Strong Hips for Runners

Hip strength is a key element of any activity, and is an especially important part of running, strength training and playing golf.  Tight hip flexors and weak stabilizing muscles, like your glutes, can lead to runner’s knee, Illiotibal band syndrome (ITBS) and lower back issues.  Improving strength and mobility will save you from injury and prevent being forced to take time off.  Here are some exercises and stretches that will help prevent injury by strengthening and loosening your hard working hips.  Here are strength exercises and stretches that will get ready to go.

Side Step:  Wrap a resistance band flat around both ankles just above the ankle bone.  With your feet shoulder-width apart, drop into a squatting position.  Staying in the squat position, take 10 lateral (sideways) steps, being sure to keep hips level and go in both directions.  Do three or four sets to help strengthen hip abductors.

Clamshell:  Lie on your side with legs, ankles and knees together.  Bend your knees slightly and rest your head on an outstretched arm.  Keeping your feet together, slowly open and close your knees like a clamshell.  You can add a resistance band wrapped flat around your mid thighs to increase difficulty and do three to four sets of 10 reps on each side to strengthen your gluteus medius.

Foam Rolling:  Foam rolling has been featured in FitNicePT’s blog before (Basics of Foam Rolling) and is a great way to keep your hips loose.  To target hips with the roller, massage your quadriceps and adductors by lying perpendicular to the roller and rolling from the top of the knee to the just below your hip.  Be sure to get your IT band while you’re there by lying on your side, crossing your top leg over your bottom leg, placing your foot flat on the floor and rolling from just below the hip to right above the knee.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch:  Kneel on your right knee with your right shin and foot against a bench, box or wall.  Keep your left knee in line with your left foot as you bring it out onto the floor in front if you.  Raise your shoulders then activate your glutes and core as you push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your right quadriceps.  Hold for at least 30 seconds on both sides.

Have questions about making your hips stronger or stretching them out?  Ask us!  Email today.

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