The Obturator Externus Muscles Exercise
The obdurator externus muscle is located in the pelvis and works in conjunction with other muscles to externally, or laterally, rotate your leg at your hip. Also, it is a primary muscle that abducts, or pulls away, your knee from your body when you are sitting. In the gym, you may use the abductor, or outer thigh, machine to work this muscle. However, in the absence of specialized equipment, there are a variety of ways to target the obdurator externus muscle to strengthen and stretch it.
Resisted Exercises for External Rotation
As the obdurator externus helps in performing two different movements, you will need to provide resistance to each direction of movement to target the entire muscle. For external rotation, add resistance as you rotate your hip to turn your toes from facing forward to facing outward to your side. While sitting, resist this movement by wrapping a towel or resistance band around the outside of your foot and slowly rotate externally against the resistance, taking care to control your movement as you return to the starting position to activate eccentric contractions.
Resistance with Seated Abduction
Abduct your thighs while sitting by moving your knees from directly in front of you to pointing outwards to the sides as far as they can. You can strengthen the obdurator externus by wrapping the resistance band around your lower thigh and abducting your knees as you sit on a bench or chair without arms. To increase the intensity, wrap weighted cuffs around your ankles and lift one foot at a time a few inches off the ground as you abduct your knee. This advanced exercise will also target your lower pelvis and abdominal muscles.
Perform a dynamic exercise to hone in on your obdurator externus muscle. If you don't have a platform for this exercise, you can replace it with any household item of the same size and height, such as several pillows stacked on top of each other, taking care not to trip on these items as you bring your leg over the pile. Start to the left side of the pile and keeping your left foot planted, raise and abduct your leg with your knee bent to reach over to the other side of the platform. Shift your weight and bring your left leg over to the right side and repeat starting from the right side.
Stretching the Obdurator Externus
Stretch your obdurator externus at the end of your exercise by bringing your left leg over to the right of your right leg, with your left knee bent slightly. Hold the leg crossover stretch for at least 30 seconds, trying to relax your outer thigh muscles as you breathe deeply in and out. Repeat five to ten times.
Melissa Sabo is an occupational therapist who started writing professional guidebooks for all Flagship Rehabilitation employees in 2009. Specializing in applied therapy and exercise for non-medical readers, she also coauthored a manual on wheelchair positioning. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in occupational therapy.