Runners! Check This Video Out! It Might Just Save Your Hips!
– Hi, I’m Dr. Fergus here at Cornerstone Health in downtown Evanston. I’m here with one of our patients, Cathy, who’s a recreational runner. And something we see a lot with our runners is hip flexor tightness that can limit your full stride length or hip extension. So if you can’t fully extend your leg past your body in your running, then you’re gonna have to compensate for that elsewhere. Sometimes that’s at the calf, and sometimes it’s at the low back, which can become tight. So we’re gonna demonstrate a quick exercise that can help that area. It’s called front knee press. It’s not quite a stretch, it’s more of an active exercise.
So Cathy, let’s put your arms on the wall, and we’re gonna want your body leaning towards the wall at a 15-degree angle, approximately. When we first start, we don’t want too much of a curve in the low back, so if I feel the back, and the muscles are tight, or there’s a big arch, we’ll just lightly tip the tailbone down towards the toes, and breath low into the abdomen. Next, we’re gonna lift one leg. Let’s lift your right leg to belt level. And in this position, still, the back should be flat. Now you’re gonna push through your left foot to drive your right knee towards the wall, good. Keep the arms straight. And you can think of your leg left pushing the knee through the wall, it can be a very big activity, and then back straight up.
As we do that once more, we’re gonna look at what the hip does. The back is gonna stay flat, go ahead and lift the leg. And as she lunges forward, the leg is gonna end behind the body, that’s true hip extension. So you could see, if you don’t have a true hip extension, you would have to overwork the back to get in this position. You can come out of that. So we’re gonna do 10 front knee presses on each leg before your run and after your run. But also, if you’re feeling tight in the middle of the run, you can use this exercise by pushing against a tree or a building, and just unlocking the hip so that your stride is improved.
Now, I travel quite a bit to teach, and sometimes that’s a 14- or 15-hour flight. And my secret to feeling good at the end of that is to find an area on the plane where you can use the front knee press and do one to two sets every few hours to keep your hips unlocked. That’s your tip for today.