How we treat chronic pain

Body Part Exercises

Hip Stretch

Table of Contents

Hip Stretch Conditioning Program

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends this stretch to prevent injury and improve range of motion.

hip stretches Depending on your mobility, you may be unable to do some of these stretches and exercises at the beginning.  Focus on what you can do and go from there. To ensure that this program is safe and appropriate for you, consult with your physician, After an injury or surgery, exercise will help you return to daily activities and enjoy a more active, healthy lifestyle. Following a well structured exercise program will help you return to daily activities and enjoy a more active, healthy lifestyle.

Stretch first : Run through as many of these stretches as you can at one time, devoting at least 30 seconds — ideally 1 to 2 minutes — on each (per side, if applicable) before moving on to the next.

Standing Iliotibial Band Stretch

Step-by-step directions

  • Stand next to a wall for support
  • Cross the leg that is closest to the wall behind your other leg.
  • Lean your hip toward the wall until you feel a stretch at the outside of your hip. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the opposite side, then repeat the entire sequence 4 times.
Standing Iliotibial Band Stretch | Hip Pain | Bay State Pain Associates

Repetitions 2 sets of 4

Days per week Daily

Main muscles worked: Tensor fascia
You should feel this stretch at the outside of your hip

Equipment needed: None

Tips to keep in mind:

Do not lean forward or twist at the waist.

Seated Rotation Stretch

Step-by-step directions

  • Sit on the floor with both legs straight in front of you. Cross one leg over the other.
  • Slowly twist toward your bent leg, putting your hand behind you for support.
  • Place your opposite arm on your bent thigh and use it to help you twist further.
  • Look over your shoulder and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Slowly come back to center.
  • Reverse leg positions and repeat the stretch on the other side. Repeat the entire sequence 4 times.
Seated Rotation Stretch | Hip Stretch | Bay State Pain Associates

Repetitions 2 sets of 4
Days per week Daily

Main muscles worked: Piriformis
You should feel this stretch in your buttocks, as well as at your sides

Equipment needed: None

Tips to keep in mind:

Keep your sit bones pressed into the floor throughout the stretch.

Knee to Chest

Step-by-step directions

  • Lie on your back on the floor with your legs extended straight out.
  • Bend one knee and grasp your shinbone with your hands.
  • Gently pull your knee toward your chest as far as it will go.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then relax for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side, then pull both legs in together. Repeat the entire sequence 4 times.
Knee To Chest | Hip Pain | Bay State Pain Associates

Repetitions 2 sets of 4

Days per week Daily

Main muscles worked: Gluteus maximus, gluteus medius
You should feel this stretch in your buttocks

Equipment needed: None

Tips to keep in mind: Keep your lower back pressed into the floor.

Supine Hamstring Stretch

Step-by-step directions

Lie on the floor with both knees bent.
Lift one leg off of the floor and bring the knee toward your chest. Clasp your hands behind your thigh below your knee.
Straighten your leg and then pull it gently toward your head until you feel a stretch. (If you have difficulty clasping your hands behind your leg, loop a towel around your thigh. Grasp the ends of the towel and pull your leg toward you.)
Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and then relax for 30 seconds.
Repeat on the other side, then repeat the entire sequence 4 times.

Supine Hamstring Stretch | Hip Pain | Bay State Pain Associates

Repetitions 2 sets of 4
Days per week Daily

Main muscles worked: Hamstrings
You should feel this stretch at the back of your thigh and behind your knee

Equipment needed: None

Tips to keep in mind: Do not pull at your knee joint.

Hip Abduction

Step-by-step directions

  • Lie on your side with your injured leg on top and the bottom leg bent to provide support.
  • Straighten your top leg and slowly raise it to 45°. Keep your knee straight, but not locked.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Slowly lower your leg and relax it for 2 seconds.
  • Repeat, then complete exercise on the other side.

Tips to keep in mind: Do not turn your leg in an effort to raise it higher. The outside of your thigh should be lifted toward the ceiling.

HIP ABDUCTION | Hip Pain | Bay State Pain Associates

Repetitions 8

Days per week 2 to 3

Main muscles worked: Gluteus medius, abductors
You should feel this exercise at your outer thigh and buttocks

Equipment needed: Begin with a weight that allows 8 repetitions and progress to 12 repetitions. As the exercise becomes easier, add weight in 1-pound increments. Each time you increase the weight, start again at 8 repetitions, working back up to 12. 

Hip Adduction

Step-by-step directions

  • Lie on the side of your injured leg with both legs straight.
  • Bend your top leg and cross it over your injured leg.
  • Raise your injured leg 6″ to 8″ off of the floor.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Slowly lower your leg and rest for 2 seconds.
  • Repeat, then complete exercise on the other side.
Hip Abduction | Hip Pain | Bay State Pain Associates

Repetitions 8

Days per week 2 to 3

Main muscles worked: Adductors
You should feel this exercise at your inner thigh

Equipment needed: Begin with a weight that allows 8 repetitions and progress to 12 repetitions. As the exercise becomes easier, add weight in 1-pound increments. Each time you increase the weight, start again at 8 repetitions, working back up to 12.

Tips to keep in mind: Place your hand on the floor in front of your abdomen to prevent you from leaning backward.

Hip Extension (Prone)

Step-by-step directions

  • Lie on your stomach on a firm, flat surface with a pillow under your hips.
  • Bend one knee 90°.
  • Lift your leg straight up as shown.
  • Slowly lower your leg down to the floor, counting to 5.
  • Repeat, then complete exercise on the other side.
Hip Extension (Prone) | Hip Pain | Bay State Pain Associates

Repetitions 8

Days per week 2 to 3

Main muscles worked: Gluteus maximus
You should feel this exercise in your buttocks

Equipment needed: Begin with a weight that allows 8 repetitions and progress to 12 repetitions. As the exercise becomes easier, add weight in 1-pound increments. Each time you increase the weight, start again at 8 repetitions, working back up to 12.

Tips to keep in mind: Keep your head, neck, and upper body relaxed during this exercise.

Internal Hip Rotation

Step-by-step directions

  • Lie on your side on a table or physical therapy bench with a pillow between your thighs. Place your lower arm in front of your body and use a pillow under your head for comfort, if needed.
  • Bring your top leg forward and lower your foot so that it is below the tabletop, as shown in the “start” position. Your bottom leg can be slightly bent for balance.
  • Rotate your hip and lift your foot as high as possible, as shown in the “finish” position.
  • Slowly lower your leg back to the “start” position, counting to 5.
  • Repeat, then complete exercise on the other side.
INTERNAL HIP ROTATION | Hip Pain | Bay State Pain Associates

Repetitions 8
Days per week 2 to 3

Main muscles worked: Medial hamstrings
You should feel this exercise at the back of your thigh

Equipment needed: Begin with a weight that allows 8 repetitions and progress to 12 repetitions. As the exercise becomes easier, add weight in 1-pound increments. Each time you increase the weight, start again at 8 repetitions, working back up to 12.

Tips to keep in mind: Stay centered on your side and do not lean your body forward or backward.

External Hip Rotation

Step-by-step directions

  • Lie on your side on a table or physical therapy bench. Place your lower arm in front of your body and use a pillow under your head for comfort, if needed.
  • Bring your bottom leg forward and lower your foot so that it is below the tabletop, as shown in the “start” position. Your top leg is mostly straight to help you balance.
  • Rotate your hip and lift your foot as high as possible, as shown in the “finish” position.
  • Slowly lower your leg back to the “start” position, counting to 5.
  • Repeat on the other side.
EXTERNAL HIP ROTATION | Hip Pain | Bay State Pain Associates

Repetitions 8
Days per week 2 to 3

Main muscles worked: Piriformis
You should feel this exercise in your buttocks

Equipment needed: Begin with a weight that allows 8 repetitions and progress to 12 repetitions. As the exercise becomes easier, add weight in 1-pound increments. Each time you increase the weight, start again at 8 repetitions, working back up to 12.

Tips to keep in mind:

Stay centered on your side and do not lean your body forward or backward.

Further information

The information provided on this site is intended to be used as an educational resource only. It is not intended to be medical advice for individual conditions. Consult with your physician prior to beginning any medical regimen.

Please contact a healthcare professional: 

  • If you experience excessive or acute pain that cannot be explained by another cause.
  • If You have questions or concerns about stretches or exercises.
  • to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.