Improve hip internal rotation with 3 simple Indian clubs exercises you can use in your warm up.
Hip internal rotation is the twisting movement of your thigh bone in towards the mid line. It is a very important function if you play sports that involve cutting for quick changes of direction. But, it is actually essential for pain free daily activities too!
Hip internal rotation muscles
The following muscles work together to create internal rotation.
the tensor fasciae latae (outer hip)
the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus (upper buttocks)
the adductor longus, brevis, and magnus (inner thigh)
the pectineus (upper frontal thigh)
It is accepted by physical therapists that most people should have about 30 degrees of internal rotation, and athletes up to 45.
If you lack hip internal rotation, your spine or knees may have to compensate movements, creating pain or even injury. If you walk with feet pointing out like a duck, you know you need to address the issue!
A little self massage helps
If you have restricted inner rotation, it may be a good idea to massage the muscles before you try the exercises below. It will increase blood flow to the area, and help prime the mucles to release and improve mobility.
You can use something like a tennis ball, as it is difficult to reach those small muscle groups with a foam roller. The main ones to dig in are the tensor fascia latae and the upper gluteus muscles.
A little warning, these areas may hurt like hell, so apply gentle pressure at first, and gradually increase until it becomes slightly uncomfortable. It gets better over time, so be patient and stick to it.
I recommend leaning against a wall at first, and then lay on the floor if/ when you need more pressure.
Locate the spot between your hip crease and the socket joint of your upper thigh with your thumb. Place the ball over it, and lean against a wall. Move your body side to side over the region, massaging for about a minute each side.
I demonstrate the sequence in the video below.
Exercises with Indian clubs
The are different ways to improve internal hip rotation, but since this is a blog about Indian clubs, that’s what we’ll be using.
We are going to address the problem while standing up, bearing our bodyweight and not on the floor like it is sometimes done.
I am going to show you 3 exercises that progressively increase the depth of the rotation. You are not meant to do all 3 at once. Take it to your level.
From a perspective of Indian clubs technique, I am using basic swings so that even if you have never swung Indian clubs before, you can give this a go!
No Indian clubs? No problem.
Fill a plastic bottle with a long neck with gravel or water so that you can follow along.
After that, consider getting yourself a set of Pahlavandle. Use the promocode P15W at checkout.
To learn more about Indian clubs, follow our 5 day course.
Bring your focus to the area
The key point to improve internal hip rotation is to be aware of sensations, and focus on feeling the rotation between the hip and thigh bone. Don’t just go through movement, put your mind into it.
Use clubs about 1-3kg, aim for about 1 minute per side. Remember, for some people exercise # 1 or #2 might be enough to restore some mobility and function, and decrease hip and lower back pain!
All 3 exercises are demonstrated in the video.
- Exercise #1: Alternating pendulums by the sides of the body in a split stance
- Exercise #2: Cross reach pendulum in a split stance
- Exercise #3: Hand to hand loop into alternating curtsey lunge
With a bit of creativity, with some club swinging experience you can easily adapt or combine other Indian club swings with those 3 exercises.
Footwork (and transitions) really bring your club swinging practice to another level.
Good hip mobility is easy to maintain once you’re pain free. Practice all sorts of lunges, squats and pivots while swinging, and you’ll have better mobility and balance than most people your age.