The Supine Hip PNF: Best Hip Flexibility Exercise?

This exercise will lengthen your hamstrings, adductors and hip rotators, mobilize the joint capsule and activate pretty much all of your hip muscles.

It’s a great bang for your buck technique, so be THANKFUL you landed here because your hips are going to feel renewed after doing the exercise I’m sharing with you.

Lucky you. 🙂

I call it the Supine Hip PNF because you’re lying down on your back (this is what supine means) and PNF stands for Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, which is not just about stretching, but a system of exercise and movement that trains muscle activation, joint stability AND flexibility.

I first learned about PNF from the book Supertraining by the late Mel Siff and in the book Siff lists 23 principles of PNF and the exercise you’re about to do today includes (but not limited to) these important ones:

  1. Use of spiral and diagonal movement patterns
  2. Motion crossing the sagittal midline of the body
  3. Recruitment of all movement components, especially flexion-extension, adduction-abduction and internal-external rotation
  4. Movement free of pain, but not free of effort

To summarize, here are some of the benefits of doing this exercise and thus applying these principles:

  • No equipment - do it anywhere you can lie flat on your back
  • Anyone can do it regardless of level of fitness
  • Strengthens muscles in end ranges of motion where most people are extremely weak
  • Works rotational and diagonal movement patterns (PNF), which fully integrates your left and right brain hemispheres

So, watch the video in FULL and if you have any inkling that you might benefit, I urge you to do the exercise as soon as possible, ideally, right now.

Don’t just watch it then leave – this is what most people who watch exercise videos online do, which is why most people are inflexible and out of shape.

But I mean, if you landed here and for some reason thought you were going to watch a Mike Chang video, then you don’t have to do it as I can understand your supreme disappointment. 😉

For the rest of you, it’s GO TIME:

Ideally perform 3 reps in both directions on each leg, but even 1 rep on each side is better than none.

Once you’ve tried it out, you qualify to leave a comment, so hit me up when you’re done.

Can’t wait to hear from you, champ. 🙂

And if this exercise does feel great, please SHARE it because everyone these days is so tight from all the damn sitting! I’m sure you know at least a few people who will really appreciate getting this from you so don’t be shy.

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Dan jourjouklis
Dan jourjouklis

Thanks Eric. The updates you send really help.

René
René

Another genius therapy from GRAND MASTER Eric.It worked brilliantly on my sore legs after a week on the Valencia ”Turia” running track, so I applied the similar spiral-rotation to my shoulders—oooh-ow- that sure found the sticky bits.Fantastic-thanks Eric.

Phil
Phil

LMAO at the Mike Chang reference!

Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali

Great exercise. I wan to know, is PNF also helpful in mastering the splits, both the side and front? And I’m talking about the engage and relax aspect of PNF.

Larry
Larry

Good but is it Better to doi it before or after s work out ?

Eric Wong

Before

Karen
Karen

I’m curious what your thoughts are about this for an almost 14 year old who has been doing Tae Kwon do for 8 years but can only get his kicks chest high.

Eric Wong

It’ll help. For younger peeps it’s all about coaching technique as they often want to do things quickly and don’t understand exactly what needs to be done.

Wendy
Wendy

This feels great and hope it helps with time. I had a baby almost 2 years ago and my training slowed down a lot. I’m having a hard time with my kicks my hips hurt and get stuck. After strength training and/or sprints I can feel the pain. I hope this helps I will do daily. Thank u!

Eric Wong
Eric Wong

No rush Wendy! Take care of that baby and take it 1 day at a time doing the right things (like this) and you’ll be back better than ever 🙂

Sharen
Sharen

Hi Eric. Love the hip rotator routine. Am 74 years and in pretty good shape. My hip joints burn after walking for about 15 minutes. Hope this help. I tried it and had great success with excersize. Will continue with this for more flexibility.

Robert Woodbine
Robert Woodbine

Hey Eric…love your approach to all that you’re doing. This works great, I’m noticing that I’m really weak in this area and have had back problems ever since I got hit in a car collision. Is there any chance your Hip Mobility package will go on sale? Thanks again for this free exercise.

Aaron
Aaron

I love your videos but I think I need to start somewhere else. In your video you raise your right leg and then rotate it toward the left, your foot and knee both pointing toward the left after which you start your rotations.

I can’t even rotate my leg to that position to start the exercise. Definitely need to start somewhere else.

Eric Wong

You can start here – it’s about the intention of internally rotating – this alone will fire up those muscles and that will help you unlock more range the more you do it. It’s not a high load exercise, so it is a great place to start (and continue).

Cathy
Cathy

This is great stuff. I’ve recently moved and haven’t been able to get to my Bikram yoga classes, so doing this hip stretching felt fantastic.

Marcos
Marcos

Eric , is this safe? You should have heard the popping and cracking coming out of both my hip sockets..

Eric Wong

ahahah should be OK – as long as there’s no pain… that stuff will likely decrease after a week of doing it daily.

Marcos
Marcos

I will let you know

Alex tatum
Alex tatum

Hi Eric
I really appreciated this one I am 37 and a life long martial artist tae kwon do boxing bjj Mma and I have had 4 years out of training due to being injured from Mma fighting I keep trying to get back to it but my lower back and hip pain and mobility keeps stopping me but with exercises like these and others I am starting to believe I can get back to my life long passion
Thanks all the best Alex

Eric Wong

you’re welcome my friend

MariaAlive
MariaAlive

Great share! I’m curious what sort of modification for somebody with a lot of joint laxity. Also, hip replacements?

Eric Wong

Lots of joint laxity – don’t go for range of motion, but maximum muscle contraction.

So squeeze tight throughout the ROM.

Good question. 🙂

dave p
dave p

How common is it to see a lack of internal rotation at the hip? How much tilt should you see in the foot?

Eric Wong

VERY COMMON. Not so much about the foot, because you can disguise poor IR with good ankle mobility. It’s all about the rotation of your femur (thigh bone).

Andre
Andre

I am doing your Hip Flexibility Solution program religiously (its working great, thanks). How can I incorporate this exercise into it? It looks like it could replace some of the Core Routine exercises since it does all 3 directions.

Eric Wong

Best place is to add it to the Advanced Mobility Movement Patterns and/or any warmups you do before training.

But you could add it anywhere, really.

Darren Kilcoyne
Darren Kilcoyne

Hi Eric

When you say do that exercise in both directions what do you mean?

Do I externally rotate the leg and go anti clock wise

Please advise

Eric Wong

Opposite of everything my man – start with external rotation and abduction instead of internal rotation + adduction.

Eric Meister
Eric Meister

Nice job on this one. Your right, really scours out the hip socket. Thank you. I have some real weaknesses and imbalances going on. Great movement, and yes, possibly the best I’ve tried for the hip.