Hip Internal Rotation: My Favorite Stretching & Strengthening Techniques
Hip internal rotation has become a popular topic, as its importance for proper squatting and lower extremity movement is more well-known. As our hip goes into deeper hip flexion, the femoroacetabular (hip) joint also experiences a degree of internal rotation. Insufficient amounts of hip internal rotation can lead to hip shifts, where we tend to bias or put more weight on one leg versus the other. We are also more likely to experience muscle imbalances, asymmetries, and hip labral tears.
Here are some of my preferred techniques to improve hip internal rotation range of motion and to strengthen the internal rotators of the hip. I apologize for the less than flattering camera angles and the lack of creative names! Here they are:
1. Knee-To-Floor: the idea here is to try and get your knee to touch the floor while keeping your butt on the floor and limiting lateral flexion of your spine. As you will see in this video, and when you try this for yourself, you most likely cannot get your knee to the floor without raising your hip off the floor or laterally flexing your spine. That's okay, your goal is to minimize that movement while maximizing hip internal rotation. At the end you will notice I use the opposite foot to place some overpressure to help augment the strength of the stretch.
2. Knee Inward Tilts: Similar concept to the Knee-To-Floor, but now the medial aspect/edge of your foot remains in contact with the ground. You will notice there is less tilting of the pelvis and bending of the spine. I try to let gravity do most of the work here and just let the knee fall inward while that medial aspect of my foot rotates/tilts on the ground.
3. Active Hip Internal Rotation:
Part 1: Isometrics - In the first part of this video, I am placing a band around my ankles. When I lay down, I am actively trying to spread my feet farther apart from one another. This requires my hip internal rotators to exert force against the band. However, due to the resistance of this band (as it is heavy), I make this into an isometric contraction where I am trying to stretch the band, but unable to overcome it's resistance and create movement.
Part 2: Active Range of Motion (AROM) - The second part of this video involves me removing the resistance band, and allowing my hip internal rotators to go through their complete contractile range of motion. Take note of how I swing my feet farther away from each other. This is the movement you are trying to create when pushing against the resistance band. Performing this AROM can help strengthen your hip internal rotators, and expose any asymmetries in your ROM or strength.
Hope you found some value from this blog post!
Thank you for reading,