There are 4 groups of muscles responsible for movements in your hips. the gluteal group; the lateral rotator group; the adductor group; and the iliopsoas group. You can dig deeper into anatomy here if you are interested in the sub groups that make up each of these groups. For the hips to be mobile and free to move as intended, we alternate stable and mobile joints so spine should be stable, hips should be moveable and knee should be stable. To mobilise the hips more and stabilise the spine adequately, the abdominal muscles need to be firm. A few interesting facts about hips:
- Hip flexion is aided by External Rotation because when your femur is In internal rotation you are jamming up against the pelvic bones
- Hip external rotator exercises and stretches can help to improve lower body stability and prevent pain and injuries in the hips and knees.
- You need good strong external rotator muscles (of which the Gluteus Medius is an example) in order to be able to walk with stability and not lollop from side to side like an ape!
- Usually when the Glutes are weak, the low back and the quads take over their job
- The internal rotators (adductors) – if they are tight, as if often the case for women – can sometimes restrict external rotation and limit flexion at the hip
Testing your Hip Flexibility
Have a look at this link if you want to know what the normal range of movement is in all your joints.
You could also try this front lying test
- Lie on your front with your arms out at shoulder level so that you are in a T shape.
- Bend one knee up to hip height
- Now try to lift the knee with your foot on the floor
- Now try to lift the whole leg and notice if your knee drops
- Check it against the other side.
Strengthen your External Rotators
- Try Clam shell using with a resistance band (keep your top foot internally rotated)
- Log legged lift. Start in side lying and ensure you are not rolling forward or backwards). Flex the foot and lift the leg up and backwards behind you. Hold for 60 seconds. Release and try again for 10 reps.
- Side planks – with top leg lifted
- Wide legged seated forward Fold
- From kneeling – Frog Pose – keeping ankles and knees aligned and knees at 45 degrees to hips.
Of course it goes without saying that these should be done under supervision the first time you try them. You can book a private session using our online calendar to suit your needs or join one of our popular community classes or hire me in for a group course to suit your availability.