30 May 2022
Guest post by Max Roger
One of the common injury issues that runners get is pain around their hips. This can range from some slight discomfort on a longer run, to being unable to even do your warm-up because you can’t lift your legs high enough to run properly.
A lot of what we do all day contributes to tighter hips (which is what often causes the pain). For example, we sit down for hours at our desk, then we slump on sofas in the evening. Got a commute? Sitting in your car doesn’t help either.
There are 2 main things to counter this: mobility and strength.
Strength training is using external load to challenge your posture and position
Having more mobile hips takes a consistent effort. There’s no point in stretching on an ad hoc basis. Make it a part of your daily routine. Even better is combining this with your strength training. If you were to stretch so that your hips were more mobile, then immediately do some lower body lifting such as lunges, you’d then be strengthening your hips in that deeper range of motion. You have to really go as deep as you can to get the mobility benefit.
Your body being stronger in that position means that it feels safer there. If it feels safer there, then it’s going to stop giving the signals of ‘tightness’ and ‘pain’ to your brain. Those signals are there to protect yourself – if you are weak in a position then your body wants to avoid it, and so it sends those signals so that you don’t go into that position.
When I say that you want to be strong in a position this doesn’t just mean that you get as strong as possible with a heavy barbell. Firstly, it means handling your bodyweight, moving into, holding, and moving out of that position in different ways. This could look like squats, pause squats, squat jumps, duck walks (where you walk forward in a squat position). After that you can challenge these movements with external load, using dumbbells, barbells, etc. That’s what strength training is – using external load to challenge your posture and position.
[If you are performing strength movements or stretches and you are getting a sharp pinching feeling in your hips, or the pain becomes worse, then stop and seek medical advice. But if the pain disappears as your body gets warmer during a session, or once you’ve stretched a little then continue on.]