If you kick or dribble a soccer ball, or do any other activity that requires quick lateral movement, then you need flexible hip rotator muscles. The rotators help move your femur -- the thigh bone -- from side to side within the hip socket. So give those hip rotators several days of good stretching before you hit the soccer pitch, basketball court or the dance floor.
Lying Rotator Stretch
Lie on your back with your hands stretched out away from your sides, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Spread your feet about 6 to 8 inches beyond shoulder-width apart.
Bring your knees as close together as you can, comfortably, while keeping your feet in their original positions. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds, but try to work up to two minutes.
Lie flat on your back with your left leg extended, your right knee bent and right foot flat on the floor. This targets your piriformis muscle, which is involved in both external and internal hip rotation. Keep your extended leg flat on the floor throughout the exercise.
Raise your right knee toward your chest, then grasp you knee with your right hand and your right ankle with your left hand. Angle your shin so your right foot is above your left thigh.
Pull your right knee farther toward your chest while you maintain the angle of your shin. Deepen the stretch -- if you can do so without pain -- by pulling your knee as close to your upper chest as possible and pulling your ankle toward your torso and to the left.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat it on the opposite side.
External Rotator Stretch
Lie face-up on the floor with your right leg extended straight down from your torso and your left leg bent about 90 degrees at the knee. Your left foot should point to the left and your knee raised off the floor. Keep your extended leg on the floor throughout the stretch. Instead of lying down, you can raise your torso off the floor, recline it back approximately 45 degrees and place your hands by your sides for support.
Lower your left knee toward the floor, as far you comfortably can.
Hold your position for 30 seconds, then repeat the stretch to the opposite side.
- ExRx.net: Hip Articulations
- YouTube: Grassroots Youth Football League: Hip Rotator Stretch
- YouTube: Dr. Jason Kaster: Piriformis Stretch
- Stretching Anatomy; Arnold G. Nelson and Jouko Kokkonen
- ExRx.net: Lying Hip External Rotator Stretch
- Hold your stretches without bouncing.
- Perform static stretches after your workout or activity.
- Your muscles should feel tight at the peak of each stretch, but they shouldn’t hurt. Back off of any stretch if you feel pain.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.