Improving Mobility with Hip Internal Rotation: Stretches and Exercises

Improving Mobility with Hip Internal Rotation: Stretches and Exercises

What Is Hip Internal Rotation?

Hip internal rotation (HI) is a movement pattern where the pelvis tilts forward while keeping the spine straight. This movement pattern helps to improve balance, stability, strength, flexibility and range of motion. When done correctly it improves your ability to perform complex movements such as walking or climbing stairs without falling down or getting hurt.

The hip rotates inward and outward at different angles depending on which way the hips are facing. The external obliques are active when the pelvis tilts forward, whereas the gluteals and hamstrings are active when the pelvis tilts backward. These muscles work together to stabilize your lower back during these movements.

How Does It Improve Mobility?

When you have poor mobility in one area of your body, then other areas become less mobile too. For example, if you have weak glutes, then your knees will tend to cave in when sitting down because they cannot extend properly. If you have poor hip mobility, then your ankles may not be able to reach around the table properly so you end up dropping things instead of picking them up.

If you want to improve your mobility, then it is important that all the joints in your body get stronger. One way that you can do this is through strengthening certain parts of the body. You can also improve your mobility by stretching tight muscles and practicing certain movements until your body learns how to do them properly.

Why Do I Need To Improve My Hip Internal Rotation?

If you want to be able to move your legs and feet in multiple directions, then you need to be able to rotate your hips and pelvis. Being able to rotate your hips makes it easier to bend over or get up from a sitting position. It can also help to keep your back straight when you get up from a chair rather than slouching.

Everyone needs to improve their hip internal rotation, but some people need to do it more than others. Some sports and jobs require lots of hip internal rotation. For example, ballet dancers need to be able to turn their hips and pelvis in order to perform pirouettes.

Gymnasts need a lot of pelvis internal rotation to be able to flip and twist. Ice skaters need to be able to spin in circles without falling on the ice. Cheerleaders need a lot of hip internal rotation to be able to lift one leg up high enough without falling over.

The muscles that rotate your hip are the same ones that lift and lower your legs while you walk or run. If you want to run faster or improve your endurance while running, then you should practice hip rotation exercises. These exercises can also help you to fix muscle imbalances in your legs and lower back.

What If I Have Lower Back Pain?

If you have lower back pain, then you probably need to improve your lumbar mobility because this will enable your lower back to move without being painful. Your hips and pelvis are supposed to be able to rotate. If you don’t have the flexibility to do this, then it will put more stress on your lower back.

Kneeling hip rotations are one of the best exercises for improving hip mobility in general. It strengthens and stretches your external obliques and hip flexors. Most people with lower back pain also suffer from tight hip flexors, so this can help to improve your flexibility and relieve any pain or discomfort in your lower back.

Many people who suffer from lower back pain also tend to have stiff hip rotators. By doing exercises that specifically target the hip rotators, you will gain more flexibility in this area and your lower back should feel better.

Do These Exercises

If you want to improve your hip internal rotation, then you need to do exercises that strengthen and stretch your external obliques and hip flexors. These muscles are responsible for turning your torso and legs.

Obliques

Oblique dancers need to turn their torsos in one direction, while ice skaters need to be able to turn their torsos in the other direction. In both cases, they are turning their torsos while keeping their hips in place. This is exactly what you need to do to increase your hip internal rotation.

To do this exercise lie on your back with your legs straight out in front of you. Keeping your lower back in contact with the floor, turn your right leg out and then bring it back in. Switch legs and repeat.

Start with 10 to 15 repetitions on each side. As this gets easier you can increase the number of repetitions or turn your legs out further.

Hip Flexors

In order to achieve a full range of motion for your hip rotation, you must first be flexible in your hip flexors. Kneeling hip rotations are one of the best exercises to stretch and strengthen your hip flexors.

To do this exercise kneel on a padded surface with your knees below your hips. Place your arms behind you for support and slowly rotate your hips in a circle. Start small and increase the size of your circle as this exercise becomes easier.

Do these exercises on a regular basis and within a couple of weeks you should see a difference in your hip internal rotation.

It is important to do these exercises on both your left and right sides.

Strengthening Your Hip Rotators

Strengthening your hip rotators will give you more flexibility in your hip rotation, however, if you are like most people then your hip rotators are probably weak in comparison to your other abdominal muscles. In this case, strengthening your hip rotators will actually help to balance out any muscle imbalances that you have in your core.

To do this you will need a mini-band.

Mini-band walks are one of the best exercises for strengthening your hip rotators and improving hip mobility. You can use a full exercise band if you want, however, most people don’t have the flexibility to do it properly with a full exercise band. The smaller mini-band is easier to handle and it works just as well.

Place the mini-band around your feet and anchor it to something sturdy in front of you.

Step forward with your left leg about one foot from the anchor point and turn your left foot out at a 90-degree angle. Your right foot should be behind you and your knees should be slightly bent. Place both hands on your hips.

Rotate your hips in a circular motion moving your left hip out and keeping your right hip pointing forward. Slowly bring your left hip back to the starting position and then rotate your hips in the opposite direction.

Repeat this motion for a total of 10 times and then switch legs.

You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by moving your foot closer to the anchor point. This will make it harder to move your hips and will force you to rely more on your weaker hip rotators.

Do these exercises on a regular basis and you should start to notice a difference in your hip mobility within a couple of weeks.

Hip Mobility Routine

In addition to the two hip mobility exercises above, you can do the following routine as a warm-up before you do any workouts that require a lot of hip rotation such as martial arts, golf or baseball. You can also do this routine on its own anytime you want to work on increasing your hip mobility.

Perform the kneeling hip flexor stretch. Perform the mini-band walks. Perform the hip rotator stretches.

Do this routine at least three times every week and in a couple of months you should have increased your hip mobility greatly.

When you want to increase your hip mobility even more you can also add in the following two exercises:

The couch stretch. The slideboard reverse hyper.

These two exercises are more advanced so you need to make sure that you don’t have any existing back or knee problems before you start performing these exercises. If you have had any history of back problems then I suggest that you see a doctor before you start doing the slideboard reverse hyper exercise.

The couch stretch is a more passive stretch and many people find it very effective at increasing hip mobility.

To do the couch stretch you need to lie on your stomach over a table, bed or any other raised platform. Your legs should be hanging over the edge and you should have your arms folded under your body and place your head gently against the front of your chest.

From here you just need to relax and let gravity do the work. Over time your hip flexors will become longer and your hips will become more mobile.

Do this exercise at least three times a week and you should start seeing good progress in a couple of weeks.

The slideboard reverse hyper is another exercise that can be done in addition to the first two exercises above. This is an advanced exercise so you need to make sure that you don’t have any back problems before you start doing it.

This is another exercise that will not only increase your hip mobility but will also strengthen your glutes and hamstrings which are some of the biggest muscles in your body. When these muscles are stronger you will have an increased ability to accelerate, decelerate and maneuver, all of which are important aspects of sports performance.

To do this exercise place a mini-band just below your knees. Place your feet far enough apart so that there is no tension in the band when your legs are straight. From here all you need to do is sit backwards on the slideboard and let the band pull your legs back.

As you slide back your knees should be moving towards your chest. Keep your arms crossed in front of you or place them behind your head.

When you first start doing this exercise you may find that your legs aren’t long enough to reach the backstop. In this case, you can place a chair, box or any other object close to the backstop so that when your legs are pulled back they are just long enough to reach. Over time you will be long enough to perform the movement without any extra help.

You can perform glute kicks or leg lifts to make this exercise more difficult. To perform glute kicks, when your legs are pulled all the way back, lift one leg up as high as you can. Slowly lower it back down and then lift the other one up.

To perform leg lifts, just lift both legs up at the same time and hold them there without falling backwards. Be very careful performing this movement.

When doing any movement where you are leaning backwards you need to be very careful. Make sure there is nothing behind you that could cause you to fall. Also, when you are first starting out, don’t lean back any further than where you are barely balancing on the edge of the slideboard.

As your leg strength increases you can begin to lean back further.

Do this exercise at least two times per week and never more than four times in a seven day period.

You can put this program together in a few different ways. If you are a beginner you can do the two exercises for legs three times a week and the balance and agility drills two times a week. You can also alternate between them so that you do one of the leg exercises one day and the next day do the balance and agility drill before repeating.

This will allow you to train your legs twice in three days but also give your adequate recovery time so you don’t get hurt.

If you are more advanced you can do all of the exercises every other day. This will allow you to train your legs more frequently giving you better results in a shorter period of time. Since your legs are already strong, the increased training will not put extra stress on your body and is safe to do.

If you have had running or football related injuries in the past then I recommend that you only do the exercises that don’t cause pain.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Hip and shoulder internal rotation range of motion deficits in professional tennis players by VB Vad, A Gebeh, D Dines, D Altchek… – Journal of science and …, 2003 – Elsevier

Hip joint range of motion improvements using three different interventions by JM Moreside, SM McGill – The Journal of Strength & Conditioning …, 2012 – journals.lww.com

The acute effect of hip external rotator stretches on hip internal rotation range of motion by CB Bremner, TJ Girouard… – … Journal of Exercise …, 2015 – digitalcommons.wku.edu

Rehabilitation of the overhead throwing athlete: there is more to it than just external rotation/internal rotation strengthening by KE Wilk, CA Arrigo, TR Hooks, JR Andrews – Pm&r, 2016 – Wiley Online Library

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Stretching anatomy by AG Nelson, J Kokkonen – 2020 – books.google.com