Sep 14, 2022

Do you struggle to get down far enough when you squat? Do you feel restricted when you’re deadlifting, doing particular movements in the gym or simply as you’re moving around in everyday life?

It could be that you have tight hips.

How can you tell if you have tight hips?

If you are suffering with tight hips, the first thing you’ll notice is muscle restriction. You may feel that your muscles are unable to move or flex as much as you want or need them to. You can tell this by simply sitting on a bench and actively rotating one of your hips externally.

  1. Turn your hip out to 45 degrees.
  2. Take that a step further, so by lifting your foot the bottom of your leg runs parallel to the floor. In order to do this you should use your hands to lift your foot into position. This is called a passive movement.

You should be able to lift your foot higher with the aid of your hand than you can by trying to do the movement actively. If you can’t, that indicates your hip is tight. I.e. the muscles are rigid and need to be loosened.

Check out the video from around 2 minutes in for a demonstration of this technique.

Differentiating between tight hips and unstable hips

If your hips feel tight, but on attempting the exercise above you find you have a greater range of movement in the passive state, this indicates that your hips are not necessarily tight because they’re just tight, rather they’re tight because they’re unstable. This is a different issue and I’ll cover that off in another article.

Why are your hips tight?

There are three basic reasons why you might have tight hips:

  1.  Overloaded tissues – this means they’re getting fatigued and in order not to injure themselves they create tightness so they don’t get injured. This creates a cumulative overload that means they’re not getting recovered or rehabilitated.
  2.  Previous injury – have you suffered a previous injury in the region of your hip, that has created scar tissue or created a stiffness?
  3.  Compensation – Perhaps you had a problem in one ankle, or knee, and because of limping you have created residual tightness in the rest of the body as a compensation.

If I did a consultation and assessment with you, this would be the kind of thing I would be wanting to discuss and find out about so it can inform what we do.

How to make the hip more flexible: the process

The process we’re going to do in order to help the hips become less immobile, is in three steps: massage, stretch, move.


In order to massage the muscle we will use a foam roller on the glute medius and glute minimus to help make the tissues more pliable and try to get a bit of movement out of them. I tend to stretch the muscles top to bottom as well as side to side so I can get a bit more external rotation.


Next we’ll stretch the hips again to try to gain a bit of extra length from the muscles. There are many ways you can do this in order to increase the external rotation.


Finally, we use that extra  flexibility we’ve just created, in some movements.  We’ll start locally (one joint) and then more globally (multiple joints). Having created a bit more movement and a bit more space for the muscles in the hip to move you should be able to manage a broader range of movement.

Watch the tutorial video above to understand the functional movement patterns you should be aiming for as well as some ideas for exercises that may help you get immobile, inflexible hips more flexible. 

Need some help?

Where you should stretch, what movements you should do, what patterns you should stretch will depend on what the hip mechanics are telling us.  This is something I can assess and go through with you as part my workshop.

Of course, this is not a one size fits all process. In this article I’m just trying to highlight the basics.

If you are experiencing tight hips and you’d like some support to loosen them, take a look at my hip mobility landing page to sign up and join me here at the gym for a two-hour bespoke workshop. In that time I’ll help you understand why your hips are tight and work out how to loosen them. You’ll go away with a bespoke programme including foam rolling, exercising, stretches and a process to follow.


Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our free monthly newsletter to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.