The hips are often an overlooked part of the body when it comes to core strengthening exercises. Most people think of the abdominals and back, but the hips rarely come to mind. Exercising the hip flexors, glutes, adductors, and abductors are all crucial for someone who wishes to engage in activities such as running. Hips that are not strong enough can often be linked to injuries such as IT band pain, patella tendonitis, piriformis issues, sciatica, and many more injuries common in runners.
“Runners knee” or patella tendonitis, is among one of the most common injuries in runners. A recent study conducted on women with runner’s knee discovered that those afflicted with the condition also had weaker hip abductors as well as weaker hip external rotators than those in a control group. This indicates that weak hips can be directly related to runner’s knee and other running injuries.
Another study at Stanford University focused on IT band pain, common in runners. The study not only found weaker hip abductors in the injured test subjects than in the control group, but it also followed them through a strengthening program. After six weeks of hip strengthening exercises, twenty-two out of the 24 injured runners were able to get back to training.
Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent these injuries with certain strengthening exercises. Experts recommend the side and clam leg lifts, as well as the back bridge 15-30 times, for 1-3 repetitions per day. While crunches and planks are still good for your core, they leave out the hips, which, as previously stated, are a crucial part of core strength. To prevent future injuries, add these exercises to your routine or contact a physical therapist to get additional advice on hip strengthening.
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