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Old 01-28-2010, 10:31 AM   #1
TJ Miller
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 5
Default Hip mobility

I have had a plaguing issue with my left hip. I can't get it to externally rotate like my right hip does. One way I can really see this is when I lie flat on my back. I slide my left foot up to rest along the inside of my right knee, and attempt to get my knee to touch the ground. My right leg does this no problem. My left leg sticks way up in the air though. I then try to relax my muscles so that the knee slowly heads towards the floor. I always end up feeling pain when I do this though. The pain feels like the top of the femur is pinching something as it rotates. I also feel pain in either my gracilis or adductor muscles. It hurts really in that area when I try to raise my knee back off the ground.

The problem this is causing is with my squat. My right leg ends up in a deeper squat than my left. You can see it clearly in this video of my clean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDNFMI9bWeo

I have developed pain in my right IT band because of all the deep squatting I have been doing in this program. I know the hip is the problem, but I don't know how to rectify it. Any help would be appreciated.
"Some one once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become."

TJ Miller
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:10 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,091

Do you play any sports? Or have a job that requires you to sit a lot or other possible weird things?

Usually some ball sports where you're throwing can jack up mobility issues in your hips. Same with too much sitting.

How tight are your left hip flexors?

Put heat on your hip area around the greater trochanter, hip flexors, and adductors too for about 10-15 minutes. Then loosen them up with massage for 10-15 minutes. Then stretch them out with some PNF for 10-15 minutes.

Get the adductors, hip flexors, external and internal rotators, and IT band. See how it does if you gain more mobility.

Here's internal rotators stretch:

Rest you can look up on youtube if you need help.

I am almost certain it's likely your left hip flexors and adductors giving you issues. If they're too tight then when you try to rotate your hip you can get some impingement of the joint which is what you're feeling "pinching" as you rotate.
Posts NOT intended as professional medical, training or nutrition advice.
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:18 PM   #3
TJ Miller
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 5

I tend to sit around a lot when I'm not working out or at work. I don't do any sports now, but I did run cross country and track for 10 years before I found CrossFit. I've been CrossFitting for about a year, and just started do the CA workouts. I think the running is why I have such poor flexibility.

I do have a tight hip flexor. My right one is a lot more flexible. I'll definitely try heating and massaging before I stretch. Hopefully that'll take some of the pain out of trying to open the hip. Thanks for the help!
"Some one once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become."

TJ Miller
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Old 01-30-2010, 07:34 PM   #4
Ben Moskowitz
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 151

To work on adductor/internal rotator flexiblity you can try some of the following:

Butterfly stretch (however if this doesn't stretch the affected limb, keep reading)

Frog Stretch
I've used the first of these two styles, although I like to put my feet flat against a wall for leverage and shove my hips horizontally backwards. In my experience, the second style requires enough flexibility to butterfly correctly (and thus not very useful to me yet), but I could be wrong. You might try PNF by contracting the adductors, shoving the hips back, repeat. Maybe widen the knee position during the PNF session as you get looser.
3) Groin (adductor) stretch – While kneeling on both knees, take the knees as far apart as they can go within your pain free limits. Lean forward and rest on your elbows. Keep the arches on the feet flat on the ground. Keep the back straight and lean slowly backwards towards the feet until a stretch is felt in the groin.
Check out the full article "The Hockey Groin"

Horse Stance
Terribly painful, but highly effective. I'm slowing working up to it. Full article by Thomas Kurz here.

Weighted Half-Butterfly
I'm trying to emulate this kind of setup:

A partner is ideal, but let's assume one's not available. Grab a plate and head over to the stall bars (or any sturdy structure close to the floor). Lie down parallel to the stall bars, put the weight on the femur/knee, and take hold of the stall bars. Pushing and/or pulling on the stall bars functions as the PT's right hand, counteracting the body's desire to just rotate over. The weight serves as the PT's left hand. Relax/PNF away. Also consider crossing the weighted leg's ankle over the other knee.

Another option is to shoot for this setup:

with two weights (or a partner), but I find that I get a better stretch attacking one leg at a time.
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:37 PM   #5
Andew Cattermole
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 41

Here's a Contract relax version we use


Hope that's helpful
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:57 AM   #6
TJ Miller
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 5

Thanks for the stretches guys! That half butterfly was what I was trying to describe in my first post. It's the stretch that hurts my adductor and piriformis? so bad. I'm seeing a little bit of progress though with all the stretching and lacross ball PT. I'm hoping it gets to the point where my hip stops hurting and just opens up like my other one.
"Some one once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become."

TJ Miller
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