9 Excellent Butt Exercises for Tight Hips

If your hips are perpetually tight, welcome to the club. If you’re ready to do something to fix it? We’ve rounded up the best butt exercises for tight hips, below—because, let’s be honest, we could all use a little help in this department.

Read on to learn the top causes of tight hips, how your hips affect your glutes (and vice versa), and what glute exercises you can do to help strengthen the hips and find some sweet relief.

What causes tight hips?

“Tight hips could be caused by a myriad different things,” certified trainer Sarah Polacco, strength coach and founder of online coaching program Between 2 Kettlebells, tells SELF. “Activity intensity,  frequency, how often you move in your daily life, hip structure, and limb length are all different variables that could affect the feeling of tightness in your hips.”

While the side of your hips can definitely feel tight, when most people talk about tight hips, they’re often talking about tight hip flexors. These are the muscles on the front of your pelvis and upper thigh that let you flex your hips (think: lifting your leg up when you do a high knees exercise). You might feel tightness in the front of the hips when you lunge or even when you stand up after sitting for a long time. Or you might notice that you can’t do a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, which is considered proper form.

“Tightness in the front of the hip is often caused by a lack of strength compared to the rest of the muscles,” Polacco says. “This can be due to an increased amount of sitting.” Sitting in and of itself isn’t necessarily bad, she adds. But, as SELF has previously reported, sitting for extended periods of time without getting up and moving can wreak havoc on your hip flexors. The muscles stay in the same position for hours on end, which weakens them and makes them feel really tight when you try to get up and go stretch them or do exercises that require some hip flexibility at the end of the day.

How do tight hips impact the glutes?

Your glutes are an opposing muscle group to the hip flexors—basically, they work directly opposite them. So when your hip flexors are shortened, your glutes are lengthened. As SELF has previously reported, when your glutes are more lengthened than they should be, they can’t contract as readily. This can make it so that other muscles have to do more work than they should to make up for the lack of glute power.

“If the glutes are not strong, other muscles in the hips tend to compensate for the lack of strength in the glutes, which can cause them to become tight and overused,” registered clinical exercise physiologist Kelly Drew tells SELF. It can also cause potential injuries in the smaller muscles that now have to work harder than they are designed to since the all-powerful glutes are not pulling their weight.