We should all be able to separate to a reasonable degree the movement of most joints of the body that is the movement of the wrist and elbow, the neck should be separate from shoulder girdle, lumbar spine from hip etc. Often annoying aches and pains and general poor movement can come from an inability to do this. Not always but often enough to warrant checking things out as over time it begins to limit our movement options.
Hip rotation plays an important role in many movements in the lower body, more than you might expect as there are very few movements that are purely flexion or extension. Learning to rotate the hip independently of spinal movement can go a long way to helping reduce the chance of injury or simply reduce the tightness you might experience in your lower back as a result of maximising your hip movement and reducing the work the spinal muscles are required to do un-necessarily
One of the easiest ways to picture how this works is in a golf swing where the golfer is looking to maximise the amount of rotation in each area from the hips to the lumbar spine then the thoracic spine. An inability for a golfer to separate out the movement of the hip and spine means lost power and often decreased accuracy as the rotational movement often becomes forced and as a result less easily controlled.
For a weightlifter or powerlifter this lack of ability may show itself in increased movement in the lumbar spine as they descend into a squat. The squatting movement requires that the hip both flex and rotate. Weightlifters are also looking for good internal rotation in the hip when they perform split jerks. As they extend the hip on the rear leg there is a requirement to internally rotate the hip to maximise the extension movement and lock the leg in place.
Runners are like weightifters in that they require good internal rotation in the hip as they extend the leg. This is in a movement, hip movement during running, that looks completely flexion/extension based.
We will look at two different drills that will help you improve your ability to rotate your hip independently of spinal movement that will aid you in your ability to move well.