Strong hips, fast times!

Roman Koch 1. February 2023


To exploit the potential power of your legs, you need strong and stable hips. For once, the deep muscles count more here than your large gluteal muscles. If you want a powerful push-off when jogging, you need to train the deep external hip rotators. Here’s how:

This article is presented by Spiraldynamik

The deep external hip rotators are fan-shaped and the deepest structure in the buttocks. The group is made up of six different muscles. The fan shape helps provide the body with stability and strength at any hip flexion or extension angle. As in the shoulder, the rotators centre the head in the (hip) socket. The better this centring works, the more flexible and stable the hips.

Six muscles rotate the thigh outwards, which aligns the leg axis. They can also pull the leg inwards or outwards, depending on the angle of the hip.

Sitting for long periods of time changes the tension in the muscles around the pelvis, resulting in a hollow back. This forces the deep external hip rotators to lengthen when standing and walking. As their length increases, the muscles can no longer perform their function well. This causes poor stability and pain, and a drop in performance. The only thing that helps now is to straighten your pelvis and train the deep external hip rotators.

But if you want to prevent this, the following exercises will help strengthen and stabilise your hips:

High rotation from the hip

Start: Lie on one side. Your legs are bent and lie on top of each other. Straighten your pelvis. Now lift both feet up while keeping your knee on the floor. Then open your knees so your top knee is raised in the air. Close your knees again and lower your feet back to the floor. Now start from the beginning again.

Dosage: 2 sets of 15 repetitions per side.

Take note: Keep your pelvis in the same position. The movement comes from your hip joints.

Variation: Keep the foot of your lower leg constantly raised throughout the exercise.

Outward rotation from the hip

Start: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and tie an elastic band around your knees. It should be tight enough to rotate your knees inwards. Keep your pelvis upright and lengthen your lower back. Rotate your knees outwards. It helps to do the same movement with your arms. Then slowly rotate your knees inwards again. Move your arms inwards again too. Now rotate outwards again.

Dosage: 2 sets of 30 repetitions.

Take note: Always keep your knees slightly bent. Keep your pelvis upright.

Variation: In the same position, raise one leg in the air and now rotate the supporting leg outwards and inwards again.

Step up from the hip over the band

Start: Take an elastic band and tie it around your knee so that it pulls the knee inwards. Put that leg on a raised surface or step. The tension should pull your knee inwards so firmly that you can feel the resistance yet keep the knee axis straight. Keep your pelvis upright here too. Now slowly climb onto the step and pull your free leg forwards and over the band. Your supporting leg should be facing forwards throughout the movement. Now step over the band and back down again.

Dosage: 2 sets of 15 repetitions per side.

Take note: Pay attention to your leg axis. Your knee should not rotate inwards. In the upper position your knee should not be hyperextended.

Variation: Use a wobbly surface on the step to make your foot and leg axis work harder.