Why is hip external rotation important?
Mobility Monday is TE3’s weekly info corner about mobility. Each week we publish articles to share our knowledge about mobility and the importance of it.
Last time we discussed hip internal rotation (HIR) and this week we are focusing on the opposite movement, hip external rotation. Hip external rotation is when the leg rotates outward, away from the midline of the body (the knees are turning outwards).
Hip internal rotators are used in daily life with movements such as stepping to the side or sitting down in a car.
Hip external rotation activates multiple lower body muscles
Hip external rotation activates a variety of muscles including:
– the piriformis
– the gemellus superior and inferior
– the obturator internus and externus
– the quadratus femoris
– the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus
– the psoas major and minor
– the sartorius
Problems caused by limited hip external rotation
The reference value for hip external rotation is 45°.
Without hip external rotation, it would also be difficult to maintain stability while standing, walking, or extending either of your legs away from your body.
As with other muscles, both strength and mobility are important. Without sufficient strength in the rotators, you may compensate the lack of stability or strength of your hips with your lower back and quads. This can, then, cause eg. knee pain and other postural dysfunctions. In eg. squatting, weak internal rotators may cause knees buckling, resulting in poor technique.
Healthier hips by exercising
The good news is, like with other parts of your body, you can exercise to improve the hip external rotation. TE3’s Mobility Analysis provides great tools for this and you can also find many exercise instructions from the Internet.
Read more about hip external rotation and how to improve it: