Your hip rotator muscles are not too evident from the outside, as most of these muscles are located deep under the gluteal muscles of your hips. The gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and tensor fasciae latae are the main hip rotator muscles noticeable externally. The deep rotator muscles include the piriformis, gemellus superior and inferior, external and internal obturators and quadratus femoris. You need to train all of the hip rotator muscles to maintain balance between your hip muscles. It is common to ignore these muscles, which is unfortunate because this mindset can lead to hindered hip stability overtime. This poses a greater risk of injury when working out the lower body or even while you perform regular daily activities.
Seated Cable Hip Internal Rotation
Place the flat weight bench in front of the cable pulley machine. Turn the bench so one of its sides is facing the cable pulley. Move the bench so it is approximately one foot away from the cable pulley.
Attach the ankle cuff to the cable pulley and wear the ankle cuff around your right ankle.
Sit on the bench with your left side facing the cable pulley. Bend your knees to 90 degrees, place your left foot on the ground, and keep your right foot slightly elevated off the ground.
Move your right foot towards the right side as much as you comfortably can while keeping your right knee bent around 90 degrees. Although you are moving your right foot towards the right side, your right thigh is actually moving toward the left side, and it is thus moving internally towards your hip. Hence, the name of the exercise is the hip internal rotation.
Move your right foot towards the left side past the beginning position until you feel a slight stretch in your right hip rotator muscles and then repeat the movement. Your right foot should move behind your left leg.
Once you do the desired number of reps with your right foot, repeat the exercise for the left side.
Seated Cable Hip External Rotation
Sit on the flat weight bench with your left side facing the cable pulley. Bend your knees to 90 degrees.
Attach the ankle cuff to your left foot. Place your right foot on the ground and elevate your left foot a bit off the ground.
Move your left foot towards the right side, keeping your left knee bent as close to 90 degrees as is comfortable. Your left foot should move behind your right leg.
Move your left foot towards the right side until you feel a bit of a stretch in your left hip rotator muscles.
Repeat the exercise for your right side once you do the required number of reps with your left foot.
- Perform the internal and external hip rotator exercises towards the end of your hip or thigh workouts. Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps per exercise.
- Your hip rotator muscles are quite small, so don't use heavy weights when training these muscles to minimize the risk of injury. It is better you lighten up the load and focus on doing the reps using full range of motion. Focus on the contraction of the hip rotator muscles.
Richard Choueiri is a fitness and nutrition expert and the author of "The Human Statue Workout." He began writing professionally in 2007 and his work has been featured in Bodybuilding.com and "Physique Magazine." Choueiri studied exercise science and nutritional science at Rutgers University. He holds an American College of Sports Medicine CPT, and a National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association CMMACC.