Hip Rotator Muscle Exercises

Female doing side lunge to the right.
A woman doing a side lunge outside. (Image: Gerry Hanan/iStock/Getty Images)

The rotator muscles of the hip joint reinforce and stabilize the deep ball and socket design of the hip. It is important to include hip rotator exercises in your daily routine for proper balance, stability and spine alignment. Muscles of the hip include your gluteus muscles, your adductors, which are responsible for internal rotation and your abductors, which allow for external rotation of the hip. Exercises for these muscles include hip raises, lunges, squats and a variety of movements that involve lifting the legs.

Hip Rotations in Push-Up Position

This exercise isolates all the muscles involved in hip movement and rotation in addition to strengthening the core or abdominal area. To begin this exercise, assume push-up position with both arms directly underneath the shoulders and feet placed hip-distance apart. Tuck your abs in tight and keep your head in line with your spine. Exhale and slowly draw your left knee toward your left shoulder, pause and inhale as you return your foot to push-up position. Again, exhale and slowly draw your left knee toward your right shoulder across your chest. Inhale and return to push-up position. Perform eight to 10 repetitions, rest and repeat the exercise with the right leg.

Side Lying Leg Toe-Heel Arc Exercise

This exercise strengthens the inner thigh, outer thigh and the deeper hip extensor muscles. You can make this move a little more challenging by adding light ankle weights. Start by lying on your left side on the floor with your body in a straight line from head to toe. Your top hip bone should be directly lined up over your bottom hip bone with right foot resting on top of the left foot. Flex your right foot as you lift your leg about 8 inches off of the ground. As if you were drawing a rainbow or arc with your foot, rotate your hip and touch the floor with your toe. Reverse the arc and touch behind you with your heel. Continue the movement front and back for 15 to 20 repetitions. Turn on your right side and repeat the exercise with your left leg.

Side Lunges

Side lunges are an effective move that recruit the inner and outer thigh muscles as well as the gluteus maximus. To begin this exercise, stand with your feet hip-distance apart, your abs tucked in and your spine tall with shoulders down. Slowly step to the right keeping both feet facing forward and both heels pressed down to the floor. With your right foot firmly on the floor, shift your weight to the right by bending your right knee until your shinbone is vertical to the floor and your knee is directly aligned over the second toe of your right foot. Exhale and push off firmly with the right foot returning to standing position. Repeat the movement on the opposite side. Perform 10 lunges on each leg.

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