Improving hip internal rotation can often be a challenging area of your mobility to regain. But opening up hip internal rotation range can often pay huge dividends in improving your squat depth and reducing hip pain or femoroacetabular impingement for many individuals.
If you are unsure of your need to improve your hip internal rotation, use the following test to assess your hip mobility.
This video comes from our ULTIMATE MOBILITY CHECKLIST which contains many more mobility tests.
The Best Hip Internal Rotation Exercises
Hip IR PAILs
Hip Internal Rotation PAILs and RAILs are my most frequently prescribed mobilization. These work crazy good and should be a starting point for opening up your range of motion and training the hip muscles. Shown here is an abbreviated version with shorter stretch and contraction cycles.
Band Hip IR Mobilization with Movement
This mobilization with movement can create some rapid changes in your hip internal rotation. The band provides a light mobilization to the hip joint as you actively rotate the hip.
Band Posterior Capsule w/ Inferior Mob
This stretch doesn’t even take the hip into internal rotation. It stretches the hip in external rotation. But a shocking number of athletes have great hip IR responses to this band mobilization so test this one out! This is also one of my go-to stretches for those with femoroacetabular impingement.
90/90 Hip IR Lift Offs
I love these hip IR lift offs to open up mobility and build strength in the gluteus medius and deep hip rotator muscles that aren’t trained enough. Be careful with the intensity of your lift offs because many athletes will cramp because they aren’t used to training the internal rotators in this range of motion.
Band Lateral Distraction IR Rockbacks
Another great mobilization for restoring hip internal rotation. Rockbacks can be great for opening up range of motion but focus on two important things with this stretch. First, keep your back flat and avoid rounding it which will reduce its’ effectiveness. Second, don’t go so deep into hip flexion that you create discomfort on the front of the hip joint.
Note: this one I am very cautious in using for individuals with femoroacetabular impingement. Many other mobilizations in this article work better if you rehab this condition.
Hip Sleeper Stretch
So many of the above mobilizations require a lot of work and/or focus to perform. Sometimes I like stretches where I don’t have to think that hard. In this case, the hip sleeper stretch is a simple move that can be done while watching TV or relaxing at the end of the day.
While side planks don’t stretch the hip, many athletes will see almost instant improvements in their internal hip rotation following side plank work. I can’t give you an explanation for why that is but give this a test. If your mobility improves following side planks, do them more frequently instead of just stretching.