Wake Up Dead Hips! [Hip Mobility Exercises for the Office]

Wake Up Dead Hips! [Hip Mobility Exercises for the Office]

How to keep your hips loose and limber while at your desk

By Coach E

hip mobility exercises active office worker

Hips feeling a little dead after a day at the office? Get all of the muscles activated again with these hip mobility exercises that you can do right at your desk.

These 6 moves only take a few minutes to complete and are a comprehensive way to engage, activate, and mobilize all the major muscles of your hips.

Why You Need Hip Mobility Exercises

Welcome to Episode 4 of the Active Office Worker Series. We’ve made it down the chain to the hips – and this is a big one.

hip mobility exercises office worker

Mobilizing and activating your hips is crucial for office workers for a couple of reasons.

One, there’s a pretty good chance that when you get up from your desk at the end of the day, you’ve got tight hips that feel stiff. If not, you’re lucky. Give it a few more years at the office and you can bet it’s  coming.

These hip mobility exercises will make you feel better and that alone is a great reason to do them.

Secondly, when you are sitting on a chair all day, you’re completely supported. There’s not much reason for your hip muscles to fire. Because your body is always trying to save you energy, the muscles will simply shut off [1].

hip mobility exercises sitting

That means when you hit the gym after work, it’s going to be even harder to wake your muscles up and get them mobile, active, and ready to power you through a workout.

But these simple hip mobility exercises will help keep your hips active and engaged. So after work you’ll be more prepared to smash a new PR or sprint down the soccer field.

For all these exercises, I want you to try to gradually ramp up activation then gradually release. This simple tweak will help build neuromuscular control of the contraction.

Hip Extensors

The first technique activates your hip extensors. These muscles, which include your glutes, work to bring your leg back behind you.

hip extension exercise - activate glutes

  • Move to the side of your chair so your left hip is sitting and your right leg is in a lunge stance behind you
  • Gradually activate hip extension on the right by firing up the glutes and driving your right toes into the ground like you were trying to accelerate forward.
  • Hold for 10 seconds, staying active and squeezing the glutes while you breathe
  • Gradually release and repeat on the other side

Hip Flexors

Your hip flexors bring your thigh toward your chest and really take a beating during prolonged sitting. This seated dead bug variation gets them moving.

hip flexors activation

  • Sit on the edge of your chair and place your left hand on your right knee
  • Move into end range of hip flexion on the right, lifting your knee towards your chest
  • Press your left hand into your right knee and hold for 10 seconds
  • Gradually release and repeat on the other side

External Rotators

Your external rotators fire to rotate your femur (thigh bone) laterally, or out towards the side. This is a great drill to do during boring meetings – no one will know you’re working on your hips while their budget PowerPoint drags on.

hip external rotators activation

  • Sit on the edge of your chair and cross your left ankle over your right knee
  • Fire up your external rotators by trying to lift your left ankle up off your right knee
  • Hold for 10 seconds. You can press a finger onto your left medial malleolus (or ankle bone) to increase activation
  • Gradually release and repeat on the other side

If this position isn’t in your range, you can hover your left foot on the inside of your right calf and fire up the external rotators there.

Internal Rotators

This next exercise looks very similar, except now you’ll be firing up your internal rotators, which work to rotate your femur medially.

hip internal rotators activation

  • Sit on the edge of your chair and cross your left ankle over your right knee
  • Fire up your internal rotators by pressing your left ankle down into your right thigh
  • Hold for 10 seconds. You can press your right hand into the inside of your left knee to increase activation and get your adductors firing as well
  • Gradually release and repeat on the other side

Abductors

Your abductors help you move your leg out and away from the midline of your body. This technique will not only engage the abductors, it will also get your obliques working too!

hip abductors activation

  • Sit up tall and rotate through the spine so that you can place your left hand on the outside of your right knee
  • Activate your abductors by driving your right knee outward and into your left hand
  • Hold for 10 seconds before gradually releasing and repeating on the other side

Adductors

Last but not least, we’ve got to hit the adductors, which bring your leg in toward midline. These muscles are also important for cutting and pivoting in sports.

hip adductors activation

  • Slide out to the far right corner of your chair
  • Stretch your right leg out to the side. The right leg should be straight, and keep both sets of toes pointing straight ahead
  • Activate the adductors by driving your right foot down into the floor
  • Hold for 10 seconds before gradually releasing and repeating on the other side

For all of these hip mobility exercises, remember to ramp up the activation slowly and then ramp it down after the hold. And just like the other exercises we’ve learned in the Active Office Worker Series, commit to making these exercises a habit.

Figure out a way to make it work for you. I suggest a minimum of 5 second holds, but if you want to take it up to 20 second holds, great. Just make sure you’re doing something and keeping your hips engaged each day.

These moves don’t take long, you can perform them right at your desk, and your hip flexibility and performance will be much better for it.

And if you’re dealing with some nagging hip pain or hip mobility issues, go check out my Hip Flexibility Solution. It’s full of in-depth info and creative techniques that can totally change how your hips function.

About the Author

Eric Wong (aka Coach E) is the founder of Precision Movement and has a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo. He's been a coach since 2005 and spent his early career training combat athletes including multiple UFC fighters and professional boxers. He now dedicates himself to helping active people eliminate pain and improve mobility. He lives in Toronto (Go Leafs Go!) with his wife and two kids and drinks black coffee at work and IPAs at play. Click here to learn more about Eric.