How to Loosen Up Your Hips While Dancing

Trained dancers consider flexible hips an asset. Greater range of motion in the hip sockets results in easier, freer movement in the entire midsection. If you train in a particular dance style, such as salsa, jazz or belly dancing, you may understand the basic footwork but struggle to achieve the relaxed sway of your hips. If you enjoy social dancing but feel your hip movement is restricted on the dance floor, take your cue from professional dancers and fitness experts and learn to loosen your hips.

Friends dancing in front of the DJ at a club. (Image: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Stretch your hip flexors routinely. Basic stretches can increase flexibility and range of motion in your hip joints. Warm up your hip flexors with dynamic stretches such as side-to-side lunges and walking lunges that travel across the room. When your muscles and joints are warm, lie on your back with your legs extended in front of you on the floor and gently draw one leg at a time into your chest.

Step 2

Stand with your feet no closer than shoulder-width apart when you dance to give your hips maximum freedom of movement. As you transfer your weight between your feet, allow your hips to follow naturally. Avoid deliberately moving your hips; rather, allow your hips to sway loosely as a consequence of your shift in weight from one foot to the other.

Step 3

Bend your knees slightly when you dance to allow for a smoother, looser shift of your hips side to side or front to back. Keeping your knees “soft” increases your hip range of motion, resulting in more fluid hip movements.

Step 4

Relax your thigh muscles and let your bottom drop slightly between your knees. As your hips sway in different directions, release any tension from your waist downward while engaging the muscles of your back and keeping your chin lifted.

Step 5

Respond to the rhythm of the music. Focus on the music and let the tempo guide your feet and hips. Relax and move to the tempo to avoid jerky, overly conscious movements.


When dancing salsa or Cuban styles, as the tempo increases maintain the loose sway of your hips by keeping your hip movements small.

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