Happy Friday runners/soon to be runners/those who still loathe running! We are on standard #5 from Ready to Run.
Standard #5: Hip Flexion
Many runners do not meet the standard of balanced, powerful hip function. If you spend a good portion of your day sitting, run often, or train frequently, your tissues can shorten and restrict your hip flexion with will deteriorate your overall hip function. Your potential as a healthy, fit person goes down, and your injury potential goes up. You might be
thinking, wait, aren’t I practicing hip flexion all the time when I set in my chair? The hip flexion that occurs when you sit in a chair is short of the range needed to be called “normal”. If you sit up nice and tall, you’re at 90 degrees. That is 30 degrees short of where you need to be. The AAOS (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons) says that 120 degrees gets you a passing grade of normal. The pic above shows the difference between flexion and extension, just to make sure we’re all on the same page. The abduction and internal/external rotation pics are not pertinent to this discussion.
A research study conducted in 2002 compared 30 healthy runners to 30 chronically injured runners. One of the most significant differences was that the injured runners had weak hip flexors and abductors (outside of hips). A benefit of having normal range of motion and function in your hips is that it makes it a lot easier to move from one good position to another good position. When you’re running, a lack of hip extension of hip flexion forces you to make mechanical compromises downstream to generate the stability you need as you shift from position to position.
Super ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes runs across the country, on treadmills, and has finished epic races like the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon many times. Injury free. His secret? “I rarely sit down”. He works at standing desks and breaks up desk time with occasional squats, push-ups, and pull-ups. For the average desk worker, try to get up every 15 minutes or so, shake things out, and go through the bracing sequence. With your pelvis reset and your spine organized, keep your butt and ab muscles on at about 20% tension and resume your seat.
The test for the Standard:
*Perform the test while standing in order to test your functionality with a small dose of load and balance work. You need to be able to demonstrate normal flexion in each hip. You’ve passed the standard when you can maintain sufficient, 120-degree hip flexion for 30 seconds, standing on one leg and then repeating with the other leg. If you’ve mastered this, now do it with your eyes closed.
Here is what it looks like (straight from Dr. Kelly Starrett’s book).
Hop to it people!