Poor hip stability and mobility can lead to knee and hip pain in many runners. The main reason for this is due to tight and weak hip muscles. As runners, we tend to do all our training in one direction - forward!
Even when we’re cross training we tend to hit the pool or jump on a bike - which once again is a forward movement.
Importance of hip stability
Side-to-side or lateral movements are important for injury prevention and correcting common muscle imbalances because they engage different muscles groups. In particular the tensor fascia latae on the outside of your hip, and the gluteus medius connecting your buttock to your upper thigh.
These muscles are responsible for keeping your pelvis in a neutral position when you make contact with the ground when running.
If these muscles are weak or not activated properly, they will allow the pelvis to tilt laterally toward the unsupported side of your body which will put tension on your iliotibial band (the tendon that runs along the outside of the thigh from the hip to the knee). It will also increase the amount of strain placed on the knee of the supported leg.
How stable are you?
A good test to see how stable your hips are is to stand in front of the mirror and lift one leg off the ground. Naturally you will shift your body weight towards the supporting leg, but notice whether there is more of a shift from one side to the other. Also check whether your hips stay still, or does one side drop down…?
When you were younger you probably moved in every direction, doing cartwheels, playing tag and rolling down hills. As adults we spend a lot of our time sitting down at work or moving forward when we’re walking, cycling or running.
By adding some lateral movements into your warm up or as part of a strength session you can dramatically improve your running form and reduce your injury risk.
Strength and Conditioning (S&C)
Mbition S&C sessions have some fantastic exercises to improve your hip stability and strength including:
> Monster Walks
> Side Lunge and Reach
> Prone knee to elbow
You can add S&C into your Mbition plan in your Training Settings. View videos >HERE
Many of us are guilty of just jogging to warm up for our run. Introducing side skips, Carioca and Monster Walks into your warm up will get your glute medius firing before you start your session.
You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to your running!