Why Your Hip Mobility Isn’t Improving Part IV

Hip mobility is key for hip, knee and low back health.  It is also key for athletic performance as well as performance in the gym.  Limited hip mobility can be a contributing factor for low back and knee pain as well as limitations in your performance for certain lifts such as squats and deadlifts.

Far too often, we hear, “I stretch and stretch” or “I have been doing my hip mobility drills, but it isn’t improving.”

Make sure to check out Part I HERE , Part II HERE , Part III HERE as to why you may not be seeing an improvement in your hip mobility.

Often times, we stretch, foam roll, do mobility drills, etc. and we feel “more mobile”, but then things tighten up hours or days later.

Another reason why someone’s hip mobility may improve/not be maintained OR may not improve at all is due to poor core/trunk control.

By improving control at the core, this can directly impact one’s ability to control the hip and in turn the knee, ankle and foot.

Some quick tests to determine if improving core control will potentially improve hip mobility are:

FABER (Flexion ABduction External Rotation)

Key Points:

-Place ankle just above opposite knee.

-Allow leg to relax and drop down towards the ground.

-Shin should be within 5 degrees of parallel.

If during your FABER, your shin doesn’t drop to within a few degrees of parallel, try performing the Core Activated FABER.

Core Activated FABER

Key Points:

-Same as FABER.

-Press down into the ground/table.

-If your FABER improves, then it is potentially a core stability issue.

Active Leg Raise (ASLR)


If you can’t get your ASLR to approximately 80 degrees, try performing the Core Activated Active Straight Leg Raise.

Core Activated Active Straight Leg Raise

Key Points:

-Use a band or press hands into the ground.

-If your leg raise improves, then it is potentially a core stability issue.

Other drills that have been mentioned by Dean Somerset to improve hip mobility are performing side planks or prone planks to improve hip external or internal rotation.

He has found that by performing side planks, this can improve hip IR mobility and performing prone planks can improve hip ER mobility.

Two drills that I like to use with athletes and clients are the Modified Side Plank with Reach.

Modified Side Plank with Reach

Key Points:

-Start in hip and knee flexion.

-Bring hips forward, not up.

-When you have reached hip extension, take top arm and reach across your body.

-Hold for 3 reps x 3 breaths and then perform on the opposite side.

Modified All Fours Belly Lift

Key Points:

-Press the ground away from you.

-Keep ribs down towards your belt line.

-Maintain this position as you bring your hips up in the air.

Modified All Fours 1-Crawl

Key Points:

-Press the ground away from you.

-Maintain ribs down towards belt line.

-Move opposite arm/leg back and then return to starting position.

-Keep low back still as you move arms/legs.

By improving core and trunk stability, this allows for the hip to move on a stable “base”.  If the joint or joints above or below cannot provide a stable foundation for another joint to move on, this can limit a joint’s ability to move.

There you have it!  Parts I-IV of Why Your Hip Mobility Isn’t Improving.  Make sure to check out parts I-III.

Give these tips a try if your hip mobility isn’t improving.

Andrew Millett