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Exercises for Hip Pain to Make You Hurt So Good

Whether you crushed a workout a little too hard or you woke up in a position more twisted than “Tiger King,” hip and lower back pain happen. Before you turn to over-the-counter pain relievers, consider doing some stretches for hip and lower back pain.

These exercises for hip pain and lower back pain may be just what you need to eliminate that pesky pain. By stretching and building strength in muscles that impact your hips, you’ll improve your flexibility and help prevent future pain.

Get stretched: Stretches for lower back and hip pain

Tight muscles can affect your posture, your back, your life. That’s why stretching is so dang important.

Try a few of these moves, holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds. For stretches that work only one side, be sure to give the other side the same amount of attention.

Hip flexor stretch

exercises for hip pain

Give your hip flexors a good stretch.

  1. Kneel on the floor with hands on hips. Place right foot on the floor in front of you, leg bent at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Move your torso and pelvis forward a bit until you feel your hip flexor singing.
  3. Repeat on the other side. Go back and forth a few times.

Double hip rotation

exercises for hip pain

Get your hips movin’ with this easy lie-down twist.

  1. Lie on your back with arms out to the sides.
  2. Bend knees and place feet flat on the floor.
  3. Rotate your knees left, lowering them toward the floor. At the same time, look to your right. Don’t let shoulders lift.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Butterfly stretch

exercises for hip pain

Harness your inner insect with this hip opener.

  1. Sit on the floor and place the soles of your feet together so knees splay out to the sides.
  2. Pull heels as close to your body as you can. Keep back straight.
  3. Lean forward until you feel a stretch. You can also push knees down using your elbows.

Pigeon Pose

exercises for hip pain

If you’re a yogi, this ultimate hip opener has all sorts of variations so you won’t get bored with it. If you’ve never done it, go slow and be amazed.

  1. Start on all fours. Place right knee forward, just behind right wrist, and lean on the outside of your ankle with knee bent. Let knee splay out slowly.
  2. Then (or at the same time) straighten left leg behind you, with the top of your foot flat on the floor.
  3. Continue to support your upper body with hands on the floor. Gently, fold your body over right leg. (If you can’t fold completely, try putting elbows on the floor so you go halfway down.)
  4. Hold as long as you feel a gentle stretch.
  5. Try not to roll over to one side. If you have to, let it be your right butt cheek or hip.
  6. Come out of the pose as gracefully as possible and return to all fours. Repeat on the other side.

Figure four stretch

exercises for hip pain

Here’s an easy way to stretch out your butt and your hip all in one bendy move.

  1. Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keeping right knee bent, grasp right ankle and place it on top of your left thigh just below left knee.
  3. Loop hands around the back of your left thigh and pull leg toward chest, with left ankle still on top. Hold the stretch for a while.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Yoga squat

exercises for hip pain
Image by Dima Bazak

The yoga squat isn’t a traditional squat that’ll make that booty burn, but it’s fabulous for loosening up your hips.

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and go from standing into — you guessed it — a squat. (You may want to inch your feet out wider, but keep them flat on the floor.)
  2. Once you’re in a squat with your butt near the floor, place hands in a prayer position or clasp them. Use elbows to push knees apart to deepen the stretch.
  3. Hold for a few seconds or longer. Try swaying from side to side.

Leg swings

exercises for hip pain

Create space in your hips by moving your legs.

  1. Stand near a stable surface, such as a table, holding on to it for balance.
  2. Step back about a foot.
  3. Raise right leg and swing it from side to side. Then move it front to back.
  4. Try not to move your torso, focusing the movement on your hip socket.
  5. Repeat on the other side.
Build strength: Exercises for hip and lower back pain

Now that you’ve stretched the muscles that support your hips and lower back, try these muscle-building exercises. Building muscle can keep your hip area strong, improve mobility, and help prevent further injuries.

Choose a few of these exercises and do 3 sets of 10–12 reps each. During future workouts, try some different moves.

Lateral squat

exercises for hip pain

This squat will get your hips moving and build muscle all around them to keep those suckers stable.

  1. Stand with your feet double shoulder-width apart. Turn toes out just a bit.
  2. Squat, shifting weight back as if you’re going to sit in a chair. Keep left leg straight and your weight in right heel.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  4. Do the same number of reps on the other side.

Side-lying leg raise

exercises for hip pain

This one’s pretty simple, but it isolates your hip and butt. (Add a resistance band for more challenge.)

  1. Lie on your right side with legs stacked, propping yourself up on right elbow.
  2. Lift left leg up as high as you can while keeping it straight.
  3. Lower it back down. Repeat several times.
  4. Do the same number of reps on the other side.

Fire hydrant

exercises for hip pain

Pretend you’re a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. Seriously, that’s the stance to go for with this hip and low back exercise.

  1. Start on all fours.
  2. Raise right leg out to the side so thigh is parallel to the floor. (You know, that dog-peeing pose your furry friend uses on every tree.)
  3. Lower and lift your leg again. Repeat several times.
  4. Pretend you’ve gotta go on the other side and repeat with left leg in the air.

Banded walk

exercises for hip pain

Give your hips and butt a resistance-based workout by stepping into a band and going for a sideways stroll.

  1. Put a short resistance band around your ankles or above your knees.
  2. Keeping a slight bend in knees, take a step to your left. Be sure not to angle toes out.
  3. Bring right foot to meet left. Repeat. Continue to side-shuffle back and forth.

Bridge Pose

This classic yoga pose has all sorts of feel-good benefits — and it can help your sore hips too.

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet hip-width apart on the floor, and arms at your sides.
  2. Keeping heels under knees, press feet into the floor to lift your hips.
  3. Hold the pose, and then slowly lower hips back down.

Single-leg glute bridge

exercises for hip pain

Kick the traditional Bridge Pose up a notch by bridging on one leg.

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet hip-width apart on the floor, and arms at your sides.
  2. Extend right leg up toward the ceiling.
  3. Press left foot into the floor and use your glutes on the left to lift your hips.
  4. Pause for a second at the top, and then slowly lower hips back down.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Donkey kick

exercises for hip pain

This hip exercise is also known as a glute kickback.

  1. Start on all fours. Lift left foot straight up toward the ceiling, keeping it flat.
  2. Engage your glutes as you kick left foot up several times. Make sure not to tilt your pelvis.
  3. Repeat on the other side.

These exercises may not seem intense, but they can feel extreme if your lower back or hips are already sore. Use your best judgment before you begin — if you’re in too much pain, you may want to Netflix and chill until the pain subsides.

One thing that can make these exercises for hip pain a little less intense is walking for a few minutes before you start. The more you warm up, the easier the strength training should be.

If the exercises seem to be working, try to keep doing them a few times a week. That should hopefully be enough to send any hip pain packing. Rest and ice may also help.

Always in pain? It might be time to see a doctor or physical therapist if the pain is from an injury or a chronic condition. Hip and lower back pain can also be caused by a variety of conditions, including:

  • arthritis
  • tendinitis
  • bursitis

If you’re in pain all the time and it seems unrelated to sleeping in a awkward position or regular exercise soreness, it’s not a bad idea to call up your doc to see what’s going on.

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