Pass the Active Internal Rotation, Please

In Restorative Exercise, we talk a lot about femur external rotation: the thigh bone rotating outward relative to the pelvis. (To give you a visual, if the foot is going along for the ride, then it’s when the toes turn out.) There are several exercises dedicated to strengthening and lengthening the hip external rotators. One of the main alignment points of the lower body involves - for most people, anyway - externally rotating too-internally-rotated femurs back to a neutral position. I even wrote a blog post about it a little while ago.

However, it’s important to have good range of motion in all directions that our bodies are designed to move. This includes the hip internal rotation department! For myself anyway, my default femur position is definitely internally rotated. But this internal rotation happens passively, when my feet are connected to the ground (in other words, when I'm standing or walking) due to tension in my feet. The funny thing is, once you take my feet out of the equation, I have very little ability to do any active internal rotation.

I only found this out the other day after this blog post on hip impingement fortuitiously ended up in my inbox. I’d recently been getting some twinges in my right hip, and as soon I saw the title of the email I had a hunch that it was going to be relevant to what I’ve been experiencing.

Luckily I was right! After doing the hip evaluation in this video, I realized that while my left leg did a pretty good job, my right leg was stuck - like, it wouldn’t go into internal rotation even the tiniest bit when I asked it to. I then did the exercise in the video, and voila - afterward I could actually move my right leg into internal rotation! I also felt a lot more space - and less pain! - in that hip, which was awesome. (In case you can’t guess, I highly recommend that you watch that video.)

Restorative Exercises for femur internal rotation

There are also a couple of Restorative Exercises for hip internal rotation that have fallen a little by the wayside, at least for me. However, after this experience, I will most definitely be adding them back into my practice. Check out the video below for a recap of the range of motion evaluation, plus a couple of exercises that will help restore some mobility to your hips.