written by Kathy Celardo, Pure Pilates Instructor
Do you find that your hips are tight when you sit too long or even after a challenging workout? Our hips do a lot for us and keeping them mobile is important for moving through life. To improve hip rotation and keep your hips healthy, I teach an exercise called the Squeaky Door Knob.
When I ask a client to externally rotate their legs, sometimes I will see the feet rotate but have little or no movement in the hips. Rather than just foot rotation, I encourage my clients to lead the movement with the leg in the hip socket and allow the foot to follow. I use imaginative cues to help improve the movement by painting a picture for my clients. This gives them an idea of where to move from and how to move. Imaginative cueing allows them to connect the mind to the body and move with ease.
So imagine slowly turning a squeaky door knob with the upper leg bone (that sits in the hip socket) as a door knob. When trying to externally rotate the leg, slowly turn that door knob outward without making it squeak. Then, try to turn the door knob slowly back to the starting position. You can subsequently slowly turn that squeaky door knob internally as well to get more mobility in the hips in that direction as well.
Practice this technique by using a stretching strap or even a long towel. Lay on your back, place the stretching strap over your foot and extend the leg to the ceiling. Moving from the leg in the hip socket, slowly turn the squeaky door knob outward, making sure your foot is not leading. To keep that door knob from squeaking, go slowly. Return the door knob to the starting position. Do this approximately 6 times then switch to the other leg. If you have time, repeat another 6 repetitions on each leg.
Think of the squeaky door knob in various exercises. Hopefully, this cue will help you improve your overall hip rotation.