Essential Tests and Exercises for Better Hip Mobility (And Happier Hamstrings) – Triathlete

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The hamstrings can get injured when they are under too much stress. But strain isn't just about the force a muscle has to generate. This may be due to poor hip mobility or stability. That's it:

Strain is defined as the length under load. You don't change your load when you run – you have a certain weight and you want to run faster. So you're trying to keep the length of the tissue in a narrow window. When the tissue is in too long, the strain increases and they break down.

Three things can lead to overstretching and overstretching of the hamstrings:

  1. Your hamstrings are too short to do what you need to do. Some people do need to lengthen their hamstrings. However, you don't need to be a super yogi to be a runner. Lie on your back, and if you keep your legs upright, you don't need to hit 90 degrees — not even close. 65 to 70 degrees is your goal because your legs are always bent when you run long distances. If you can't get to about 65 degrees, you have to stretch them. However, most people place too much emphasis on stretching. You need enough range of motion, not too much.
  2. You lack hip mobility. Most people don't lack hamstring flexibility — but they have poor hip mobility. Tight hip flexors are worse than tight hamstrings. When the hip flexors are tight, it causes the pelvis to tilt (rotate forward and downward, and rotate backward and upward). As your pelvic tilt increases, your hamstrings are in a longer position at each point of the gait cycle. You will notice this, especially on the opposite side. If you have a problem with your right hamstring, your left hamstring is likely to be tense, because when your right hamstring is stretched in front of you, your left hamstring is behind you and is It's this tension that pulls your hips. pelvis.
  3. You have poor rotational stability. Rotational control comes from the hip and foot muscles, not the hamstring muscles. The hamstrings bend your knees and extend your hips. This puts more torque on things and strains the hamstring when you have poor rotational control. The hamstrings become overloaded and it doesn't help. Having stronger hamstrings in this situation doesn't help. You have to fix your rotational balance.

Hip mobility test for triathletes

To find out if you need hip mobility (as most triathletes do), take the following tests:

Kneel at the door with your middle back touching the door frame. The thigh on which you kneel should be vertical, as should the shin of your other leg. In this position, there will be a small gap between your lower back and the door frame.

Now, tuck your tailbone under so the depression between your lower back and the door frame is gone. To do this, think of your pelvis as a bowl of cereal that you're trying to spill behind you. This exercise is often called a pelvic tilt. How do you feel once you are in this position?

kneeling hip flexor stretch
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch 1
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch 2
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch 2

stretch hip activity

If you feel a huge pull in the front of your thigh: Incorporate this kneeling hip flexor stretch into your weekly maintenance routine.

kneeling hip flexor stretch

  • Kneel on a mat or pillow, making sure your knees are vertical.
  • Tighten the pelvis as described above. Hold this pose for 3 minutes.
  • To increase the stretch, extend the foot of the kneeling leg a few inches to the side (this will rotate your thigh inward) before moving to the posterior pelvic tilt.

However, if in the test/stretch position you feel nothing, or just stretch slightly > No static stretching of the hip flexors is required. However, you should do dynamic movement moves like Twisted Warrior to make sure you're using the hip movement you already have.

This exercise doesn't lengthen the tissue, but it helps to use your hip range of motion to twist your body instead of arching. If your hip flexors are tight, you have to lengthen them. But before you run—regardless of whether you have tight glutes or not—do a twist warrior to open up your hips, use the length of hip flexors you have, and translate your mobility into your form.

twisted warrior

From standing, into high lunges. Put your hands on the floor on the inside of your front feet. Make sure your back leg is straight behind you.

Lift your outside hand off the floor and twist your upper body, reaching your arm toward the ceiling. Twist your torso, not just your arms and head. Stick to the number one.

Unbuckle your body and put your hands back on the floor. Repeat with the other arm.

Do a total of 10 twists (5 on each side), then lunge on the other leg and repeat.

twisted warrior 1
twisted warrior 1
twisted warrior 2
twisted warrior 2

tip: Imagine you have a camera on your chest, and the goal is to turn the camera all the way to the left and right to take pictures of people on either side of you. If you just force your arm to twist, you won't get a picture.

Posture test for triathletes

Sometimes runners have hamstring flexibility and adequate hip flexor range, but they have really poor pelvic posture awareness – which creates the same problem. Anything that tilts your pelvis forward will put more load on your hamstrings all the time.

The test is simple: stand up, feet shoulder-width apart, and relax into a normal position. Keep trying. Where is your weight?

  • If your weight is in the midfoot: great! This is the best place to do any activity. This is your neutral spine position.
  • If your weight is on the back foot: Place one hand on your belly button and the other on your sternum. Keeping your lower hands and abs still, lower your ribs slightly down and forward until you feel your balance shift from your heels to your midfoot. Make sure you're moving from the ribcage – not the neck! Now maintain this torso position with your arms hanging by your sides. Rotate your hands so your palms point forward, this will help tighten your shoulder blades down and down your back. Now, keeping your shoulder blades back, relax your arms.
  • If your weight is on the forefoot: You may be leaning too far forward from your ankles, or leaning forward from your lower back. Pull your hips back slightly relative to your feet and see how you feel. If this puts your weight above your midfoot, that's great. If you are following right now, complete the back foot sequence above.
Posture Test
Posture Test

Once you've found your spine neutral, stand on one leg, then the other. Remember what this pose feels like, and then go back to it every day, every run, until it settles into your muscle memory.

Rotational Stability Exercises

All runners can benefit from improved spin control. By targeting rotation, you can ensure that your core works in tandem with the rest of your body, rather than in isolation.

There are many exercises you can do to improve your rotational balance. Start with the Twisted Warrior above. Proceed to the Ribbon Rump Twist and Roast Chicken below.

Banded Hip Twist

With the TheraBand at waist height, stand at right angles to the straps, and pull the straps around the pelvis so that it sits just below the waist.

With your hands on your hips, hold the straps in place with some tension.

Stand on the leg at the end of the strap (or the left leg if the strap is wrapped from the right) and rotate your pelvis inward and outward while keeping your hips level.

Do 40 reps on each side.

Ribbon Hip Twist 1
Ribbon Hip Twist 1
Ribbon Hip Twist 2
Ribbon Hip Twist 2

tip: Move closer to the attachment to lighten the load and away to increase the load.

roast chicken

Lie on your back with one leg in the suspension trainer with the strap just below the knee. Stretch your free leg next to the sling leg. Lift your hips over a bridge and extend your arms over your chest, palms together.

On the sling side, keep your knees pointed toward the ceiling and rotate your pelvis around an imaginary axis, as you would on a BBQ grill.

Rotate inward past the starting position. With each repetition, the hips should be fully twisted in and out—with your back still and your hands extended above you.

Do 2 sets of 8 reps on each side.

roast chicken 1
roast chicken 1
roast chicken 2
roast chicken 2

hint: Note that your left and right twists are even. If you feel any tightness in your lower back, lower your chest slightly until it goes away.

Hamstring pain?what is this

Just because your hamstrings are sore doesn't mean you have to stop running. Sometimes you have to do it, but many times you can move on. If you're dealing with a subacute strain and you can run with a little pain, you don't have to rest completely.

Just run slower, with shorter strides, and focus on getting closer to you. Or run uphill, which also produces a shorter stride. The strain doesn't come from effort, it comes from a longer position, so most people with low-level hamstring strains can go uphill just fine. Downhill carefully and slowly, with short strides.

Exercise is good for the tendon – you want to use it and load it. To build strength, you can start with isometric exercises, such as the 10-degree incline in the Nordic curl, or the isometric hamstring curl: While lying on your stomach, lift the ankle weights to 45 degrees and hold. Moving loads of the hips and knees that advance to the hamstring junction.

But more importantly, make sure your pelvis is not tilted forward. Everything that stretches from the top is even more important than the factor that stretches from the bottom. If you have a big forward lean, even a small jog, your hamstrings can enter a vulnerable range.

Check out Outside Learn's full course with Jay Dicharry on how to maximize your stride stability, strength, and durability for more efficient, less stressful miles:

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