improve hip mobility, stretch hip abductors, and abductors while strengthening the glutes.

90_90

How to properly do 90/90?

  1. Start by sitting with your legs at a 90-degree angle, and both should be bent at the knee at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Lean forward so that you can feel your hips stretching. Hold the position for 5 seconds.
  3. Return the body to the original position and repeat the motion 5 times.

Repeat the exercise with the opposite side.

Tips for properly doing 90/90

  • Maintain your posture – as you lean forward, do not bend your back, your upper body should be straight.
  • Perform the exercise within the limits of comfort – do not make any sudden movements.
  • Keep your knees on the ground as you perform the exercise.

14. Kneeling hip rotations

Kneeling hip rotations are one of the hip mobility exercises that improve hip mobility while activating your core and strengthening glutes and the hamstrings.

Kneeling hip rotations

How to properly do kneeling hip rotations?

  1. Start by kneeling with both of your palms on the floor.
  2. Lift the left leg and keep it bent at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Make circular movements with the left foot.

Do 10 reps in both directions and repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.

Tips for properly doing kneeling hip rotations

  • Keep your body straight, do not bend your back.
  • Maintain your posture – palms should be shoulder-distance apart, and knees hip-distance apart.

15. Lying hip rotations

Lying hip rotations are one of the hip mobility exercises that improve hip mobility while stretching the groin and hip adductors.

Lying hip rotations

How to properly do lying hip rotations?

  1. Lie in the starting position so that your legs are bent at the knee with your feet fully on the ground.
  2. Cross the left ankle over the right knee.
  3. With the left palm, lightly push the left knee, pushing it away from you. Repeat the movement 5 times.
  4. Hold the position for 10 seconds in the maximum range of motion.

Tips for properly doing lying hip rotations

  • Maintain your posture – do not bend your back, as you perform the exercise your back should be on the ground.
  • Perform the exercise within the limits of comfort – do not make any sudden movements.
Hip Mobility Exercises For Runners

When should runners do hip mobility exercises?

Include hip mobility exercises in your warm-up routine before training or race. Do them after an easy jog, as part of mobility exercises and dynamic stretches, and before the main part of the training. This will prepare your hips for the stress that follows and reduce the risk of injury.

Read more: Warm-up Before Running [Ultimate Guide]

You can also do hip mobility exercises after the main part of the training, as part of the cool down. This will relax the muscles around the hips and reduce stiffness and tension.

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Matea Matošević
Matea Matošević
Article by:
Matea Matošević

Hi, I’m Matea! I’m Olympic Marathon Runner, founder, and writer behind OLYRUN.com. On this site, I provide help in the form of my knowledge and experience to all who love running and active living. Read more…