Exercises for the hips


These exercises are helpful for problems and pain affecting the hips.

Remember to drink water while you're exercising and make sure you have plenty of space around you to avoid injury.

It's a good idea to start slowly and build up gradually if you're new to exercise. For more information and tips on getting started, see our Getting started with exercise page.

Get advice and support from a healthcare professional or fitness instructor if you have any concerns about starting a new exercise plan.

Exercises for the hips

Leg raise

Lie face down, though you might want to turn your head to one side if this is more comfortable. Tighten your stomach and buttock muscles to lift one leg slightly off the floor, while keeping your hips flat on the ground. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat 3 times.


Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor or bed. Lift your pelvis and lower back off the floor. Hold the position for five seconds and then lower down slowly.

External hip rotation (sitting)

Sit with your knees bent and feet together. Press your knees down towards the floor using your hands as needed. Alternatively, lie on your back and part your knees, keeping your feet together. Take the movement up to the point you feel a stretch, hold for around 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 5-10 times.

This may not be suitable for you if you've had recent hip surgery. Speak to a healthcare professional if you're unsure.

External hip rotation (lying)

Lie with your knees bent and feet flat on the bed, hip-width apart. Let one knee drop towards the bed then bring it back up. Keep your back flat on the bed throughout.

Heel slide

Lie on your back. Bend your leg and slide your knee towards your chest. Slide your heel down again and straighten your knee slowly.

Hip flexion

Hold on to a work surface and march on the spot to bring your knees up towards your chest alternately. Your physiotherapist may recommend that you don't raise your knee above hip level.

Hip extension

Move your leg backwards, keeping your knee straight. Clench your buttock tightly and hold for five seconds. Don't lean forward. Repeat with the other leg. Hold on to a chair or work surface for support.

Hip abduction (standing)

Stand with one hand resting on the back of a chair or a work surface for support. Lift your leg straight up to the side. Hold for five seconds and then slowly lower your leg. Try to keep your body straight throughout. Repeat five times on each side.

You can also do this exercise lying sideways.

Heel to buttock

Bend your knee to pull your heel up towards your bottom. Keep your knees in line and your kneecap pointing towards the floor.


Hold onto a chair or work surface for support. Squat down until your kneecap is directly over your big toe. Your knees should not go in front of your toes. Return to your normal standing position.

Repeat until you can’t do anymore, rest for one minute, then repeat another two times. As you improve, try to squat a little further, but don’t bend your knees beyond a right angle.

Short arc quadriceps exercise

Roll up a towel and place it under your knee. Keep the back of your thigh on the towel and straighten your knee to raise your foot off the floor. Hold for five seconds and then lower slowly.

Quadriceps exercise

Pull your toes and ankles towards you, while keeping your leg straight and pushing your knee firmly against the floor. You should feel the tightness in the front of your leg. Hold for five seconds and relax. This exercise can be done from a sitting position as well, if you find this more comfortable.

Stomach exercise

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Put your hands under the small of your back and pull your belly button down towards the floor or bed. Hold for 20 seconds.

Knee lift

Lie on your back. Pull each knee to your chest in turn, keeping the other leg straight. Take the movement up to the point you feel a stretch, hold for around 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 5-10 times. If this is difficult, try sliding your heel along the floor towards your bottom to begin with, and when this feels comfortable try lifting your knee as above.