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Hip rotation and related problems

Question: Hip rotation and related problems


I am a female fitness trainer here in the USA as well as I power lift. 38 yrs old, Currently 127 pounds, 5'6

I have in the past six months changed my dead lift as well as been doing front squats.

I have had issues with my right hip in the past prior to fitness training and lifting, one hip being higher than the other. Do not know if this is due to childbirth (2 children over 9 pds at birth) or a double fracture to my left tibia that may have damaged my growth plates at age 12 and caused a slight leg length discrepancy(I don't know for certain that there is a true leg length discrepancy.)

Prior to powerlifting, a year and half ago and for the four years when I got heavily into fitness, I did a lot of floor/body weight exercises, or used light weight with a lot of reps. Working out 4-5 days a week. Never had any issues, pain or otherwise, was tone but not as much muscle definition and strength as I have now.

A couple of the trainers encouraged me to dead lift. Once I started it was one of my favorite things to do. I started at 60 pds but realized due to another trainer I could lift 135 and began lifting this weight. My routine was to do very few reps and on a weekly basis, slowly try heavier weight, I kept progressing nicely with my dead lifts. My strength was increasing every week, and felt in top shape. When I started to get into the heavier poundage I didn't have any immediate problems, when I began dead lifting in the 200 range, spinal erectors were tight/sore for days(recovery time was long), but no pain, would just hold off lifting for 3-4 days. Hips were not a problem but at some point started to feel off again, out of proper alignment. I just didn't feel even on both sides. my one son is 4 years old now and still occasionally wants to be carried, so it could've been me lifting him or something I did with training clients, didn't feel like it was my workout routine that caused the hips to misalign again. i continued to just deal with the hip issue.

When the problems really began:

In March a collegue/trainer showed me a different dead lift technique and this technique was taught to him by one of the experts in the field. My lift was more romanian, hips higher up prior. His technique more lower to the ground, squat type of dead lift, hips low. I also added in front squats to strengthen my dead lifts and anterior part of my body. So these were the two lifts I was focusing on.

Another strength and conditioning specialist friend of his I saw not long after, screened me and recommended that I work on my ankle mobility, rotary stability, and to avoid the treadmill/running until my ankle mobility improved. I have avoided or done very little on stationary bicycles at the gym for years because I always had popping or clicking in my left knee, but began doing it more often because I was avoiding running.

Squats just never felt good to me so preferred not to squat over dead lifting, but the front squats I liked, felt i was getting some benefit from. Started having some real issues when doing front squats as well as riding the stationary bike. No knee pain, but tingly feeling around the knee cap. I thought maybe i was doing to much redundant exercises on the muscles around the knees, stopped the bicycle. Continued to front squat with these issues. Hip was also a growing concern because I felt maybe there was something going on there that was causing the knees to bother me. Was also having this same knee issue doing dead lifts, although never had anything like that happen before with my dead lifts.

Went to a chiropractor finally who said my hip was AS or tilted (left hip high, right hip low) and he has been working on it the past two months, stating it is almost cleared, that there is a lot more range of motion in extension. Had another trainer who works at the same gym as me, who has a medical background, re-screen me recently for mobility issues and he says my hips are rotating during certain movements. Recommended some exercises, primitive movements (additional rotary stability work that was more dynamic) mobility work for ankles(also more dynamic) that just are not helping although i continue to do them diligently. Right Hip particularly feels even sorer than when I began them. He says it will get worse before it gets better, but I just feel there is something going on that is beyond his or even my scope, because feel there should be some improvement. I have worked with different types of clients over the past couple of years, with various issues and not one of them has these issues to the extent that I have, without any improvement.

The past two weeks the entire hip region has gone from being sore to extremely sore. No pain but I feel like everything is locked and can't alleviate the soreness in the entire region, no matter what types of stretching or mobility work I do, no matter how long I lay off from working out or how much i foam roll. A Psoas stretch I found on a physical therapy website was the only stretch I found that gave me a little relief but it was temporary. Feel like there is tenderness deep into the muscles and being caused by the hip bones or the sacrum. If I squeeze my glutes prior to squatting, in a half kneeling position or in a glute bridge, it feels like it is pulling really tightly on my quads. feels unnatural. did not have this before the chiropractor work. calves have always been tight and continue to be tight.

Dead lifting is no longer fun for me. I do not feel like I am being conditioned in the same way i was and my body does not feel every like it is ever in the right position with lower hips. My thoracic mobility is ok, but I also get tightness and severe soreness/knots in my rotator cuff on my right side after doing any upper body work, push ups, chin ups, etc. For example I have not worked out my upper body in fours days and feel a knot there.

Feel like it is all somehow related, but not sure where next to turn. I want to see a sports physical therapist or an orthopedist for further evaluation but I don't want to go to one unless I have a clearer picture of what I might be dealing with, and am not sure which place to go first.

Thanks in advance for your help.


James - I will be very interested to follow this as hip rotation confuses me greatly and i'm a doctor and know the anatomy well. I will post my thoughts when I have more time.


Thanks James, it would be great to get some advice about hip rotation problems.


You need a proper biomechanical assessment from someone who actually knows what they're looking at... not a chiropractor, not a fitness trainer.

It's difficult to give a meaningful answer from just a wordy description, however have you done anything to improve TFL and lateral quad flexibility?