Are your hips constantly popping when you run? Or maybe they feel sore from all of that pounding on the pavement?
Regardless of the problem, having tight hips are the bane of a runner’s existence. Not only are they uncomfortable, but they can also adversely affect how you run.
With that said, taking measures to work out your hip flexors will improve your performance during runs and also lower the chances of getting injured. In this article, we will offer you a step-by-step tutorial on how to strengthen hip flexors.
You might be pleasantly surprised that working your hip muscles require little material since most of the exercises you can perform are pretty self-sufficient (in other words, just your body). However, having these few items below isn’t a bad idea, especially if you want some extra support when engaging in hip flexion activities:
This spongey, cylindrical item is very useful for loosening tight muscles around the hip area before you begin any hip flexor exercises. Although they might appear soft and harmless, foam rollers actually do an excellent job of rolling out any tension, thereby creating a more relax and less sore body.
Aside from foam rollers, you might also want to consider investing in these alternative items:
For stretching and flexing, having either a chair or couch helps to perform the exercises at hand. By having an elevated seat edge, it works to extend and provide flexibility to hip muscles through a series of slow, calm, and beneficial stretching workouts.
Whether they are Valsides or paper plates, having thin, flat sliders are useful in workouts that involve shifting your hips to and from, as means of enhancing them. Just make sure that you have access to floors that make it easy to slide around (that means no carpets!)
Once you have acquired the recommended items above, you are now ready to start working out your hips! Here are the steps to follow:
This first step is considered the “warm up” when it comes to hip-strengthening exercises. Not only will you loosen those tight muscles, but also will prevent any further injuries from happening to the targeted area.
Start by placing yourself on your side, with one hip directly pressed against the foam roller. Your other hip should be over it, either on top of it or with the knee bent over. Use your hands to prop yourself, and push out from under your legs to roll out your hip in a controlled, back-and-forth motion.
You will experience some discomfort in the beginning, but push through it, and you will feel your hip flexors slowly release tension. Repeat for the other hip.
Once your hip muscles are rolled out and relaxed, you can then move on to stretching them. Doing so will improve mobility and extensibility so that you make your body muscles more flexible.
Use either a chair or couch for this exercise. Begin by sitting on your knees and bringing one of your legs up in front of the couch. Place your foot on the edge of the seat and keep your knee bent and on the floor. You will feel your muscles tighten from this new position, but it is important to keep them relaxed while performing the stretch. Hold this pose for up to two minutes per side before switching off.
a) For sliding exercises,
start off by getting into a mountain-climber position, with your hands and feet firmly placed on the floor and your torso elevated. Placing sliding pads below your feet, use only your hips to slide your feet up to a crouching position, before sliding back down. Repeat several times until you begin to feel your hips getting stronger.
b) For resistance training,
tie the elastic band around the crook of your knee. Get on your hands and knees into a dog-like position and in a slow, controlled fashion, raise one of your legs (still bent) away from the resting form, and hold it for ten to twenty seconds. Slowly lower the leg down and repeat with the other one.
For more exercises to strengthen your hip flexors, check out this video:
Many avid runners often forget that the hips are very important to their running performance, as much as their legs and stamina can carry them. By forgetting this, hip flexors become weak and unstable, which over time can negatively impact the body with tightness, inflexibility, and overall injury.
That’s why it’s essential to take good care of the hips, from stretching to strengthening them. By doing so, it can ensure strong muscles that can lead to better performance.
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