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How to Tighten the Obturator Internus Muscle
The obturator internus is one of six deep pelvic muscles that work together to laterally rotate your hip. Your obturator internus is located beneath your gluteus maximus, the large muscle of your buttocks. Because this small muscle attaches to your pelvis and spans across to your femur, it externally rotates your leg from the hip joint, as it tightens. It also works in conjunction with your obturator externus to tilt your pelvis forward.
Add Tightness Not Tension
Your obturator internus needs to be strong without getting too tight. An overly tight obturator internus pulls your pelvis too far forward, straining your lower back, which predisposes you to arthritic changes in your pelvis and hips. To monitor the level of tightness, stop strengthening exercises if you experience any pain or discomfort in your pelvis, lower back or groin. An overly tight obturator internus needs to be stretched before continuing with strengthening. To stretch, sit in a chair with your feet hip-width apart in front of you. Lift your right ankle and place it over your left ankle. Bend forward and stretch your right hip. Repeat three to five times on each side.
Tighten While Standing Around
Strengthening your obturator internus can be accomplished on the go. If you find yourself standing around, level your hips with the ground and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Put your hands on your hips to keep them from moving around. Keeping your legs straight and your heels fixed to the ground, slowly slide your toes along the floor to the outside. As an example, slide the toes on your right foot to the right. Repeat eight to 15 times.
Tighten at a Meeting
If you're sitting at a meeting for work, no problem. Continue tightening your obturator internus by placing your feet flat on the floor in front of you, hip-width apart. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and place your hands on the outside of each knee. Add resistance with your hands, pressing in toward your knees. Counteract the pressure by keeping your knees hip-width apart, almost pushing your knees outward. Hold for five seconds and repeat eight to 12 times.
Give Yourself a Reminder
Isolated strengthening exercises are typically performed well when you're focusing on them, but it's easy to forget about such a small muscle. Remedy this by adding a tightening technique to your existing exercise routine. Try a simple squat, for example. Tie a resistance band around your legs, right above your knees. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on your hips for balance. Bend your knees and sit back, as if you're sitting into a chair. During the squat, keep the resistance band taut, which will activate your obturator internus.
Erika McAuley is a freelance writer from Abbotsford, British Columbia. As an exercise rehabilitation professional, she has been preventing and treating musculoskeletal injuries in athletes and civil workers since 2008. McAuley holds a Bachelor of Human Kinetics in athletic therapy from Trinity Western University and an Advanced Certificate in Athletic Therapy from Mount Royal University.