Surrounded by several other key muscles, the hip is a crucial component to any runner’s anatomy. Weak hips affect form while running, which can drag down speed and efficiency while increasing rates of injury, according to USA Track & Field physical therapist Jerrica Thomas.
“You can lose a lot of power if you have weak hips,” the former university track star told The Wall Street Journal. She compiled a set of six exercises targeting the hip area which, when performed together as part of a runner’s overall fitness routine, can “improve proprioceptive awareness, coordination and overall trunk stability,” among other benefits.
Hip strength and mobility also makes resistance training safer and more effective, particularly with regards to lower body movement patterns such as the lunge and squat.
The exercises recommended by Thomas:
- Bear Plank with leg lifts (30-60 seconds per side)
- Standing Clamshell with resistance band (12-15 reps per side)
- Eccentric Bridge (8 reps with a pause at top and slow eccentric)
- Romanian Deadlift with hip rotation (6-8 reps per side)
- Copenhagen Plank (20-30 seconds per side)
- Hip Flexor End-Range Isometrics (4-6 reps of 10-second Iso-holds per side)
We at Victorious Academy reckon these to be an excellent set of movements for aspiring and advanced runners alike, as well as all athletes in general—for the hip, as a complex joint and roughly our centre of mass—retains its salience across nearly all performance sports. For a step-by-step guide on how to perform these exercises safely and correctly, check out Thomas’ workout in the WSJ.