Your hip joint is one of the most versatile joints in your body. Lateral, or external, hip rotation is one of the hip joint's movements; others include extension, flexion, abduction, adduction and internal rotation. A couple of concentric exercises for external rotation are seated hip external rotation and side lunges. These exercises are considered to be concentric because they are dynamic movements, causing the muscle to shorten as it is being contracted. Perform these exercises regularly for a stable hip joint that will keep you on the move.
Before starting your exercise routine, warm up the muscles that you are going to be using. Start with a couple of minutes of light jogging or brisk walking to get the blood flowing and muscles loosened up. After walking or jogging, perform a few dynamic stretches that involve the hip joint. This could include bodyweight side lunges, knee hugs, side knee raises and side knee raises accompanied by rotation of the knee to the front of the body. Since you'll be doing concentric exercises directly after your warmup, include dynamic stretches.
Seated Hip External Rotation
There are a few different ways you can add resistance with the seated hip external rotation. You can use a cable pulley system by attaching the cable ankle cuff to your ankle nearest the machine. Another option is using a resistance band that is securely attached to a stationary object and your ankle. If you do not have a cable pulley system or a resistance band, you can have a friend apply resistance by pushing against your ankle as you push against them. To perform this exercise, keep your thigh in place in front of the body and rotate your ankle and lower leg out to the side of your body. Resistance should be applied when you pull your ankle back toward your other ankle. This may seem backward, but as you are rotating your lower leg in, your hip is rotating out. Be sure to only rotate your lower leg out as far as you feel comfortable, and start with a light resistance and increase gradually.
Side lunges are a great exercise for adduction and hip external rotation. To add more emphasis on external rotation, while stepping to the side point your toes and knee out. This will cause your hips to open by external rotation. As you push back up to the standing position, rotate your toes and knee forward. Alternate which side you are stepping to each time, and perform the same number of side lunges going each direction to keep the muscles balanced. While performing the side lunge, make sure your knee does not go over your toe and keep your chest up and shoulders back.
After exercising, it is a good idea to stretch the muscles you were using. One simple stretch you can perform after external hip rotation exercises is done seated on either a bench or chair. Cross your legs, one thigh over the other, lean your body down toward your legs, and hold the stretch. Make sure you switch legs and perform the stretch on the other side as well. If you do not like that stretch, you can try a different stretch that is performed lying on your back. Keep one leg straight and on the ground, while bending your other leg with your foot rotated in toward your body so that with one hand you are holding your knee and with your other hand you are holding your ankle. Pull both your knee and ankle in toward your body and hold the stretch. Then switch legs and stretch the other side. Hold each stretch for a minimum of 15 seconds.
Jacquelyn Slater is a certified strength-and-conditioning specialist and group fitness instructor. Slater earned a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Slippery Rock University and a Master of Sciece in health and fitness from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently serves as the health and wellness director at the Titusville YMCA.