Standing hip rotation
In our modern lives we do a lot of sitting and this can lead to our glutes becoming weak and our hips becoming tight. This in turn can lead to other problems such as knee pain or other injuries. When we add in additional demands such as running this can increase our risk of injury and lead to a reduction in activity. Performing regular strengthening exercises for our hips and glutes can help us prevent injury and improve our performance.
Performing the standing hip rotation exercise regularly will strengthen the hip abductors and external rotators. These muscles provide stability at the hip during running. When performing this exercise, it is important to remember that the rotation of the torso should be achieved by using the hip muscles of the stance leg. This movement should not be achieved by turning out the hip of the opposite leg. When performing this exercise focus on using the glutes of the standing leg as you rotate.
To perform this exercise, start by standing tall with feet hip width apart. Contract your core muscle and hold a stabilizing contraction throughout this exercise. This is to assist you in keeping your hip and torso locked in as one unit allowing you to maintain your posture and balance as you rotate.
Next maintaining your posture place your hands on your hips and raise one of your legs up bending at the knee so that your thigh is parallel to the floor, make sure to keep your hips level.
Using the glute muscles of the standing leg slowly rotate your pelvis and torso in the direction of the raised leg. Ensuring that you keep the torso locked in the with pelvis, so they move as a unit. Make sure the stance leg does not turn it. Go as far as your hip range of motion allows. You may feel a stretch through the front of the hip at this stage and that is okay. It is most important that you keep your standing leg tall, and that the knee of the standing leg is facing forward through the duration of the exercise. Do not allow the knee to collapse inward. The opposite hip should be bent to 90 degrees and this position should be maintained throughout the movement. It is important that you keep your hips square and level throughout the movement. This will help to ensure that your hips and chest move as a unit.
Once you have turned as far as your hip range of motion allows pause briefly then return your torso and pelvis back to the starting position. Do not return your foot to the floor between reps. Repeat for desired number of repetitions. 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps can be a good starting point if you have already been active and performing activities such as running. You may want to start with less reps depending on your fitness level.
When done correctly this exercise will cause a good burn in the deep external rotators of the hip as well as the glutes of the stance leg as they work concentrically to rotate the body. Having good strength in these muscles will encourage the knee to resist collapsing inward during the loading phase of the running cycle.
The hamstrings, quadriceps and hip flexors also engage during this exercise to provide stability and support. If you are not sure weather this exercise is right for you, have questions about form or are unable to perform this exercise correctly please see your physiotherapist or kinesiologist.
Clinical Exercise Physiologist