Is Limited Hip Internal Rotation Behind your Hip Pain?

hip hip flexibility hip internal rotation hip pain May 10, 2021
Improve Hip Internal Rotation

Have you been told you have limited hip internal rotation and think it may be what's behind your hip pain?  Often times, optimizing this movement pattern can dramatically improve hip discomfort.  

After improving my own capacity to internally rotate my hips and helping many clients do the same, I've found that targeting this movement is essential in a well-rounded corrective exercise program. 

Why is Hip Internal Rotation important? 

Before we dive into how to improve hip internal rotation, let’s briefly explain why it matters.  Hip internal rotation is one of the 6 main movements of the hip, including external rotation, flexion, extension, adduction and abduction. 

If any of these movements are weak, limited or functioning poorly, we can experience pain or discomfort in the hip.  In my experience working with clients, hip internal rotation seems to be the most common movement weakness I see.  This might be because of how rarely we use this movement pattern in current everyday life. 

How do I know whether I am Limited in Hip Internal Rotation?

Just because hip internal rotation is a common limitation for many people, this doesn’t mean that YOU are limited in this movement pattern.  My recommendation to everyone who works on mobility and corrective exercise is to always assess whether a particular movement or exercise is worth your time. 

For a beginner, the below assessment from my Free Beginner Hip Assessments Course is a perfect way to determine whether you have a significant limitation in hip internal rotation.  Just for clarity, I define a beginner as someone who never went through a mobility or flexibility training cycle.  If you’ve been active in sports, strength training, yoga or other modalities, I still consider you a beginner for purposes of this assessment. 

If you achieved 2 points or less in this assessment, I would highly recommend incorporating some type of internal rotation work (see exercises below) into your training.  

If you scored 3 points, this might not be as urgent for you but please remember that this assessment is for beginners.  So if you are training for performance purposes, there may be additional internal rotation assessments that may be better suited for you.  

Useful Exercises to Improve Hip Internal Rotation 

If you scored poorly on the above assessment and are looking to improve your internal rotation capacity, I recommend experimenting with the below exercises.  They may take some time to fully master but if you stay consistent and curious, I’m confident you can get a lot out of one or both of these corrective exercises: 


Closing Thoughts

Improving hip internal rotation takes time,  Especially for those that are significantly limited in this movement.  However, despite what you may have heard or read, it is entirely possible to improve.   I can tell you this from personal experience.  

Years ago, my score on the assessment would’ve definitely been a 0.  I’m certainly no gymnast now but my capacity is slowly getting better as I continue to work on it every training cycle. I have also seen many clients slowly improve their rotation capacity - both internal and external - despite being severely limited when we first started working together.