The hip extension is one of the most important part of running (if wanting to run fast) as this phase of your running gait derives the power/propulsion of your next stride. Why is this important? When new runners here the term "lengthen your stride" everyone that I have seen tries and stretches out their legs in front of them to gain speed. Guess what? That's not going to help you. In fact doing so will cause more harm then good. The way we lengthen our stride is with our kick or as we started off this post with hip extension.
So the purpose of this post is to start a series of blogs on how to strengthen your muscles around your hips. The Tensor Fasiae Latae (TFL), Psoas Major and Minor, iliacus (the Hip flexor), the Gluteal muscles and quads.
So this week, lets focus on the hip flexors since they also play a major role in every stride you make as a runner. Below are a few exercises you can perform to improve strength in this area and make a stronger faster runner.
In the weeks to come, I will post additional exercises keying on the muscle groups mentioned above. So lets get started!!!
Kneeling Hip Flexor
The Kneeling hip flexor exercise can stretch out your quadriceps and strengthen your hips. Bend down on your left knee with your back straight and right leg bent at the knee in front of you. If you are in the correct position, your right knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle with your foot flat on the floor. With both hands on your right hamstring, tilt your pelvis forward until you feel a stretch on the left hip. Hold the stretch for 30-45 seconds before repeating with your left leg.
Hip Flexor Lunge
The hip flexor lunge can strengthen your hip flexors as well as improve your range of motion in this region. Place a workout mat on the floor, and stand on it with your knees slightly bent and back straight. Lunge forward with your right leg by bending at the knee and extending your leg forward. As you extend your leg forward, bend your left knee toward the ground but do not let it touch the floor. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds before returning to your original position and repeat with your other leg.
The barbell/dumbbell lunge exercise can strengthen your hip flexor muscles as well as your glutes. Hold a barbell above and behind your neck with both of your hands evenly positioned on the bar or hold dumbbells at your side (palms facing towards your body). With your back straight and knees slightly bent, lunge forward with your right leg, bending at both knees with your left knee on the floor. Stand back up and take another step forward, this time lunging with your left leg. Continue this pattern until you are fatigued.
Hip Flexion Resistance band
This hip flexion exercise is designed to strengthen your hips. Tie a resistance band to a static object on your left side, and place a chair to your right. Place your right hand on the chair for balance, and loop one end of the resistance band around your right ankle. Standing straight with your knees slightly bent, extend your right leg out and away from your body. Hold this position for several seconds before returning to your original position. Perform three sets of 10 before switching legs.
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