Stop Letting Weak Hips Hurt You
Today, all before 9am, I had 3 different conversations about 3 different parts of the hips. Maybe you don’t hear this enough: you need stronger hips. Especially if you play sports that involve a lot of cutting, changing direction, running, jumping, throwing, walking, and standing. And even more if your major hobby outside of your athletic career is sitting. Super important if your primary sport is sitting a lot.
Sound like someone you know?
I’m speaking to you?
It goes without saying – actually, why do people always use this phrase and then continue to say what they believe doesn’t need to be said? It clearly does need to be said.
I could write this article: it goes without saying you need stronger hips, but if you don’t actually know what the hips are and the muscles, does it really go without saying?
I promise, I’m actually this fun at parties. 2 drinks in and my semantics goes to another level.
Having strong hips is important to having a sturdy body. I consider the hips as a part of the core since the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the pelvis connect to the “traditional core muscles”, spine, ribs, thigh bones, and even to the knee.
You would be mush without hips. Like a snake, just slithering around. Or some other animal without legs that digests things.
Weak hips cause a lot of physical and emotional pain.
Stronger hips help with stronger knee joints. Stronger hips help your spine stay healthy. Stronger hips help you run faster, jump higher, swing harder, and have babies - healthy mobility and strength go hand-in-hand.
What are the primary muscles of the hips?
Let’s look front, back, and the side.
In the front:
Rectus femoris and the hip flexors (Read: Gladys and the Pips)
These muscles you can feel by putting your hand on the front of your thigh and tracing up to your waistband.
The hip flexors pull your thigh up towards your body. These are often very tight from excessive sitting. Of any muscle, this is definitely one that needs to be static stretched daily as well as strengthened through the week. Your iliopsoas connects all the way from your spine to help you move.
The biggest hip flexor, the rectus femoris, is a major mover in helping you stand up in addition to being a power muscle when running and jumping.
These are the muscles on the front of your thighs, front and side of your pockets. Beyond too much sitting, they can get aggravated from: large increases in running & being used without warming up
Exercises to strengthen:
In the Back
These muscles are your gluteus maximus and hamstrings. Your butt and the back of your thigh.
They are the hip extensors. They pull your leg down and back. As you can assume, they are important in running and jumping as they make your body put a lot of force in the ground.
Glutes should be bearing most of the work when running and jumping as they are the strongest muscles on the body. Hamstring issues often occur when running posture is off and/or the glutes aren’t doing enough work or if the glutes are too weak and the hamstrings are needed too much.
Even with that, excessive speed and volume demands can make the hamstrings susceptible to injury. It’s very important to have these muscles strong.
Strong glute muscles make very explosive athletes, especially when paired with doing plyometrics and sprints as a part of training.
Exercises to strengthen:
On the side
One “pocket side” of your leg, these muscles are “on the outside” though really are upper butt muscles. These muscles include your gluteus medius and minimus, along with a variety of hip rotators that are more or less, under your larger butt muscles. They connect to the outside of your knee via the IT band. The IT band itself is the outside of your thigh.
These muscles play a big role in helping you cut, rotate, and pretty much help do anything that isn’t moving forward or back - in which they stabilize forward and back movement. Weak abductors and tight IT bands can lead to pain on the outside of your knee or on the side of your hips.
On the other side, the inside of your thigh, are your adductors, they mostly connect from your groin to the inside of your knee. They also are important for assisting all of the movements of your leg, especially rotation.
Working on the glute complex and adductors can help you tremendously with cutting and rotational power.
Exercises to strengthen:
This was a quick view of 4 main muscle groups that keep you moving. Adding these exercises to your training regimen will help develop your athleticism and keep your body moving healthily.
If you have weak hips and want to improve them check out my e-book on 10 Exercises to Reduce Knee Pain. Hint: it’s by getting strong hips.
If you’re looking for training that’s more personal, contact me and we can arrange to meet and create a tailored plan for you.
Get to work! I need to go stretch myself
- Semantics, again. After several fights with auto correct & sounding things out, I went to google. Regimen and regimenT are not the same word at all. I just learned that. Regimen is a plan. Regiment is purely a military organization word.