Hip Extension Exercise Using Pilates

Hip extension exercise is important for people who are over-worked, or tight in the hip flexors in the front of the torso.

Hip extension is done by extending or reaching your leg straight back behind you.

We don't do this often enough during the day, but instead work the hip flexors lifting or bending the knee up in front of us as we walk or even sitting too much cause tightness.

In effect the hip flexors get tighter and the hip extensors end up weaker.

The Pilates exercises listed can be accomplished in three ways: lying on your stomach, a side lying position, or kneeling.

Hip Extension Exercise Lying on your Stomach:

When you do hip exercises lying on your stomach it’s important to note that gravity will be pulling your stomach down so you need to be aware and pull your abdominal muscles up and in to protect your lower back.

hip extesnion exercise image


Lying on your stomach with your legs long and stretched out rest your forehead on your arms crossed overhead. Keeping your chin down will keep your spine long and aligned.

Begin by pulling your abdominal muscles up and in feeling the pubic bone press into the mat.


Inhale as you extend one leg up off the mat tightening the muscles in the back of the thigh and buttocks. Lengthen the leg so that the thigh raises off the mat keeping your hip bones pressing into the mat.

Find these and more hip extension exercises in the new Pilates ebook by clicking here.

Hip Exercises Lying on your Side:

When lying on your side doing leg extension exercises note that it will take much balance to keep the body from swaying forward and back.

To make these side kicks more effective it’s important to keep the shoulders and hips aligned with a long waist and stable torso.

hip exercise image side lyin


Lie on your side with your hips and shoulders stacked up, legs angled slightly forward of the midline of your body. Rest your head on your bottom arm.


Lift or extend your top leg just parallel or at hip level to the floor then swing it forward and back flexing the foot to the front and pointing it when swinging back.

Inhale to the front and exhale to the back.

Repeat on each side for 8-10 repetitions.

Kneeling Hip Extension Exercise:

Doing hip extension from a kneeling position helps to work your core muscles along with improving your balance.

kneeling hip extension image


Kneeling with your hands under shoulders and knees directly under your hips. Spine should be long and neutral, chest wide, and looking at the end of your mat.


Inhale as you extend one leg back just parallel to the floor until you feel the muscles in the buttocks and the back of the upper leg tighten, hold, and then exhale as you release it back to start.

Repeat this kneeling leg extension exercise 8-10 times on each leg.

Leave hip extension exercise and find more great exercises for your hips and legs here.

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