Running is a simple but equally complex athletic activity that usually primarily occurs in the sagittal plane (forward and backwards). A common problem with runners that a lack of hip strength in the frontal plane (lateral) since you rarely train in that direction. This blog post will discuss why having adequate hip strength in the frontal plane can help your running performance.
- Injury Prevention
- Running is a series of controlled falls from one leg to the other while propelling yourself forward. As that leg comes in contact there is a lot of force that goes up the kinematic chain starting at the ankle and ending at the hip. If there are deficits anywhere in the chain, running compensations can occur and injury may happen. By strengthening your hip abductors (the muscles on the side of your hip) you may be able to decrease the compressive forces through your knees and tolerate more running distance or higher intensities.
- Improved Performance
- Your Hip muscles are some of the most powerful muscles in your body. They not only provide stability for your back and knees but generate a lot of force during the propulsion phase of running. If a runner only trains by running they may reach a plateau in terms of power output from the hips and will not be able to increase their speed or pace. By progressively overloading the hip muscles, overtime you will gain strength and improve your rate of force production therefore increasing the speed and power of your stride.
- Crossover Potential
- Many runners are multisport athletes or aspire to participate in other sports that require more strength than endurance. By building a solid foundation of hip strength, you will be able to perform better in more strength or power focused activities such as jumping, weight lifting, or agility sports.
Running performance is a complex topic and can be improved in several ways. One of the foundations of preventing injury and improving performance is having adequate hip strength. If you would like to learn more about how strength training can benefit you or would like a running evaluation book an appointment with me or any of our expert physical therapists here at Rose PT in Washington D.C. I look forward to working with you!