Health blog

5 top exercises for hip pain that you should be using

September 11th, 2023
5 Top Hip Pain Exercises That You Should Be Using | Rehab Access

Your hips are integral to all forms of movement as they work to help you move, walk, and run, and hip pain can inhibit your ability to move and function in your everyday life. A physical therapist can help you move with less pain and increase your hip’s range of motion with effective exercise, stretching and personalized treatment. Through physical therapy exercises, hip pain may become more manageable. 

Hip exercises you do in PT sessions can also help strengthen your hips muscles. In addition, they can help you build back a solid base for the rest of your body. You may feel yourself moving easier after doing the hip exercises assigned to you in your physical therapy sessions because they can lessen the strain on your hips and stretch your hip muscles. Here are some of the exercises your physical therapist may have you do during your hip PT sessions:

  • Knee lift 

This exercise is commonly used in physical therapy and as a warmup to exercise because of how effective it is for stretching and relieving hip pain. It stretches your hamstring and glute muscles and is great for relieving lower back and hip pain. To do this exercise, lie on your back and have your legs flat on the floor. Take your right knee and pull it toward your chest while your left leg stays straight on the ground. To hold the stretch, place both hands on the top of your knee and pull in it close to your chest. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, lower your right leg and repeat with your left leg.


  • External hip rotations 

This hip pain exercise is great because it can help with inner thigh pain and outer hip pain by gently stretching your muscles and opening up your hips. Start this exercise by bending your legs at the knees and putting the soles of your feet together. Your legs should look like a diamond and your knees should be pointing left and right. Place a hand on each knee and gently try to make them touch the floor. Hold the stretch in your hips and legs for 30 seconds; then release the stretch. After a brief rest, repeat this stretch as many times as your physical therapist directs.

  • Double hip rotations 

This exercise is good for not only relieving the hip pain but also building abdominal and back strength, which can help you with hip pain. This hip pain exercise is also commonly used in Pilates and strength training because it builds muscle but also stretches the muscles. First, lie flat on your back with your arms in a T position on the floor. Next, bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Then, move your knees to the left and lower them to the floor as you turn your head to the right. You want to be moving your head and knees in opposite directions. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds as you look to the right and have your knees to the left. Finally, slowly move back to the starting position and then switch sides by looking to the left and having your knees to the right. Repeat the stretch on each side as many times as your therapist directs.

  • Hip extensions 

This hip pain exercise is great if you need assistance in exercise and moving on the floor may be difficult to get up from. For this exercise, find a chair (or table or wall) for support, and start by standing upright with your feet shoulder width apart in front of the chair. Hold on to the chair and lift your left leg backward without bending your knee. You should lift your leg as high as you can without discomfort. Hold this position for five to 10 seconds before lowering your foot back to the floor. Repeat this exercise on each leg to help with hip pain on each side. Your physical therapist will let you know how many times to repeat this exercise.


  • Hip bridges

This is an effective exercise for hip pain if you have a good amount of strength or range of motion in your hips already because it deeply stretches and opens up your lower back and hips. Start this exercise by lying on your back, with both legs bent at the knee and feet flat on the floor. Remember to keep your palms facing downward either at your sides or in a T position. If you have neck or head pain, use a pillow or blanket to support your head and neck. Engage your core and press your feet into the floor as you slowly lift your hips upward and lift your lower back off the ground. Keep your shoulders and upper body on the floor as you do this movement. Hold your hips up for five to 10 seconds; then slowly lower your hips back down to the ground. Rest them on the floor for five to 10 seconds; then repeat these steps to complete another rep. Complete as many reps as your physical therapist has assigned to you.

Rehab Access can help you find exercises and more to address your hip pain

One of Rehab Access Physical Therapy’s expert physical therapists can create an exercise routine for your PT sessions that is customized to your needs and goals. This focused program of exercises will be designed to stretch, mobilize and strengthen your hips and reduce your pain. Our physical therapists can also help you understand why you may be experiencing hip pain in the first place and guide you through treatment. 

At Rehab Access, starting your hip pain recovery can be as simple as having a conversation with our physical therapists about what your symptoms are and what you would like to accomplish in physical therapy. 

Contact our team today for more information about how we can help you address hip pain or to schedule an initial appointment to start treating your pain.