Hip "Pinching" Fix

Todd Sabol MS, AT


     We all have those days where our hips just aren’t having it. We take our warmup reps for squat or deadlift and our hips just feel tight or we have that annoying pinching pain on the very inside of our hip joint. Today’s article will touch on a hip warmup series that will focus on opening up our femoroacetabular (hip) joint with a series of dynamic movement and stretching. I personally have struggled with anterior and medial hip pain for a long time and after some experimenting I came up with this warmup circuit and it has done amazing things for how I feel now when I attack my lower days.

     To give a little background, there are numerous muscles that act on the hip, which we will not focus on all of them today. We will focus on the anterior leg muscles that act on the hip, medial leg muscles or “groin” and internal rotators of the hip. The anterior leg muscles include the pectineus, iliacus, psoas major/minor and sartorius, which all assist in flexing the hip. The muscles we want to keep in mind here are the pectineus, and sartorius. The medial thigh muscles include the adductor longus, brevis, magnus, gracilis and obturator externus. The last few specific muscles I want to include are the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, tensor fasciae latae, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. The adductor muscle group all help bring the thigh towards the midline of the body or “adduct” it. All of the muscles that I have bolded have various primary actions, but the thing they all have in common is that they internally rotate the hip joint. The reason I wanted to specify these are because they are the muscles that will be targeted in this hip circuit.


     To start this circuit you will lay on your stomach and get your hip and knee in a 90/90 position abducted out to your side, like in the cover image. From this position you will complete 10 leg lifts of your lower leg, which will internally rotate the hip. It is important that you don’t try to go all out on these first reps, because we don’t specifically target these small muscles very often, so start small. After you have completed 10, you will then fully extend your leg out to the side and lean into the stretch for 30 seconds, this is targeting that adductor muscle group and you should feel this from high up the inside of the hip, all the way down to your medial knee. Following that, you go back to the starting position and rotate your leg again, but this time you will hold an isometric contraction for 30 seconds. This is immediately followed by 30 higher range reps of the internal rotation again. The circuit will finish with one more adductor stretch out to the side. You can repeat this circuit 2-3 times as you see fit before your lower body days.


     It’s important to remember that for people especially that train in the weight room often, we target the hip abductors and external rotators of the hip quite a bit, but we do not give the internal rotators of the hip the love they need. This is one of those instances where that perceived “tightness” could very likely actually be poor activation of that muscle group. That is why I have included the activation and stretching portions of this circuit, because you can then determine how much of each you need and learn more about your body in the process. If you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to reach out and always remember to #HealByMoving.


If you liked this article check out:

Anatomy Of The Knee


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