Fire Hydrant

With some stretches and poses, you cannot begin to guess where their names might have originated from. With others, it is easier to guess. The fire hydrant pose is one of the latter. This pose has you raising your leg like a dog that is about to relieve itself, and so it is aptly named the fire hydrant. 

We will admit that this is perhaps not the most flattering pose, but chances are you had to do this warm up movement for gym class or group fitness classes at some point in your life. This pose helps effectively warm up the outer hips and build tone within the muscles of the glute and even the core. 

If you have never attempted this pose and have no idea what we are talking about, please stick around. This article will take you step-by-step through how to complete this movement. We will also talk about the benefits of the fire hydrant and why you would want to do this movement regularly. Lastly, we will provide you with ways to modify it if you so need. Without further ado, let’s get into it. 


What is the Fire Hydrant Exercise? 

Just like a dog raises its leg to use the bathroom, the fire hydrant movement will have your legs moving in a similar movement pattern. You may be thinking to yourself, “why in the world would I want to do that?!”

Surprisingly, this movement is beneficial for your glutes, hips, and even the core. It might even help relieve any lingering back pain. This is a strictly bodyweight movement, so there is no extra equipment required! 

To begin this exercise, come down into a Tabletop position on your hands and knees. In Tabletop position, take care to set up properly. Place your hands on the ground underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Keep your gaze towards the ground as a way to keep your neck in proper alignment. Lastly, always pay attention to your core. We suggest pulling your bellybutton in towards your spine as a way to engage these muscles and pressing the tops of your feet into the floor. This is a solid Tabletop position. 

Once you have established this posture, raise up one leg, open up your hips and and move your leg away from your body, keeping the knee bent at 90* and your hips flat towards the ground. At the top of the moment, pause and then return to the starting position. This is one repetition. We recommend completing at least 10 reps. 

Once you have completed 10 reps on one side of your body, it is time to move to the opposite side. Start from the original position and follow the movement pattern for the same number of reps. 

If you really want to get warmed up and those muscles activated, try completing three total sets of 10 reps on each side. 

The Benefits of the Fire Hydrant Exercise

If you are looking to help tone and build your booty, this is a great pre-workout exercise to include in your routine. It will help activate and tone the muscles within the glutes. Check out this link for more glute-focused exercises.

Not only does the fire hydrant exercise target the glutes, but it helps warm up the hip muscles as well. Your glutes and hips are connected after all! If you have tight hips or you spend a lot of your day seated, this is another exercise that you may find will help relieve the tension.  

As with any exercise, when done correctly, the fire hydrant could help relieve pain that you feel in your glutes, hips, or lower back. It can also help prevent future injuries by ensuring that your muscles are strengthened and engaged before doing strenuous activity.

To hold proper positioning while you complete your fire hydrants also requires core stability. You have to fight to not let your hips rotate to one side or the other too much. By finding a correct tabletop position from the start of this position, it can help engage and activate the muscles in your core. 

Fire Hydrant Modifications

If performing this exercise from your hands and knees is painful for you, feel free to use a cushion under your knees. A pillow, blanket, towel, or pad all work well for this. You could also perform this from your forearms if it is too much stress upon your wrist joints. 

To make this exercise a little more difficult, you can loop a resistance band around your legs (place it right above your knees) for added tension. You can also choose to lift one hand off of the ground while you perform this exercise to really target those core stability muscles. 

If you ever feel pain while performing this movement, stop immediately and seek care if needed.

Start on your hands and knees with your back flat. Raise up one leg, open up your hips and and move your leg away from your body, keeping the knee bent at 90* and your hips flat towards the ground. At the top of the moment, pause and then return to the starting position.


Joel Runyon

Joel is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE and the founder of MoveWell. Joel founded MoveWell after sustaining an injury while running an ultra marathon on every continent. Joel is writes about mobility, pain management and health and wellness overall.

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