Spring has officially sprung, at least in Southern California, which means spring races are upon us! For most of us, our training took place indoors on a treadmill or indoor track. As a runner, I truly believe this type of training is more mental than physical. Pounding out those long runs on a treadmill or repeatedly circling a track where the scenery remains the same. But that’s beside the point. When the temperature finally reaches above 45 and the snow has melted, it’s time to hit the pavement in preparation for fast approaching spring and summer races. This change from months on a softer surface such as a treadmill or track to the concrete or asphalt can lead to immediate injuries if not careful.
As you can imagine, this change in surface makes our hips, knees, and feet take quite the beating. Everyone takes a different approach to this. For the purpose of this article, I will be taking the top to bottom approach, meaning, focus solely on the hips. Luckily, there are exercises to strengthen the hips and stretches to increase overall flexibility. Make both the strength training exercises and stretches an essential addition to your training program in order to reduce the risk of injuries.
With the help of Coach Darien from ProSport Physical Therapy, we designed a warm up, a few exercises and stretches to strengthen the hip flexor muscles:
- Side Step with resistance band
- Clam with resistance band- Be sure to keep your feet together!
Exercises to Strengthen Hip Flexors
- Weighted Bridge (either with free weight or barbell)
- Hip Flexor Resistance Band with Pull
- Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
- Knee Drop Hip Flexor Stretch
Don’t forget, foam rolling is also extremely beneficial! Roll out the front and sides of the hip focusing on those muscle groups that make up the hip flexor.
Becca Barnhart, ACSM CPT
Product Specialist at Zamst