Healthy Hips Part I- Self Assessment

By: Keith Scott, MS, ATC, CSCS

The hip complex is one of the most important areas in the body for the active person. If you have a bad back, sore knees, achy thighs, or just about any other painful condition, I would bet the farm that some if not all of the problems, are because of poor hip conditions. This week I am going to outline three common problems found in most people around the hip area and give three quick and reliable ways to do a self-assessment.


Three common hip problems that you probably have and how to assess your situation:


  • Tight hip flexors – These are the muscles and tendons in the front of your hips.

    • How do you know you have tight hip flexors? Lie down on your back, and pull one of your knees to your chest while keeping the other leg extended and flat against the floor. If that extended leg pops up as your bent knee approaches your chest, you have tight hip flexors. Test both legs.



  • Tight hip rotators – Your rotators are found deep in your hip. These are very important muscles for health and performance.

    • While sitting with your back straight, cross your right leg over your left knee (placing the outside of your right foot on your left knee/thigh.) If your right knee sticks up in the air and does not lie parallel to the floor (or close to parallel) then you probably have tight rotators. Make sure you test both sides.


  • Glute muscles are “asleep.” – What this means is that your glutes are not firing as they should and your hamstring is doing all of the work. Most people that have sitting jobs or sit for the majority of the day have this problem. This will lead to tight and strained hamstrings, hip pain, low back pain, and a host of other problems, including minimal strength levels during training.

    • One way to help tell for sure you have sleeping glutes is to lie on your back with your knees bent to 90 degrees. While lying, with your back flat against the floor, drive your heels into the floor and elevate your hips. Perform this motion for about 20 straight reps. If you feel a burning and/or tightness in your hamstrings more than you do in your glutes (butt), this means your glutes are not working as they should. Even if you do feel it more in your glutes, chances are you need work. We all do.


Try these three assessments to find out if you have obvious “issues.” Even if you find out that your hips seem, “OK” chances are you still need work to stay healthy. Next week I will include part II and show you some basic, but effective ways to fix these conditions, stay healthy and maximize your performance in the gym and in life.

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5 Responses

  1. richarddoughtyfitness says:

    great straight to the point article
    i will def add the first assesment tip to my cleint postural assesments, as it seems to be better then what i have been doing

  2. Dpak says:

    Awsom article keith


  3. HY says:

    my right hip rotator seems to be tight as hell… can’t wait for next week’s article.

  4. Chris D. says:

    Awesome article Keith. I’ve been trying to work on my hips lately and this will really help out. I’m hoping that your next one is how to fix these issues!

  5. Ray McCarthy says:

    Nice Job!

    Interested in reading Part 2.

    Please include a lot of info on Glute’s “sleeping”.
    Really want to crank up work on this very strong inportant muscle/s. Have started some foan rolling.

    Ray McCarthy