Runners need to focus on many different exercises and stretches to support a proper running form and avoid injuries. We need to make sure we perform pre-run dynamic warm ups, post-run static stretches, cross training, strength training, core training, and also to include mobility exercises, especially for hip mobility.
Mobility exercises are designed to improve functional range of motion in joints, muscles and surrounding fascia to balance strength and flexibility. If our hips are too tight, we tend to rotate them with each step, which creates torque on the knees and leads to pain. Another side effect of tight hips is the inability to extend our back kick to create optimal force against the ground speed.
Perfect Squat- Simple Exercise to Test our Hip Mobility
Feet hip width apart
Weight evenly distributed through feet
Butt pushing backward
Back straight, chest and shoulders up
Knees remain in line with feet – if they fall outside your toes don’t go any farther down
Work to squat down with your bum below knees (all of the above still correct)
If we try to perform a good squat, but we struggle to squat down, those are symptoms of lack of hip mobility. If we can’t perform a squat by following the proper form and movements, those are signs of hip issues. Once we increase our hip mobility, we have a better range of motion, and we can get into a squat with great energy directed into the squat movement.
Mobility exercises make us more aware of our body and our range of motion, which leads to better running form and less injuries.
Runners’ hips are notoriously tight and we often use them only in a straight forward motion. The hip mobility exercises help to increase range of motion in the joint and can loosen up tight areas.
6 Hip Mobility Exercises
These exercises you can improve our hip mobility quickly. Some exercises are easy to incorporate in our warm up, while others are perfect to add to our recovery routine. These hip mobility exercises for runners just take a few minutes to perform, but as always provide great results.
1. Standing Figure 8 Standing on your right leg, bring your left knee up to 90 degrees and then move it through figure 8 motion. You need to work the hip in multiple different planes of motion.
2. Single Leg Rotation- Hurdle Step Swing your left leg up and over, then bring your right leg over. Repeat reverse and make sure you bring your leg up high.
3. Frog Pose Stretch Start with both knees wider than your yoga mat and your legs straight behind you (no pulling the feet together like child’s pose). Slowly push back and you should feel the stretch through your inner thigh, if not try legs wider or ensure your legs are straight.
4. Pigeon Pose This is one of the ultimate moves for working into our hips, glutes and IT Band. From a plank position, pull your right knee in to your chest then to the ground with your foot angled towards your opposite hip. Make sure your hips are remaining square to the front of your mat (no leaning to one side). Then if you need more stretch, lean forward over your foot.
5. TFL Roll TFL is a common overlooked muscle. Your TFL release doesn’t work as well with a foam roller, you need a small PT ball (physio ball). Place the ball just behind the hip bone on the side, and slowly roll it around. This muscle helps to keep your hips and pelvis stable. This is a good one for reducing hip pain that often we are not aware of.
6. Foam Roller Rotation To achieve your mobility goal, instead of just rolling back and forth, you work into the muscles. Laying on your right side with your hip on the foam roller, first have your foot pointing forward and then slowing rotate that foot towards the sky. Keep rotating your foot and switch side.
Our whole body mobility is also very important, but first we need to focus on the area which is less mobile, flexible and very tight.
Better Hip Mobility, Better Running Form, More Endurance and Speed!