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7+ Exercises Before Hip Replacement Surgery

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Embarking on the journey of hip replacement surgery requires mental preparation and physical readiness. Engaging in targeted exercises before hip replacement surgery can significantly enhance your recovery and surgical outcome. These pre-hip operation exercises, often called prehab for hip replacement, are designed to strengthen the muscles around your hip, increase flexibility, and ensure a smoother rehabilitation process.

This article delves into 7+ essential exercises to prepare for hip replacement, providing a comprehensive guide to optimize your physical condition before the surgery. Whether weeks or months after the procedure, these hip exercises before hip replacement will pave the way for a quicker return to your daily activities and a more successful surgical experience. Keep reading to discover how these exercises can transform your pre-surgical preparation and contribute to a healthier, more active life post-surgery.

What is a Hip Replacement?

A hip replacement, also known as hip arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which a damaged or worn-out hip joint is replaced with an artificial joint or prosthesis. This procedure is typically recommended for individuals suffering from severe pain and mobility issues due to conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or traumatic injuries. A hip replacement aims to alleviate pain, improve joint function, and enhance the overall quality of life. During the surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged bone and cartilage and replaces them with metal, plastic, or ceramic components to create a new, smooth-functioning joint.

Why Should You Exercise Before Hip Replacement Surgery?

Exercising before hip replacement surgery, often referred to as prehabilitation or prehab, is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Strengthens Muscles: Pre-surgery exercises help strengthen the muscles around the hip joint, leading to better support and stability post-surgery.
  2. Improves Flexibility: Engaging in flexibility exercises can increase the range of motion in your hip, making recovery smoother and potentially speeding up the rehabilitation process.
  3. Enhances Recovery: Patients who participate in prehab exercises often experience a faster recovery, as their bodies are better prepared to handle the stress of surgery and the demands of post-operative rehabilitation.
  4. Reduces Complications: By improving physical fitness before surgery, you can reduce the risk of complications such as blood clots, infections, and muscle weakness.

7+ Exercises Before Hip Replacement Surgery

Bicep Curls

Benefits: Strengthens the biceps and improves arm function, which can help use crutches or a walker during recovery.

How to do it:

  • Sit or stand with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward.
  • Keep your elbows close to your sides.
  • Slowly curl the weights up towards your shoulders.
  • Lower the weights back down with control.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

Elbow Extensions

Benefits: Strengthens the triceps and improves upper arm stability, aiding in mobility and balance during recovery.

How to do it:

  • Sit or stand with a dumbbell in one hand, arm raised above your head.
  • Keep your upper arm still and bend your elbow to lower the weight behind your head.
  • Extend your arm back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions on each arm.

Seated Chair press-ups

Benefits: Strengthens the shoulders and arms, improving upper body strength for better support with mobility aids.

How to do it:

  • Sit on a sturdy chair with armrests, feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your hands on the armrests and push down to lift your body slightly off the seat.
  • Lower yourself back down with control.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

Ankle Pumps

Benefits: Improves circulation in the lower legs and reduces the risk of blood clots, a common post-surgery concern.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back or sit with your legs extended.
  • Point your toes away from you, then pull them towards you.
  • Repeat the motion continuously for 1-2 minutes.

Quad Sets

Benefits: Strengthens the quadriceps, which is crucial for knee stability and walking post-surgery.

How to do it:

  • Sit or lie down with your legs straight.
  • Tighten the muscles in your thigh by pressing the back of your knee down into the floor.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then relax.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions on each leg.

Gluteal Sets

Benefits: Strengthens the gluteal muscles, supporting hip stability and reducing the risk of dislocation after surgery.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Squeeze your buttocks together tightly.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then relax.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

Heel Slides

Benefits: Improves flexibility and range of motion in the hip and knee, aiding in a smoother recovery.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back with your legs straight.
  • Slowly bend one knee, sliding your heel towards your buttocks.
  • Slide your heel back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions on each leg.

Long Arc Quads

Benefits: Strengthens the quadriceps without putting pressure on the hip, which is essential for post-surgery mobility.

How to do it:

  • Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
  • Straighten one leg at the knee and hold it up for a few seconds.
  • Lower it back down and repeat with the other leg.
  • Perform 10-15 repetitions on each leg.


Benefits: Strengthens the gluteal muscles and lower back, supporting overall stability and reducing strain on the hips.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift your hips towards the ceiling, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower your hips back down.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.


What type of exercise is suitable while waiting for hip replacement?

Low-impact exercises are typically recommended while waiting for hip replacement surgery. These include walking, swimming, cycling on a stationary bike, and specific pre-surgical exercises like quad sets, gluteal sets, and gentle stretches. Always consult your healthcare provider or physical therapist to determine the best exercise plan for your condition.

How do I prepare my body for a hip replacement?

To prepare your body for a hip replacement, focus on strengthening the muscles around your hips and legs, improving your flexibility, and maintaining a healthy weight. Engage in low-impact exercises, follow a balanced diet, and practice any pre-surgical exercises recommended by your healthcare team. Additionally, ensure you have a plan in place for post-surgery recovery, including arranging for assistance at home and preparing your living space for ease of mobility.

What should you not do before hip replacement?

Before hip replacement surgery, avoid high-impact activities that stress your hips excessively, such as running, jumping, or heavy lifting. Additionally, it’s essential to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, as these can negatively impact your surgery and recovery. Follow any specific instructions from your surgeon, such as fasting before the procedure or adjusting medications.

Is it reasonable to exercise before hip surgery?

Yes, it is generally good to exercise before hip surgery. Appropriate pre-surgical exercises can strengthen the muscles around the hip, improve flexibility, and enhance your overall fitness level, contributing to a smoother recovery and better surgical outcomes. Always consult your healthcare provider or physical therapist to ensure your chosen exercises are safe and suitable for your condition.

Picture of Mary Thomas P.T.

Mary Thomas P.T.

Certified in LDT | Developer of the BODi Power System
Pelvic Balancing, Back Pain Irradicator, Functional Movement Restoration

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