Warm up drills are a must before a runner takes off and start the routine. This helps prevent running injuries or any unwanted pain in every part of the body. And because the hips play a significant job to boost and support the running efficiency, it needs stretching every now and then.
There are hip stretches for runners that can loosen up those tight hips and keep them working at their utmost potential. Unfortunately, some runners skip these stretches and head straight to their running routine or training session, which often result in tight hips and body pain.
If you’ve been experiencing some hip issues, you might need to warm up and get those hips relaxed. But what are the best hip stretches for runners? And how should you properly do it? Take a look at the 8 easy and effective hip stretches that you should try!
Why Hip Stretches Are Important for Every Runner
As a runner, I’ve always considered stretching immensely important before taking the road or trails for a run. Every routine or training session isn’t just all about ramping up the speed or reaching longer distances but also recovery and preparation.
To get those hips working without tightness, hip stretches do the trick: they lower the risk of injuries and minimizes the pain and other issues like bad knees, knee pain, lower back pain, and tight hips.
Aside from pain relief, a simple hip stretch will have an impact on your running efficiency and performance. Keeping yourself composed with a few stretches prior to your routine will help you catch up with your training and achieve your running goals safely and comfortably.
With regular and proper stretching, your energy recuperates and your stride keeps the pace. Those hip stretches work on your hip flexors to maintain your running form and let your legs and feet move efficiently, especially when you’re running.
What are the Hip Flexors?
Hip flexors are a group of muscles and tendons that manage the movement of your legs, knees, and thighs so you can sprint, walk, and run properly. It also enhances the stability of the pelvis, allows the knees to bend and move up and down, gets the thighs and legs to function, and bolsters the running stance.
With frequent hip stretches, the hip flexors will function and coordinate properly with your body. However, if the flexors are left overused, they can easily strain and you might feel pain when you’re walking or running.
8 Hip Stretches for Runners
There’s no need to head to the gym or invest in pricey exercise equipment to do these hip stretches. Jotted down are the easy, safe, and comfortable ways to loosen up those hips!
1. Single Leg Squat
Lift the right foot in front of you while you keep the toes pointed toward the ceiling. Stand straight. Lower your body slowly to a squat position. To maintain the balance, you can extend your arms and hands in front of you. Bend your left knee down and push into your heel to get back up and repeat. Start with light bends and work much lower or deeper to strengthen your glutes.
Target: Improves balance, strengthens hamstrings and hips, burns glutes
2. Kneeling or Lunge Stretch
Start in a kneeling position. Kneel down your right leg and bring the left leg forward creating a 90-degree angle. Lean into the stretch slowly and get as much stretch to the left thigh as you can. Hold it for 30 seconds and apply pressure or resist the stretch for 10 seconds. Do it 3 times per leg and 3 times per day.
Target: Better range of motion, strengthens hips and glutes
3. Low Lunge Stretch
Similar to the lunge stretch, start by kneeling down on your right knee. As you bring the left leg in front of you, it forms a 90-degree angle. Put your palms on the floor. Keep your right toes relaxed and lift your arm on top of your head and lean slowly on the left side. Repeat this on the other side.
Target: Lengthens psoas, strengthens hips and quad muscles
4. Single Leg Deadlift
Stand on your right leg and put your leg in the air behind you. Keep your arms straight and slowly move or hinge forward. As you reach the ground with your hands, your left leg will be up hanging behind you. Return to your standing position. Repeat for 12 to 15 times.
Target: Improves balance, strengthens the hips and glutes, shapes derriere
5. Pigeon Hold
Sit on the floor and stretch out your right leg at the back. Put the left leg forward and bend it inward, laying it down right under your stomach. Lean your body forward. Hold still. Do it from 1 minute to 2 minutes each side.
Target: Relieves glute and hip pain, enhances mobility, strengthens hips
6. Supine Knee Pull
Lie flat on the floor. Pull your right knee to your chest and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Keep the other leg straight and extended. After a few seconds, go for the other leg and do the same. Alternate sides.
Target: Loosens tight hips, stabilizes hips, improves pelvic movement
7. Piriformis Stretch
Sit on a chair. Lift your right leg up, making a figure four. The right ankle should be placed on your left knee. One hand on the ankle and the other hand on the knee. Keep the leg still and parallel on the floor. Sit upright. Slowly bend forward, stretching out your hips and hold it for 30 to 45 seconds. Lean back and relax. Repeat a couple of times.
Target: Improves flexibility and mobility, strengthens hips
8. Lying Hip Flexor Stretch
Lie on your comfortable side on a bed or the floor. Bend your knees parallel with the height of your hips. Use one arm to reach your ankle and pull your leg right behind you, leaving a feeling of tension on your thighs and hips. Hold it for 30 seconds. Slowly bend it back to the start position. Do it on the opposite side.
Target: Relieves tight hips, enhances flexibility, stabilizes pelvic movement, strengthens thighs
Wrapping It Up
It may seem such a cliche but prevention is better than cure. Taking these hip stretches for runners seriously before your routine or training can alleviate pain and can even prevent serious injuries as you head on to achieve your running goals. However, it is important to do these stretches properly to fully benefit from their positive results.
While the stretches target the hips, they also work to improve mobility and flexibility and stabilize your pelvic movement so you can run efficiently and perform at your utmost capability. Listed above are the easy, simple, and safe hip stretches for pre-run sessions that you can try even at your own home. Work on those stretches and run without breaking your stride!