How to Improve Hip Extension in Runners
How to Improve Hip Extension for Powerful Running
If you’re a runner, you know that injuries are all too common. In fact, over 50% of runners get injured each year. The good news is that most of these injuries can be prevented by improving your form. Today, I want to focus on hip extension and how to improve your hip extension for powerful, injury-free running! There are a number of ways to improve your hip extension. By following the following simple tips, you can improve your hip extension and prevent injuries!
First, make sure that you are doing a proper warm-up before running. A good warm-up will help loosen your muscles and prepare your body for the demands of running. Second, focus on using your glutes to drive your stride. Strong glutes are key to powerful, efficient running. Third, be sure to land with your feet under your hips, rather than in front of your body. This will help you avoid over-striding, which can lead to injuries. Finally, make sure to cool down after your run and stretch your muscles
Why is Hip Extension Important for Powerful Running?
Running is a great way to get in shape, but it’s important to do it correctly. Improving your hip extension can help you run faster and more powerfully.
The main reasons why improving your hip extension is so important for runners:
As a runner, you are constantly generating power with each stride. This power comes from a combination of your leg muscles working together to push off the ground and propel you forward. Your hip extensors (the muscles on the back of your hip) are a key part of this process. They work to extend (or straighten) your hip as you push off the ground, providing the force necessary to move you forward.
Not only are your hip extensors important for generating power, but they also play a key role in maintaining proper running form. When your hip extensors are weak, it can cause your pelvis to drop and rotate backward as you run. This puts extra strain on your lower back and can lead to pain and injuries.
Finally, poor hip extension can also lead to knee pain. One study showed that females with patellofemoral pain (knee pain) demonstrated 17% less hip extension strength than controls.
As a runner, you know that the position of your hips influences pretty much everything in how you run. But what you may not know is that weak hips can be the starting point for most pain and injuries that runners experience in their legs. Adding to the list of reasons why hip extension is so important for runners!
What is Involved in Hip Extension during Running?
As runners, we know the importance of having a good stride. But what many people don’t realize is that having good hip extension is key to achieving a good stride. Without it, you’re never going to be able to utilize your glutes’ full potential and produce maximum force. So what is hip extension and why is it so important?
Hip extension occurs when you push your leg back behind your body. This movement opens up your stride length, allowing you to “fall into your next stride.” It also stretches your tendons, which then recoil and help propel your leg forward. In other words, hip extension is key to achieving a strong, powerful stride. And that’s why it’s so important for runners to focus on developing good hip extension. If you can learn to extend your hips properly, you’ll be well on your way to achieving better running form and improving your overall performance.
When you land on your leg, you should push and slightly pull your body forward by pushing the ground backward. This is the power phase of your stride, and when your leg moves behind your body (hip extension), your gluteus maximus is at its most powerful.
If you don’t have adequate hip extension, you will never be able to fully utilize your glute’s full strength and force potential. Optimal running form is achieved through triple extension, which is when you simultaneously extend your hip, knee, and ankle during your stride. This is when you can produce the highest amounts of force through your body.
How to Know if you are Lacking Hip Extension
If you’re a runner, then you know how important hip extension is for maintaining good form and getting the most out of your stride. But what many runners may not realize is that hip extension can become compromised over time, leading to inefficient running and even injuries.
So how can you tell if you’re losing hip extension? One sign is if you find yourself running with a forward lean. This is often the result of compensating for weak glutes or hamstrings, and it can lead to all sorts of problems like knee pain, lower back pain, and even Achilles tendonitis.
How to Improve Hip Extension for Better Running and Injury Prevention
I don’t believe in short-term solutions. If you decide to join me and return for more information, you’ll see that this is something I frequently talk about. Quick fixes aren’t effective; long-term strategies are. The reason is that the human body is constantly changing. What worked last week may not work this week. Our muscles, nervous system, and connective tissues are all in a constant state of flux, adapting to the stresses we put on them.
That being said, I DO believe in performing regular prehabilitation. Prehab does not have to be time-consuming or difficult. A few simple exercises each week is enough. For example, one day you can do hip extension training before your run, and the following day you may perform ankle flexibility. If you do this consistently, you will find that your running form and efficiency improve, and you’ll be less susceptible to injuries.
However, if these make you feel like you’re on the struggle bus, then it’s probably time for you to do them more frequently. Before runs, say 2-3 times each week.
There are many ways to perform hip extension exercises. I’m a big fan of prone mobility exercises as well as the single-leg deadlift and variations of the glute bridge. Check out the video below for demonstrations and a quick pre-run workout that focuses on hip extension.
Final Thoughts on Hip Extension for Runners
If you want to improve your hip extension and prevent running injuries, then I recommend doing a few simple exercises each week. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym; a quick pre-run workout will do the trick. In this video and article, I demonstrate some of my favorite hip extension exercises. Try them out before your next run, and see how they feel.
If you want more information on injury prevention, then be sure to check out my blog and YouTube channel. Until next time, happy training!
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- How to Start Running without Injury
- Posterior Chain Exercises
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How to Improve Hip Extension for Powerful Running
Dr. Abby Siler, PT, DPT is a Physical Therapist with 10 years of experience in a variety of settings. She has spent the majority of her time treating athletes in orthopedic clinics and worker’s compensation cases. She is a runner herself for the past 15 years and a lifelong athlete. Dr. Abby loves to teach runners how to stay injury free and out of her clinic.