Hip External Rotation Exercises

Female pelvis/front view
Hip X-ray (Image: Peter Nguyen/iStock/Getty Images)

External hip rotation occurs when your thigh bone turns away from the midline, turning your knee out. The muscles involved in external hip rotation include the quadratus femorus, piriformis, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus, as well as several smaller muscles. Strengthening your external hip rotators helps to bring alignment to your pelvis and knees, and may improve athletic performance and every day activities. Remember to warm up before starting a strength-training session.

Seated Strengthener With Pulley

The "cable seated hip external rotation" exercise, as explained by ExRx.net, targets all the major muscles in external rotation of the hip. Sit on a bench next to a weighted pulley positioned at ankle height. Place both feet on the floor hip-distance apart. The lower and upper halves of the legs should form right angles. Strap the pulley onto one ankle. Slightly lift the weighted leg, maintaining a 90-degree angle. Carefully swing the foot of the weighted leg behind the other one. Complete 10 to 12 reps, switch the weight to the other leg, and repeat.

Side-Lying Strengthener With Band

The "clamshell" also targets the external rotators, with emphasis on the gluteus medius. For this exercise, you’ll need a looped resistance band. Place the resistance band around your thighs, just above your knees. Lie on your right side with your knees bent and stacked. Place your right elbow under your head for support and your left hand on your hip. Lift your left knee off your right knee -- opening your knees into a clamshell. Complete 10 to 12 reps and repeat on the other side.

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