The Importance of Hip Strength

Trunk muscles including your hips and glutes play crucial role in helping you run strongly, smoothly and injury free. Hip muscles are so critical to success of a runner that the source of all the running injuries can be drilled down to hip strength. If you neglect hip health, you put yourself at great risk of an injury. Even though proper hip strength is crucial for runners, most of them don’t do specific strength training helpful in bolstering hip muscles. About 70 percent of runners sustain an overuse running injury each year. A study published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, established a clear link between overuse injuries in the lower extremities and poor muscle strength around hip region. It emerged from the study that when certain hip muscles aren’t strong enough to do the work they should be doing other muscles pitch in to support the function which leads to an overuse issue.

Basic anatomy of the hips and how does it relate to a stable core

Maximus, minimus and medius muscles together form gluteal complex, needed for optimum postural stability while walking, running and standing. Together these muscles play key role in keeping hip aligned and decelerate swinging legs while running. Hip muscles work harder and absorb more shock than any other spot in your body.

Benefits of hip strengthening

The importance of hip flexibility and strength for a runner can never be over emphasized. Hips provide the most incredible power and force that the lower body needs to generate in order to run and jump. Strong and balanced hips are important to improve running stride and prevent injuries. Strong hip muscles also help to maintain pelvis level as you run. They also provide you with a smooth and efficient stride.

Hip hike – workout that helps strengthen hip muscles

“Hip hike” is a quick workout that will help you strengthen your hip muscles. The workout targets Gluteus medius. To perform this workout stand on a step that is at least 4 inches high. Now without bending your knees, try to lower one foot towards the floor by allowing your hip to drop. Repeat the step, but only this time lift it up (hike it up) as far as you can, instead of lowering it down. Repeat the exercise for 10 times and do the same with your other feet. Do two sets of this exercise on each foot and do it three to four times a week.

Risks of having a weak core

Hip muscles are responsible for stabilizing leg during running. When hip muscles are weak, they easily become fatigued and risk of injury increases. Weak hip muscles are one of the two biggest causes of overuse injuries, the other one is foot pronation. Weakness in the hip muscle exerts increased stress on knees and feet while running. They also bring about changes in biomechanics leading to decreased athletic performance while increasing the risk of injury. Deficiencies in muscle strength and flexibility can mean the difference between a winning performance and a painful end of the game.