Hips, Hips Hips!

This post relates to my Blueprint for running, which is free to download here – from my other site, The Confident Runner.

Right then. You’ve had kind of a deeper dive into the self-assessment side of things than I had originally intended. It’s where I would start if I were teaching run leaders and other coaches, so I understand if some this is a bit too much.

But, today’s email is probably the most important of the lot. So if you only remember one email from this whole series, make it this one.

This is also why my hip course is the first online self-paced course I developed (direct discount link: https://mytcr.run/Hips10T).

In the self assessment checklist, we are still in the MID SECTION part, but we are now looking at Level Pelvis and Hip Drop.

Look at pretty much any ordinary runner from behind, and you’ll see considerable hip movement. You may see bobbing up and down, rotation or twisting from one side to the other, or you may see a combination of each.

You may also see a complete lack of movement, and depending on what else is going on, this can be just as inefficient as lots of hip movement.

So why do I regard hips as being the most critical area for runners to become aware of?

Here are some things to think about:

  • All the forces of running cross over at your pelvis and hips

  • You have a sling of connective tissue that crosses from one shoulder to the opposite gluteus maximus (buttock muscle) at the front of your body and also one at the back of your body. This forms an X both front and back across your pelvis and hips

  • Your spinal cord ends at your pelvis, and the nerves that pass messages back and forth to and from your lower limbs all come through this area

There’s a lot more to add, but I want to keep this as simple as I can because it’s critical to understand just how important your hips and pelvis are.

If your hip and pelvic mobility and strength is compromised, both your walking and running gait will be compromised and this can lead to all kinds of niggles, aches and inefficiencies – basically slowing you down and fatiguing you earlier than you should.

You will also find it very difficult to make changes to your running technique.

So, what are you looking for when self-assessing?

First, get some video of you running, taken from the side and from the back. You can use still photos, but video is much better because you’ll see the pattern of movement you display.

Then, using the video taken from the side, look at pelvic area to see if:

  1. Your pelvis tilts forward (anterior tilt)

  2. Your pelvis tilts backward (posterior tilt)

  3. Remains level

Some forward tilt is to be expected, depending on which phase of the gait cycle you are in. However, it shouldn’t be very much. I often see runners with a lot of forward tilt in their pelvis and this makes it difficult to access the power and stability of your glutes. I need to add though, that we are all different so there is no ideal pelvic position. Rather, it’s what’s most efficient for you. But, excessive forward tilt is rarely efficient and it can also put considerable stress on your lower back.

Too much backward tilt is also efficient and can put stress elsewhere. Importantly though, we often have to feel like we are pulling back the pelvis to actually get it more level because many of us have a forward tilt to our pelvis.

OK, let’s move on to pelvic drop. Looking at the video taken from behind, you are most interested in looking at the side where your foot is off the ground. For example, if you are standing on your right leg, your left leg will be off the ground, and you want to look at the position of your left hip.

Is it level or does it drop towards the ground?

Excessive hip drop has been associated with all kinds of running injuries from runner’s knee to over-pronation injuries, calf issues and lots more. It’s also responsible for all manner of strange looking running styles as your body compensates for not being able to swing your leg through properly.

This is because the amount of space between your hip and the ground has become smaller, and your body has to become inventive in getting that leg swinging through. You’ll see legs that go around the outside, feet that whip out, feet that turn out, feet that collapse in (excessive pronation) and knees that collapse in.

This can also impact on your back and shoulder movements. Do you ever get aching shoulders when you run, particularly longer distances?

Your balance will be affected and like many runners, you may develop a repeating pattern where your feet cross the midline, essentially going from instability on one leg to instability on the other leg. This is using up so much energy with your brain trying to correct everything, that you’ll fatigue way earlier than you otherwise would.

You may also feel heavy and ploddy, because it’s simply not safe for your brain to let you run with higher heels and your feet further from the ground – it’s detecting a potential fall risk so stops you from getting into that position in the first place. This really needs sorting before you can begin to improve your running.

I trust that was impactful enough for you. I feel very passionate about this and believe 100% that your hips are the key to you running better – whether better is faster, further or simply less ploddy and more enjoyable.

I feel so passionate about it that I’ll even give you a further £10 discount off the hip course so you can experience for yourself the difference it can make. I’m also offering a 30 day money back guarantee, so if you don’t like the course I’ll refund you.

Your discount code is: Hips10T

Or you can use the direct link: https://mytcr.run/Hips10T

Unleash your hips is my online course designed to help you get those flying feet through better hip and pelvis mobility and improved running technique. Click Here to find out more.

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