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Best Hip Strength and Flexibility Exercises for Runners

Hip exercises for runners

As a runner, you likely prioritize health and fitness while wanting to stay at the top of your game. Keeping your hips in good shape is essential to optimizing your running performance and avoiding injuries.

We have some expert advice from our physical therapists at AdventHealth Sports Med and Rehab on exercises you can do at home to keep your hips strong and healthy. 

Why is Hip Strength So Important?
When you’re running, the groin and inner thigh work together to stabilize your hips. If there’s weakness in either of these muscle groups, you may feel pain. Weak hip muscles can throw off running mechanics, which strains other muscles groups like a ripple effect. As other muscles work harder to compensate for your weak hips, you might experience overuse injuries such as:

  • Iliotibial band syndrome: Excessive tightness or inflammation in the IT band
  • Low back pain: Pain that affects your lower back
  • Plantar fasciitis: Foot and heel pain/inflammation
  • Runner’s knee: Softening or damage of cartilage at the back of the kneecap
  • Shin splints: Pain in the front of the lower legs

Keeping your hips strong is so important to avoid injuries like these. With simple exercises, you can support your hip strength and keep them flexible so your whole body can better serve you to run at your very best.

Hip Strength Exercises
Trevor Hicks, PT, OSC walked us through some easy exercises meant to strengthen your hips and core. These are easy exercises you can do at home that don’t require expensive equipment.

Trevor says, “When I think of hip and core strengthening for runners, I think of three things: muscular endurance, strength, as well as our power production.” The exercises he teaches us hit on all three of those key areas for a well-rounded workout.

Bridge for Muscular Endurance
Lay on the floor with your heels hip-width apart and fairly close to your hips. Lift your hips off the floor, creating a bridge with your body. Stay as steady as you can.

For the next phase, try to lift one leg a few inches off the floor without your hips and pelvis dropping. If there is any sagging or dropping of your hips, there is likely some weakness in the hips. Repeat with the other leg.

Squat Reps for Strength Training
Holding a medicine ball at your chest, drop into a front squat. Keep your low back neutral, drive from your hip as you come back up. Stay controlled on your way back down, almost as if you’re sitting in a chair.

You can add pauses as you’re doing them. The longer time you’re under tension, the better. Do 5-10 reps and take your time.

Quicker Reps for Power Production
Repeat the instructions for the squat reps above, but move through them as quickly as you can and throw the medicine ball up every time you come back up.

“You’re going for the elasticity, that recoil of movement, so that way when you’re running, your contact time on each foot is going to be quicker,” says Trevor.”


Vicky McMahan
Vicky McMahan
I stopped into Dash Sports while on vacation, after hearing about this store and reading reviews that they can help with foot issues and in particular, plantar fasciitis. I have been having foot pain for a year and even after a visit to a podiatrist and getting an insert, i didn't leave with any useful information except i'm getting old supposedly. Kimberly at Dash Sports gave me all of the information I was looking for a year ago. She worked with me one on one, analyzed my walk and how it was lending itself to my foot pain, and set me up with proper fitting, supportive shoes, socks, and a night sock. Faith restored that I'm finally on a healing path. I highly recommend this store.
Adam Cooney
Adam Cooney
Nik and Annette helped my wife and I find shoes for 2 completely different issues. They spent the time and listened to our issues to give us a wide selection of shoes for us to try. 10/10 will be going back and will always recommend.
Luis A Torres
Luis A Torres
My wife recommended Dash sports and Beth was the one that took care of my needs. She was very helpful and patient. I recommend this shoe store if your looking for comfortable shoes for everyday use.
Melody Sinopoli
Melody Sinopoli
Beth was so helpful! This is my new place to buy running shoes!
William Tschida
William Tschida
Kimberly was very knowledgeable, and helped my wife find the best shoes to help her with her foot issue. Very nice location and store.
Bill Sullivan
Bill Sullivan
Dash Sports is the only place to go when you need personalized service and sales people who know their products. You can certainly go somewhere else and get less expensive shoes, but you will not get the level of service that Dash provides. I have shopped with Dash for over five years and would not go anywhere else. Today I worked with Kimberly and she is FANTASTIC. She spent a lot of time with me, brought out several pairs of shoes and shared her professional observations on how I was walking in each pair and at the end we picked the shoe that felt good and provided the support that I needed. You will not get this level of service at any other store in this area. I highly recommend Dash Sports.
Maria Evans
Maria Evans
I love their expertise in fitting running shoes. Have been coming here since I moved to Clermont a few years ago. Just got a new pair last week and relied on their fitting expertise.
Beverlene Shaw
Beverlene Shaw
Annette, was very helpful from the start, I mentioned my back pain, and she took it from there. We tried on a few pairs of shoes until we had the right pair, she made sure I was comfortable walking in them. Thank you so much.
Macquer Oney
Macquer Oney
I live in Austin TX and I. Have. NEVER. Experienced a shoe store as friendly and informative as the Clermont location. Annette really took time to show me different options and reasons for her recommendations. I feel confident the shoes I bought will be worth it! Thank you Annette, Dash.
Abraham C
Abraham C
I needed a pair of shoes for work. Nik was super patient and extremely knowledgeable. You can tell he’s passionate about running and helping people find the right shoe. I tried on close to a dozen shoes, even hopped on the treadmill, and with all of that he answered my questions with enthusiasm. Once I settled on a pair he then helped my wife who was looking to replace her current running shoes. All around exceptional customer service experience. Thank you Nik!
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