What Is Hyperextension of the Hip?

X-ray of hips

Normal hip extension range of motion is zero to 30 degrees. Hip hyperextension is any motion exceeding the normal extension range, so greater than 30 degrees. Hyperextension at the hip is uncommon and typically caused by poor body mechanics versus true hip joint laxity. Hip extension is measured from the prone position, lying on your belly. Keep your knee straight, and lift your leg off the bed or floor. Your pelvis must remain on the floor and your back cannot arch to have an accurate measurement.

Functional Range of Motion


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Hip extension is a necessary movement for walking and any type of weight bearing activity. In normal stride, your hip extends approximately 15 to 20 degrees. If you have weakness or loss of range of motion in your hip, you will have difficulty walking or participating in fitness activities.

Muscles Involved

The primary muscles responsible for hip extension are the hamstrings and the gluteus maximus. The hamstrings are comprised of three separate muscles that arise from the same location on the pelvis. They separate as they traverse the thigh and insert at different locations in the lower leg. Collectively, these three muscles extend the hip and flex the knee. The gluteus maximus also arises from the pelvis and inserts on the femur, or thigh bone. Its sole function is to extend the hip.

Strengthen Hip Extensors

Woman stretching on bench

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Increasing the strength of your hip extensors enables strong body mechanics and helps with range of motion. To strengthen your hip extensors, perform hip extension exercises standing or lying down facing the floor. Keep your pelvis against the floor and do not arch your back. Flex your toes and lift your leg up, keeping your knee straight. Add ankle weights to this exercise to make it more challenging. When standing, perform this exercise at home or at the gym using a cable machine. Stand erect with your feet shoulder-width apart. Flex your toes and push your leg behind you, keeping your knee straight. Use ankle weights, resistance bands or the cable machine to increase difficulty.

Stretch Hip Flexors

If your hip flexors muscles are tight, it prevents full hip extension. To stretch your hip flexors, lie on your back on your bed or on a mat on the floor. Hug your knees to your chest. Lower your right leg toward the floor with your knee bent. Pull your left leg to your chest. Attach an ankle weight to your right ankle to improve the stretch.