Want to run injury-free for years to come? Amp up mobility in your hips.
Most of us are missing a lot of our hip extension mobility and are none the wiser. What we don't know can hurt us. Imagine only being able to move your elbow 50 degrees. No doubt, there would be a problem is on the horizon. A lack of mobility seriously limits your ability to utilize your glute max—and that's a big-ass problem. Tight hips lead to issues like low back pain, knee pain, and IT band pain.
The muscles in your hip flexor group (think: your iliacus and psoas muscles) have attachments on the top of your femur, the inside of your pelvis, and your spine. Primarily responsible for hip flexion—the movement of bringing your knee toward your chest—in daily life, this group is more often than not in a shortened position. Desk warriors and folks who commute via bike find themselves in hip flexion a lot. If you run, you use these muscles a lot and you're likely a victim of limited hip extension mobility.
I find a vast majority of my clients have approximately 0-5 degrees of true hip extension. When I say true hip extension, I mean your range of motion is coming from your hip, not your low back arching into extension. All humans should be shooting for around 10-15 degrees of true hip extension.
Exercises to Try
Stretching and manually forcing your psoas to release will help relieve pain and increase mobility.
How to Release Your Psoas
How to Stretch Your Hips
Want to learn more? Find more tips and exercises here.