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Kristina Pattison - Hip Mobility for Runners

La Sportive athlete Kristina Pattison on Holland Peak in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana.

Full range of motion in key joints, like the hips, is vital in reducing risk of injury among runners. 

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Ultra-distance Mountain Running® requires countless hours of disciplined training, planning, navigation, and finally execution. During the process, an athlete's self-care routine can easily fall through the cracks. However, just five-to-ten minutes a day of mobility work can help maintain essential range of motion for key joints. Full mobility allows the body to move more fluidly, with greater precision, and ultimately having full mobility reduces one's risk of injury. 

The muscles that are most often detrimentally short and/or stiff in runners are the hip flexors at the front of the hip and thigh—muscles such as the tensor fascia latae that bring the knee toward the chest—and the knee extensors at the front of the thigh—the quadriceps that straighten the knee and help to flex the hip. These muscles become stiff with repetitive use, then often stay in a shortened position with extended sitting at work or home.

The following mobility exercises help maintain extensibility of the tissues at the front of the hip, protecting the back from overarching during hip extension at push off, and allowing the gluteal muscles to work through their full range, contributing to speed and power. For more information on strengthening the gluteal muscles see:

Strengthen Your Glutes

Two Dynamic Hip Strengtheners

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

 The Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch for runners

Perform a Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch on one knee with one or both hands reaching to the sky to create a long line from the fingertips to knee. Keeping the shoulders pulled back and down, maintaining a long neck, and keeping the back straight and hips level, rock forward slightly onto the front foot. The kneeling knee will be slightly behind the hip. Contract abs and glutes and hold for at least 30-60 seconds. You should feel this stretch at the front of the thigh and hip on the supporting leg. Repeat on opposite side. 

Twisted Lizard

Kristina Pattison demonstrating the Twisted Lizard stretch

Perform Twisted Lizard Stretch on one knee with opposite hand planted by your foot. Reaching to the sky with your free arm, create a rotation through the trunk. Keeping the shoulders pulled back and down, while maintaining a long neck and back, rock forward slightly onto the front foot. The kneeling knee will be slightly behind the hip. Contract abs and glutes and hold for at least 30-60 seconds. You should feel this stretch at the front of the thigh and hip on the back leg. Repeat on opposite side. 

Tip: Try to make the distance between your hands as far as possible to open the chest.

The Long Lunge

The Long Lunge stretch

Perform Long Lunge Stretch with back leg completely straight. Keeping the shoulders pulled back and down, maintaining a long neck, and keeping the back straight and hips level, rock forward slightly onto the front foot. Contract abs and glutes and hold for at least 30-60 seconds. You should feel this stretch at the front of the thigh and hip on the back leg. Repeat on opposite side. 

Tip: Ensure the back leg is completely straight by engaging the quad fully to maximize the stretch at the front of the hip.

Photos: ©Kristina Pattison

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

La Sportiva Mountain Running® Athlete Kristina Pattison  Kristina Pattison is a member of the La Sportiva Mountain Running® Team.

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8/28/2017 7:37 AM
Posted in Running By Kristina Pattison

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