Hips, they are the silent strength of the body, until they start to have pain- then they are loud and obnoxious. In the general population, hip injuries are less common than other types of injuries, however, the repetitive and overuse nature of the sport makes runners more susceptible to them. During running, the hip supports over 4 times the body weight everytime it lands. That is a lot of impact that can lead to derailing injuries. While there are many different injuries that can occur in the hip, the most common injuries can benefit from increased focus on flexibility and strength of the hip joint. The following 3 exercises are great at improving flexibility and strength in the hip:
Quadruped Hip Series: (It’s a series, so I’m counting that as 1 exercise- see how I snuck in an extra couple exercises!) This three part series begins on hands and knees. All three parts should be completed with a neutral spine, keeping the belly button drawn to the spine, without allowing the low back to arch. For the first part, the leg extends directly behind. For the second part, the knee is bent and the foot moves up toward the ceiling. Lastly, for the third part, the knee comes out to the side (think “fire hydrant”). Complete 10 of each, then repeat on the other leg.
Pigeon Stretch: Sit on the floor and position one leg in front and one leg behind. tretch forward over the front leg for an adductor and hip rotator stretch, then come up and pull your foot behind to get a deep quad/hip flexor stretch. Hold 30 seconds, complete 3 times on each side.
The Clam: I haven’t been silent previously about my love for this exercise. It is great for strengthening a very important muscle in the hip- the glute med. This muscle is so important in stability of the hips.
To do this exercise: Begin on your side, with your knees bent and drawn up toward your chest. Lock your heels together and rotate the top leg open. Make sure that your hip remains forward and does not roll back as you lift your leg.
I hope you find these exercises helpful. For more specific hip injury prevention and treatment ideas, please check out my ebook!