Stronger hips in 15 minutes

When it comes to injury prevention, like the core, musculature is a vital aspect of any runner's strength training routine. This month, our resident expert Matt Gagliano focuses on the importance of strong hips.

The role of the hip musculature when it comes to athletic performance is enormous. It provides stability in your pelvis to assist the core.

The role of the hip muscles is to provide stabilization each time your foot strikes the ground. 
If those muscles that encircle the hip capsule as well as the hip flexors are weak then excess movement occurs, robbing you of efficiency and a smoother, faster and more enjoyable run.

The most common injuries that result from weak hips are Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome or patellofemoral pain syndrome. However other injuries occur from having weak hips including shin splints, lower back pain, achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, bursitis, hip impingement, sore knees, muscle pain, and countless other ailments. It’s safe to say that training the hips needs to become a priority!

If you are currently strength training then add hip training to the core training covered in part one. If you’re not strength training I’d advise you to start on the core training for a week or two then start training your hips. 

Many say lack of time is a main reason for missing this part of your training but if you can spare just 10-15 minutes, 4-5 times a week (about 1-1.5 percent of your day!) I am sure you and your running will reap the benefits.


The first step with any aspect of training is an evaluation or assessment. If you remember last month I gave a brief and easy way to administer a core test. This allows you to find “your starting line”.

It goes without saying that if you are dealing with a hip issue or have hip pain please see a specialist in your area. This assessment is for someone with no pain and looking to get a basic starting point on how they can prevent a future injury.

Assessing all my runners' movement patterns prior to beginning any new running or strength program is the key first step. Functional Movement Systems’s certified method of assessment is process of grading movement easy to understand, effective, and easy to implement in a fitness program. 


Standing with your feet together place a dowel across your shoulder
Using a band or an imaginary line step with one leg over the line
Step forward placing you heel on the ground in front of you
Return to a starting position by bringing leg back over the line
Click here for a video on how to do this screen

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If there is pain. Stop and see a doctor
If you have trouble standing on one leg and tip over or hit the line with your foot you score a One 
If you can do the movement but notice a slight rocking in your torso or your leg has to swing around slightly to get over the line you get a Two
The movement is performed perfectly if you can maintain your position and you leg comes over the line with your toes pointed straight


Measure from the bottom of your foot to below your kneecap
Using this number mark on the floor two pieces of tape each the same distance apart as your measurement
Using a dowel place the dowel against your lower back, mid back, and back of your head. Grasping the dowel behind the neck and behind the lower back
Place the toe at the first piece of tape (If your right hand is behind your neck place place your right foot and toes at the first piece of tape)
Using your other leg step out and place heel at the other piece of tape
This puts you in a split squat position
Bring back knee to ground and return to starting position. Repeat on other side
Click here for a video on how to do this screen