Below are two great videos looking at controlling hip flexion - an important part of your running cycle.
The first looks at a simple exercise to assess your movement patterns. Try it and see how you get on:
The second looks at a more well-known training exercise: the lunge. Now it’s okay to move in different ways, choice of movement is the ultimate goal for all, so again try this simple movement and see if you can control the upper body as per the video.
In runners with poor hip control we often observe the following common faults:
1.Male runners tend to twist more when they run.
2.Female runners tend to anteriorly tilt their pelvis (as per the second video).
3.Both men and women often tend to lean forwards when they are running to hide restriction in the hips. If you run with a running partner then this will be obvious, so take a look.
These faults can lead to many various running injuries which you will be keen to avoid. For example: shin splints, plantar fasciitis; back pain; adductor / groin problems, hamstring tendinopathies, calf tightness & knee pain on the patella.
How to develop your hip strength to run faster
Running requires both a good hip range and hip control to allow you to unleash maximum power in this region. It is not as simple as looking at your hip strength, you also need to understand how you move. If you do find this is an area of weakness, it's good news: as you have vast amounts of unused potential sitting there waiting to be developed.
The above video focuses on the two key elements required to unleash the potential of your hips. First identify if this is a problem area for you, then begin retraining. Your retraining needs to be at two levels:
1. Neural training: getting your brain to understand how to access this muscle effectively thus maximising your stability and therefore allowing your muscles to focus on their role when running - deep glutes for control, hamstrings and superficial glutes for speed.
2. Strength Training: taking your muscles to fatigue so they are perform well into your long runs. This does not need to be heavy weight training, in this case single leg, control focused fatiguing will have the desired effect.
Remember you will transform your running if you put in the work. Developing your hip strength for running is a great place for many to start.
Body Logic Health are the movement & performance specialists. They have put together a team of experts who can remove your pain efficiently and develop your movement patterns to help create movement health. They offer performance and lifestyle programmes to help you reach your goals. Join them in-store at our pop-up for a variety of running workshops!