Woman practices the 90/90 hip stretch

The 90/90 Stretch Will Open Up Your Hips—and Increase Your Mobility

Add this exercise to your weekly routine.

By Amber SayerMarch 7, 2024


If you find yourself sitting for most of the day, you may feel some tightness in your hip flexors or glutes. You may even have a general sense of achiness throughout your lower body. Unfortunately, these pains aren’t just a result of a sedentary lifestyle. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of aging. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Aging Research found that hip mobility declines approximately six degrees each decade. As a child, you may have easily popped out of your chair after a long day of sitting—loose and ready to go. But now, your hips feel tighter and tighter with every passing year, even if you’re an active person.

Targeted hip stretches can help build back your mobility—and reduce those feelings of tightness. And one of the most effective and simple movements you can do is the 90/90 stretch. 

What Is the 90/90 Stretch? 

The 90/90 stretch, also referred to as the 90/90 hip stretch, opens up your hips and helps improve flexibility in the muscles surrounding your hips, says Ben Alldis, a Peloton instructor. This movement can be easily incorporated into your daily workout routine to reduce tightness in your hips and the surrounding muscles. 

What Muscles Does the 90/90 Stretch Target? 

The 90/90 stretch primarily targets your hip flexors, glutes, and external rotators. Each of these muscle groups has an important role to play in your everyday mobility. Your hip flexors help lift your legs, such as when you’re running, walking, or climbing stairs. Your glutes, the muscles in your buttocks, are responsible for leg extension, the action of bringing your leg behind you. 

“The front leg in the 90/90 position stretches the hip flexors, particularly the psoas and rectus femoris muscles,” Ben says. “The back leg in the 90/90 position stretches the glutes and external rotators of the hip, including the piriformis and deep external rotators. This stretch can help improve flexibility and mobility in these muscles, which can be beneficial for overall hip health and function.”

What Are the Benefits of the 90/90 Hip Stretch? 

There are several benefits of the 90/90 stretch including: 

  1. Improving hip mobility: By targeting your hip flexors, glutes, and external rotators, this stretch can help increase your flexibility and range of motion in the hip joint, Ben says. 

  2. Decreasing hip tightness: “By stretching the hip flexors and glutes, the 90/90 hip stretch can help alleviate tightness in these muscles, which may result from prolonged sitting or physical activity,” Ben says.

  3. Improving posture: According to Ben, this type of hip opening can help improve your posture by releasing tension in your hip flexors and promoting better alignment of your pelvis and spine.

  4. Helping prevent injuries: Regularly practicing the 90/90 stretch may help prevent injuries in your hips, lower back, and knees by promoting optimal hip mobility and flexibility.

  5. Improving athletic performance: Increased hip mobility and flexibility can enhance your athletic performance in activities that require hip strength and range of motion, such as running, cycling, and weightlifting.

Man practices a 90/90 stretch

How to Do the 90/90 Stretch

Here, Ben breaks down how to practice the 90/90 hip stretch. 

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.

  2. Bend your right knee and bring it out to the side. Your right shin should be perpendicular to your left leg, creating a 90-degree angle at your right hip and knee.

  3. Position your left leg behind you, bending your left knee and bringing it out to the side. Your left shin should be perpendicular to your right thigh, creating a 90-degree angle at your left hip and knee.

  4. Your right shin should be parallel to your left thigh, and your left shin should be parallel to your right thigh, forming a "Z" shape with your legs.

  5. Keep your spine tall. Engage your core to maintain good posture.

  6. Lean forward from your hips while keeping your back straight. Lead with your chest. Make sure not to round your back. 

  7. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds while breathing deeply. You should feel a stretch in your hips, glutes, and inner thighs. Adjust the intensity of the stretch by how far forward you lean. 

  8. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. 

6 Common Mistakes with the 90/90 Stretch 

There are several common mistakes people often make when practicing the 90/90 hip stretch, Ben says. Performing the stretch improperly can reduce the effectiveness and may even increase your risk of injury. Here’s what to keep in mind. 

1. Rounding Your Back

It's important to maintain a tall, straight spine throughout the movement. Rounding your back or slouching during this stretch can compromise its effectiveness and put unnecessary strain on your spine. 

2. Hunching Your Shoulders

Dropping your shoulders forward or tensing them up during this stretch can restrict your mobility and range of motion. Keep your shoulders relaxed and down away from your ears.

3. Leaning Too Far Forward

Leaning your back too far forward can inadvertently cause the stretch to target your lower back, instead of your hips, potentially placing excessive strain on your lower back. Focus on hinging at your hips and maintaining a neutral spine position.

4. Not Engaging Your Core

Failing to engage your core muscles can lead to spinal instability and reduce the effectiveness of the stretch for your hips and glutes. Activate your core muscles to support your spine and maintain proper alignment during the stretch.

5. Improper Breathing

Holding your breath or taking shallow breaths can increase tension in your body and limit the benefits of the stretch. Remember to breathe deeply and rhythmically throughout the exercise to relax your muscles. 

6. Rushing Through the Stretch 

It’s a common occurrence among athletes: You only have a few minutes to stretch, so you rush through the movement. However, moving quickly through the stretch won’t allow your muscles to fully relax. Take your time, focus on your form, and hold the stretch for an adequate amount of time to experience the full benefits.

“By being mindful of these common mistakes and focusing on proper form and technique, you can maximize the effectiveness of the 90/90 hip stretch and improve your hip mobility and flexibility over time,” Ben says. 

How Often Should You Do the 90/90 Stretch? 

It depends. “Listen to your body and adjust the frequency of the 90/90 hip stretch based on how your hips feel and your individual goals,” Ben says. “Consistency is key, so incorporating the stretch into your routine regularly will help you experience the benefits of improved hip mobility and flexibility over time.”

To see and feel noticeable improvements in your hip mobility and flexibility, try to practice the 90/90 hip stretch at least a few times per week. If you have particularly tight hips or sedentary habits, you may even want to consider incorporating this stretch into your daily routine

“Include the 90/90 hip stretch in your warm-up routine to prepare the hip muscles and joints for movement before engaging in physical activity or exercise, especially activities that involve hip movement (such as running, cycling, or weightlifting),” Ben says. “After a workout, including the 90/90 hip stretch in your cool-down routine can help release tension in the hip muscles, promote recovery, and maintain flexibility.”


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