Are you an antevert or a retrovert?


Since your hips are your bread and butter if you are a goalie I thought we should get to know this marvelous joint a little better.  I can see this stretching into a 3, 4 or 5 part series, so let’s consider this part one.

Looking at bony structure and anatomical range of motion – I will try to keep it more exciting than my University anatomy classes…oh wait…I LOVED anatomy classes in Uni – so I will try to make this as interesting as those.

Mobility Comes At A Price

The hip is a ball and socket joint – that is why we have so much range of motion in the hips.  The shoulder is also a ball and socket joint – that has LOADS of motion – thankfully our hips don’t have THAT much range – could you imagine routinely dislocating your hip?

Um – OUCH!

A dislocated hip is actually a medical emergency whereas a dislocated shoulder is fairly common.  When I was the strength coach at Western University one our basketball players dislocated his shoulder flashing through the key – of all the people on the bench he ran up to me – ‘Put it in. Put it in’ he was yelling.

I had learned how to do it in my sport med course, so I gave it a go – and CLUNK back in it went.  He screamed a little, I screamed a little and the entire gymnasium full of fans went – ‘aaaaahhhhhh’

I digress… Let’s go straight to the video so I can show you what I mean:

If you cannot see the video above, just click the link below

Our hip is a deeper ball and socket that the shoulder so there are bony limitations to the range of motion in addition to connective tissue limitations – joint capsule and ligaments and muscular restrictions.

What is Normal?

Normal range of motion at the hip is about 40 degrees of hip internal rotation on each side (so that means most people should have about an 80 degree butterfly flare) and about 45 degrees of external rotation – the opposite of a butterfly flare.

Now here is the interesting one and I want you to think about it the next time you do your split squats – think of the angle of your back leg.

Are you in more than 10-15 degrees of extension?  In other words, is the angle between the straight line of your torso and your thigh bone more than 10-15 degrees?

I make the correction at least 4 times per day during split squats or hip flexor stretching with athletes who are new to RevCon.  They want that leg way out behind them so they can ‘feel’ the stretch, when in actual fact the hip only allows for 10-15 degrees of extension and what they are really doing is tilting their pelvis forward and extending their low back.

They are using their pelvis and back to extent their hip – not what we want to see at all.

Are you a Retrovert?

I don’t mean do you just hang out in the corner at parties – that’s an introvert – I’m talking about your hips.  This might be confusing, so watch the video to see what I mean.

We can actually have a torsion of our thigh bone – it is normal – where it is either twisted in or twisted outward.

If it is twisted in, that is antiverted and that means you probably have an easier time getting into your butterfly flare position.  It is ‘normal’ for people to be in 8-15 degrees of anteversion.

If it is twisted out, that is retroversion and that means you might have a harder time getting that wide flare – and it is a bony limitation, so even with proper mobility training, you will be limited compared to a player who is more anteverted.

So that covers some of the bony and connective tissue limitations of the hip.  I think I will come back with one on some of the deep hip rotators – the muscles you have never, ever heard of like the gemelli for example.  Stay tuned.