The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Weak Hips on Purpose? Running Injury and Hip Strengthening

Who works their hips? Fitness Fixer success story Robert Davis wrote me several

Marine of the United States Marine Corps runs ...

notes that the weightlifters he knew didn't want to exercise their hip because they thought it would take away from the "V shape" they worked for.

Mr. Davis said that using my daily good bending and other functional exercise worked his hip greatly. He was pleased with reduction of stiffness and pain and increase in strength and mobility. No decrease in "V-shape."

The May/June 2009 issue of Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, published a study based on a literature review, concluding that running injuries to the lower leg may have more to do with weak hip muscles than how many miles run. Lead author Reed Ferber, Assistant Professor and Director of the Running Injury Clinic from the University of Calgary stated ”Hip muscle weakness especially appears to lead to atypical lower extremity mechanics and increases forces on knees and feet while running.” He also stated, "Based on a literature review, it appears that foot pronation (turning the arch and ankle flatter to the ground, and/or the knee inward) and inadequate hip muscle stabilization are the top categories for injury.”

From my own work in this area, I found that strengthening alone won't make you run with good mechanics, prevent pronating, or other injurious habits, you need to retrain them too. Not hard. Stopping your life to do rehab exercises then returning to bad daily movement also isn't so helpful. My work builds-in both strengthening and mechanics to daily life - functional exercise. Robert Davis has been sending in his successes fixing back and other injury using functional fitness.

Robert Davis writes:

"I had made a slight error in my story! I just wanted to let you know.. I had not ordered fix your own pain till only about 4 weeks ago cause I was looking at my expenses and the Amazon one came up!

"So to see how rapidly things change when you take up these habits is even more encouraging.

"Some things I noticed along the way (I did have some slight questions on this!). My hip muscles for one, started to get "sore". I believe this is because of over tightness and overall lack of use. My guess is like every other gym rat they avoid things to make obliques and lower back "too" big because it takes away from the V shape they are after. Everyone seems to fall for this but it is an un-healthy trap I now realize.

"Anyhow I had started to get really sore over the last few weeks in hip muscle areas and even upper buttocks from stretching these areas and working them (using your stuff). When I practiced going into full squats, this really seemed to stretch out areas that began to show signs of weakness/tightness. So it was like working out muscles and getting that "soreness" when your muscles start to adapt. I kinda figure it is as it is just as normal to workout a bicep and for it to "be sore" the next few days.

"The soreness goes away and with each passing week, it becomes more mild - kinda like the body getting used to biceps being sore and you don't get sore anymore.. They do not get sore like they did when I first started your stuff. I was just curious if you had seen this. I am sure it is normal, especially for a group of muscles not used to being used or stretched out.!

"Jeez I do not think most people realize just how tight and weak they can be in areas, mostly because they are never used or people are used to being tight there. People do not believe in the squat (I showed a few people to prove them wrong lol) because they are too tight. I realize how much I am glad I found this out early in life. I get stronger every day in the areas that were weak. I know I will have a much better core, lower back, complete back, and body then before I hurt myself :)

"I put together my "planche/pull up" setup for pictures and to start working on a full planche! That is difficult to do like you do it! Any suggestions? Just keeping trying? Heheh

"Thank you again! Thank you for posting my story."

Mr. Davis, thank you. You are well ahead of the fancy researchers :-)

Strengthen and stretch your hip functionally:

Bending Right is Fitness as a Lifestyle
How Good Would You Look From 400 Squats a Day - Just Stop Unhealthy Bending
Free Exercise and Free Back and Knee Pain Prevention - Healthy Bending
Cardiovascular Cleanup
Fast Fitness - Fix Flat Feet, Pronation, and Fallen Arches
Household Fitness in the New Year


Read success stories of these methods and send your own.
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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.