If you have hip arthritis and are experiencing hip pain chances are it is deterring you from doing any kind of exercise or you may wonder what exercises are safest for your hip joint. Whether you are recently diagnosed with hip arthritis or have been living with it for a while now, doing specific exercises are not only recommended, but essential for many reasons. Osteoarthritis of the hip causes degeneration at the hip joint which decreases your range of motion and will feel like an overall stiffening. Exercises that provide your hip with gentle range of motion can actually lubricate the joint, give you relief from the stiffness, and help you maintain or prevent loss of flexibility. Along with this loss of hip joint flexibility from osteoarthritis inflammation, the muscles around the hip weaken and become tight. Doing the right exercises can help you maintain flexibility and strength or prevent further loss which also can give you some hip pain relief.

Although the temptation and instinct may be to not do exercises for your hip because of all the changes and discomfort you feel, it is imperative you do and learn the right exercises as they can reduce your hip pain.

What Exercises are Safe for Hip Arthritis?

Here are two guidelines that will help you choose and know what exercises are best for your hip arthritis:

  1. Always, always, always use pain as your guide! If you experience pain during or after doing an exercise, then it is not the right exercise for you. Always only ever work through your pain free range of motion. If you are increasing pain in your hip joint from exercise, then you are increasing the inflammation which will then have an adverse effect on your range of motion because inflammation decreases joint range of motion.
  2. Non weight bearing exercises are best for people with hip arthritis. This means selecting exercises that do not include the load of your body weight or minimizing how many or how much weight bearing exercise you do. For example, the upright stationary bike will be a better choice for you than the treadmill; however you could do a small amount on the treadmill as long as it did not increase pain and inflammation.

Range of Motion Exercises for Hip Arthritis

Osteoarthritis of the hip decreases the range of motion you have in your hip. The hip is one of the most mobile joints even if you may be one of those people who has never had good flexibility. Our hips move in all the following ranges: flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal rotation, and external rotation. A physiotherapist can test to see if you have arthritis by assessing your range of motion and feeling the resistance in mobility of your hip joint. Ideally, a great hip exercise program would introduce you to moving your hip through all the above range of motions and only through your pain free range. Some of these ranges of motion like internal or external rotation may be extremely limited for you and/or may cause too much pain. If this is the case you just do the exercises that feel good and give you relief.

What makes a range of motion exercise and what are some examples for the hip?

A range of motion exercise is any exercise that takes your joint through the normal range of flexibility it has or to the best of your ability. For example your hip has the ability to flex and extend. Flexion at the hip is your ability to bend your hip joint by pulling your knee toward your chest. Extension of the hip takes your hip behind your body similar to the pattern of stepping backwards. Therefore, a great range of motion exercise for people with arthritis would be to gently flex and extend the hip through the full range of motion you have. Do you remember the rule above of non weight bearing or low load? If you do then you will understand that range of motion exercises are best done with repetitions of 10, 15, 20 and no load rather than with adding weight. So then, what would be some good hip range of motion exercises?

Hip Extension Exercise – The Bridge Lift

Hip Arthritis Exercise Range of Motion








Hip External Rotation
The Clam Shell

Clam Shell Hip External Rotation and Gluteus Medius Strength








Hip Abduction
The Side Leg Raise

Hip Arthritis Exercise for Gluteus Medius Strength









Hip Extension & Core


Hip Arthritis Strength Exercise









Hip Flexion
Only Weight Bear on Good Leg or
Do this Seated or Leaning on Wall

Hip Arthritis Flexion









Hip Extension Advanced Bridge
Only Do if Confident or with a Spotter!


Hip Arthritis Ball Bridge for Hip Extension and Gluteal Strength




Above you have a series of exercises that you can try and some of them not only work your range of motion, but also your muscular endurance of the hip muscles. Whenever you begin an exercise, you must always listen to your body and see how it feels. It is also best to start with only ten repetitions and one set to see how your body responds. From there if you feel good, then you can proceed to 12 or 15 repetitions and after that you can gradually increase to 2 sets.

For a complete set of hip arthritis exercises and a hip exercise program you can do at home, visit us here! Hip Arthritis Exercise Home Program