It seems like everyone is talking about how they need to “open their hips.” But what does that mean, anyway? Use this simple assessment to help you become more aware of imbalances in your hips so that you can start to sort them out…

Step 1: Internally Rotate

  • Sit with your knees bent and your feet on the floor in front of you.
  • Put your hands on the floor behind you for support.
  • Pick up your right leg, keeping the knee bent at about a 90-degree angle, and your foot flexed.
  • Keeping your foot flexed and your knee aligned over your hip, take your right shin toward the right as far as you can (internally rotating your thigh) and notice where your range of motion ends.
  • Be sure to "steer from your hip," which means that the muscles in your hip are guiding the movement and your knee/ankle/foot are just along for the ride.
Internal Rotation

Internal Rotation

Step 2: Externally Rotate

  • Now take it in the other direction...
  • Use the muscles in your hip to take your right shin toward the left as far as you can (externally rotating your thigh) and notice where your range of motion ends.
External Rotation

External Rotation

Go back and forth between the two a couple of times, until it’s obvious which direction is tougher.

The reality is that you should be able to internally and externally rotate your femur (your thighbone) about the same amount in each direction. Ideally, you’d also have the same range in your right and your left hip. So, spend some extra time each day "opening" your hips in whatever range of motion (and on whichever side) is most challenging for you, which will help ease those imbalances over time.

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