Functional Training for the Deep Hip Rotators

The Hip Horizontal Extension Dissociation

By Coach E

For those who want to jump right into today's technique, here it is:

For those who want to dive a bit deeper into what it is and its critical importance to hip function and health, continue...

If you're an anatomy nerd, you may already know of the obturator and gemelli muscles of the hip. But you may not fully comprehend their actual function, which I'll get into in a sec.

If you've never heard of these muscles before, please allow me to introduce you to them, as well as the quadratus femoris and the most popular of the deep hip "rotator" group, the piriformis! [A round of applause please!]

deep hip rotator muscles

As you can see in the image above, there are 2 obturators and 2 gemellus muscles: internus/externus and superior/inferior, respectively.

Before we go on, let me give a shout-out to Gemellus Inferior for operating with such grace, as I sure as heck wouldn't take being labelled as inferior relative to my older sibling as adroitly!

ANATOMY 101: but in Ms. Inferior's case the label as "inferior" relates only to relative location, where 'inferior' means below while 'superior' means above. This is all when looking at the body in the human anatomical position. The human anatomical position refers to looking at the body from the front when it's standing with feet flat, arms by sides and palms facing forward.

As mentioned earlier, this group of 6 muscles are known as the deep hip "rotators".

But much like the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder, while they do rotation, it's not their primary function.

And again just like the rotator cuff, dynamic stabilization is the key function.

Dynamic stabilization involves keeping the head of the femur (upper leg bone) aligned/centred in the acetabulum (socket on the pelvis) when the hip is moving.

This function is critical to maximize force production while minimizing energy cost, as well as maintaining aligned movement of the hip so that all muscles are doing their part to contribute to the movement, and no more.

The ultimate result of aligned movement is the minimization of wear and tear on the joint and all its tissues.

Now, if this all sounds good to you, check out the exercise that will train the deep hip dynamic stabilizers for their primary function to optimize mobility and movement longevity.

Misaligned movement results in muscular imbalances, which results in compensatory M/APs (movement and/or activation patterns) and excessive wear and tear on tissues, leading to tissue damage, pain, inflammation and injury.

Avoid all this and more by following the techniques like this one, in courses and inside the ROM Coach app.

Coach E

P.S. Speaking of the app, today's technique can be found in the Library and in the Hip Rotation II routine. Consider ROM Coach your handy tool for mobility and movement longevity, just like you brush your teeth daily (I hope!) for oral health and longevity.

About the Author

Eric Wong (aka Coach E) is the founder of Precision Movement and has a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo. He's been a coach since 2005 and spent his early career training combat athletes including multiple UFC fighters and professional boxers. He now dedicates himself to helping active people eliminate pain and improve mobility. He lives in Toronto (Go Leafs Go!) with his wife and two kids and drinks black coffee at work and IPAs at play. Click here to learn more about Eric.