How to Do Internal Hip Rotation: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do an internal hip rotation exercise to help with hip pain and mobility, plus modifications to make it easier or harder.

Published Date: Aug 25, 2023

Internal hip rotation happens when you twist your thigh inward from your hip joint — you probably do this every time you walk, run, get in a car, or put on your clothes and don’t give much thought to it. But if your hip rotators are weak and not working properly, you may notice difficulty with these movements. You might also have knee pain or low back pain, because these muscles may step in to support you if your hips aren’t strong enough.

There are many ways to address this, and one of the best ways is through movement and targeted exercises. Specifically, an exercise called an internal hip rotation can help strengthen your hips and surrounding muscles, making it easier to perform everyday activities and preventing pain and injury in your lower body.

Our Hinge Health Experts

Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

What Is Internal Hip Rotation?

Internal hip rotation is a seated exercise that can help increase strength and mobility in your hips and surrounding muscles. Stronger hip muscles can make it easier to walk or run, and they also help decrease strain on your knees and lower back. 

What Muscles Does Internal Hip Rotation Work?

Rotating your hips inward involves several muscles, including:  

  • Glute muscles: The gluteus minimus and medius, in particular, play a key role in hip internal rotation, particularly when your hip is flexed. The gluteus maximus is typically thought of as an external rotator, but the anterior (or front) fibers actually help with internal rotation, too. 

  • Tensor fasciae latae (TFL): This is a small muscle on the lateral aspect of the hip that assists in hip internal rotation.

  • Adductors longus and brevis: These muscles, located in the inner thigh, assist with internal rotation, especially when the hip is extended.

Internal Hip Rotation Benefits

Improving your hip strength and mobility with internal hip rotations can improve your well-being and routines in many ways, such as: 

  • Making it easier to perform daily activities 

  • Improving athletic performance

  • Preventing lower body injuries

  • Reducing pain in your knees and low back 

Internal Hip Rotation: Exercises and Modifications

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Internal Hip Rotation

Internal Hip Rotation

Internal Hip Rotation

Internal Hip Rotation

To do an internal hip rotation: 

  • Start by sitting comfortably in a chair. 

  • Slide one foot off the floor by rotating it away from the other foot. Your thigh and knee should stay in the same position as your foot rotates to the side. 

  • Relax your foot back to the floor. 

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Internal Hip Rotation Modifications

Internal Hip Rotation Modifications

Internal Hip Rotation Modifications

Internal Hip Rotation Modifications

To make internal hip rotation easier: 

  • Start with your feet in a wide stance on the floor. Then drop your knee in toward your opposite foot while keeping your foot on the floor. 

  • You can also limit your range of motion when performing the exercise. 

To make internal hip rotation harder:

  • Pace a looped resistance band around your ankles to add resistance. 

  • You can also prolong your hold times and go through the movement at a slower pace to increase time under tension and the work your muscles do.

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

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  1. Neumann, D. A. (2010). Kinesiology of the hip: A focus on muscular actions. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 40(2), 82–94. doi:10.2519/jospt.2010.3025

  2. Uemura, K., Atkins, P. R., Fiorentino, N. M., & Anderson, A. E. (2018). Hip rotation during standing and dynamic activities and the compensatory effect of femoral anteversion: An in-vivo analysis of asymptomatic young adults using three-dimensional computed tomography models and dual fluoroscopy. Gait & Posture, 61, 276–281. doi:10.1016/j.gaitpost.2018.01.016