Cross Training: Impact of Hip Extension on Sprinting

To ensure a proper running posture, form, gait, and efficiency, you need sufficient hip extension. Without knowing, some athletes engaged in CrossFit training suffer from restricted or inhibited hip extension. This may lead to the decreased running economy, overstriding, poor movement patterns, and the potential risk of injury. The most reliable muscle and primary hip extensor in your body is the gluteus maximus.

When this muscle is well developed, it allows for better bipedal locomotion as well as improved running ability. In order to perform the most basic and primitive movement patterns, you need a proper activation of the hip extension and glute max motion. This is particularly necessary when performing exercises such as throwing, jumping, punching, bridging of the hips, squatting, swinging an object among others.

When you have limitations in gluteus maximus or hip extension activation, your static posture will also be affected.

Why Hip Extension Maybe Restricted

There are many reasons behind the limited hip extension. The key is to find the source of your particular restriction as this will open the avenue to the most efficient and effective treatment. The very common problems of hip extension restriction according to CrossFit training, includes:

  • Hip flexor contractures
  • Tightness or thickening of anterior hip capsule following a period of prolonged immobilization
  • Articular or bony defects
  • Movement pattern avoidance due to previous injuries or a conscious attempt to avoid perceived pain

In addition to the above, poor ankle mobility can also limit your hip extension in gait.

How to Improve Your Hip Extension

A few of the above and other restriction may require dedication and time to resolve. However, some of them can be resolved quickly which is good news for any athlete. Tissue extensibility issues are the ones that may require dedication and lots of work to respond because they are a bit slow. You may need to devote up to 5 minutes of stretching a day for 3 months straight to start realizing some real tissue length changes.

In the event you have multiple issues occasioned by a restriction in your hip extension, you may need the help of your instructor in the CrossFit gym to pursue a combination of techniques which address both the slow responding issues and the rapid responding neuromuscular issues.

Among the techniques used to correct hip extension issues include:

Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)

This technique from CrossFit training can be undertaken using some instruments including Graston tools, the end of a reflex hammer, and Gua Sha tools. The IASTM technique helps in increasing hip extension and may result in prompt changes to your hip extension ROM. The advice is to seek the help of a physical therapist or a trainer especially if you don’t have any knowledge of this technique.

Hip Reset Technique

This method of correcting hip reflection issues quickly reduces spasm or hypertonicity and allows for a much greater hip extension. Doing a set of 10 to 15 reps should enable you to record some improvements. For this technique to have lasting results, you need to repeat it now and then.

Other techniques to include in your CrossFit workout schedule are joint mobilization, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching, and lunge position stretch.

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