I did an 8-minute hip mobility routine every day for a week — here’s what happened

a woman performing the fire hydrant exercise
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Our hips are a very important part of the body, they help us move from A to B and provide a stable base for the spine. But to do this successfully, they need to be kept strong and mobile. Last year I nailed down my all time favorite hip strengthening exercise, kettlebell hip marches, and recently I’ve been experimenting with a short mobility routine to see what effect it has on my hips.

On my hunt for the best stretches for tight hip flexors, I found a small series of exercises I fancied trying via the London Fitness Guy’s Instagram page. It required no equipment and took eight minutes to complete, so it was an extremely easy routine for me to fit into my day. 

Although it doesn’t require any fitness equipment, I did roll out one of the best yoga mats so that I could perform this hip mobiliity routine and avoid putting any unwanted pressure or discomfort on my joints.

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What is the 8-minute hip mobility routine? 

There are a total of four exercises in the routine. James Stirling, the fitness trainer and face behind the London Fitness Guy, demonstrates each in the video below. While he doesn’t name each move, they hold similar traits to more traditional exercises such as thrusts and lunges but add in a twist to really target the hips.

Stirling recommends performing each exercise for one minute which includes spending one minute on each side. Watch him perform each move below.

I did an 8-minute hip mobility routine every day for a week — here’s what happened 

I set aside eight minutes of my day every day for a week to work on my hip mobility. I switched between completing the four exercises at home on my favorite yoga mat and using the routine as a finisher after a lower body day at the gym.

1) My hip felt tighter than I anticipated

I have always been very aware of my hips and their importance. Over the years I have become accustomed to feeling pain or discomfort in my hips after a day of hiking or an intense running session. So, they are something I try to focus on when strength training. However, I don’t keep up with simple mobility routines like this one, and it showed.

Within the first thirty seconds of the first exercise I could feel tightness in my hips. It wasn’t enough to stop the exercise but more a reminder that having a good range of motion in your joints doesn’t just happen with a click of the fingers. It’s something I want to be consistent with so that I can maintain a good range of motion in my hips as I grow older. Increasing your hip mobility allows for a greater range of motion in everyday movements such as walking, squatting, and bending — all things that become a little more difficult with age.  

2) I could feel it in my glutes

As I progressed through the sequence of exercises I started to feel my glutes working too. I felt like I was killing two birds with one stone getting a bodyweight booty pump all the while boosting the mobility in my hips.

Feeling a slight strain in your butt while performing hip mobility moves isn’t unusual, as is explained by the National Library of Medicine, the gluteus maximus makes up the majority of the shape and form of the butt and hips. So, often hip exercise will engage the glutes. 

My glutes are especially important to me right now as I train for the Manchester Marathon. They are a big muscle and therefore can generate a lot of force when running, contributing to speed and injury prevention. Strength and mobility training is invaluable to a runner, even if you do just carve out eight minutes, it’s a start. 

a woman leaning into a kneeling forward lunge

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3) I was such a fan of the final exercise

The best way I can describe the final move is you lean into a forward kneeling lunge and then lift your leg out to the side (knee stays bent) and kneel into a lateral lunge. All I can say is that this felt phenomenal on my hips. 

I am a serial lunger and by that I mean I use the lunging motion a lot. Whether that be warming up for a run or strength training with a pair of the best kettlebells. I wouldn’t normally do this movement kneeling down but when I did during the mobility routine I lapped up the deeper stretch it allowed. Kneeling down in a lunge removes the stabilizing role of the feet and ankles that you would experience in a standard lunge when you are standing.

Additionally, the two parts to the move made it a multi-directional stretch. In the kneeling front lunge part I could really feel a deep stretch in my hip flexors and quads, meanwhile the transition into the kneeling lateral lunge opened up the hips and inner thighs, targeting the adductors. In short, this exercise is the ultimate hip opener.

Verdict 

With any short workouts, I know not to expect any dramatic changes overnight. Instead, with this eight minute mobility routine, I focused on what I could feel while I was doing the exercises. This was a deep stretch in my hips and a healthy challenge to keep up each movement for a minute each. 

One week of doing this routine wasn’t enough to comment on long-term results but these are the kind of exercises I’d use again and more regularly to increase the range of motion in my hips. Would you give this routine a go?

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Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.

Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.

She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.

  • kmcg101
    I don't see any link to the exercises or a video. Am I missing something? And there's a typo, you wrote HOPE when you meant to write HIP.
    Reply