A simple way to improve hip rotation
Before I get into the meat of this post, I’ll quickly explain why hip rotation is so important.
Without good hip rotation the forces from your lower limbs cannot be distributed throughout your hips and the tissues around them in the way that they were designed. This leads to more force being applied to either the hip joint itself (rather than the soft tissues) or into the lower back, causing lower back issues. There is very reliable evidence that links a loss of internal hip rotation to lower back pain.
Hip rotation is a key aspect of many sports, I found that my decreased internal hip rotation as a result of playing football prevented me from efficiently “popping up” onto a surfboard when surfing.
The solution to my problem was the simple use of a tennis ball to massage the hip region while laying on my back. It is also worth working on the other hip musculature in the region as compensations are likely to occur from daily life and sports with non-rotational muscles also getting tight in the hip region. I find using a tennis ball a lot more efficient as you can easily hit the spots that are tight rather than using a stretch as stretches tend to be quite global and tend to miss key areas of tightness within a muscle.
The routine I recommend, I refer to as “search and destroy”. Locate your hip by feeling the side of your leg till you find a bone that is the size of a small tennis ball. This is your landmark to work from as the majority of the musculature in the hip region attaches around this point. Roll the ball side to side in the buttock region from the hip and then roll it up and down above the hip. If you find a sore spot, stop and hold it for up to 1 minute and then continue self massaging with the tennis ball for a few minutes until the whole area feels looser.
In the next post I will explain how to rehab and strengthen up the hips so they function more efficiently to decrease tightness in the future. Remember “you cannot have stability without mobility” so by improving the hip musculature you will decrease your chance of a hip operation and help prevent lower back and knee problems.