| Article written on April 14th, 2016 at 07:31pm | Follow Garrett on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram |
Having proper hip stability is an important characteristic of a successful, and injury-free distance runner. With that being said, I think we are missing the boat on how to train stability properly…
Oftentimes, runners complete the traditional clam shells and straight leg raises before their runs to improve strength surrounding the hip. From a strength/endurance perspective this is adequate. But, what most need is to perform movements upright on a single leg or in split stance to effectively train stability.
Stability is a quality that requires a responsive feedback loop between the muscles and nervous system. You can’t just strengthen a muscle and expect it to automatically stabilize better. But, when we incorporate positions where alignment is disrupted, the nervous sends and receives a flood of signals that respond to correct the positional fault.
All of that sounds good and is the case in an ideal world. What happens when there is inhibition with the pathway?
Neural inhibition is a disruption within the feedback loop that doesn’t allow reflexive control of the stabilizing muscles. In essence, alignment is disrupted AND is not corrected. You have properly seen this before in a runner who has a valgus collapse. Every time their leg strikes the ground, their knee tends to collapse inward into more of a knock-knee position. This isn’t a knee issue, but lack of stability in the foot and/or hip.
All I’m trying to get at is, we can’t strengthen a muscle and expect it to stabilize. Instead, we need to restore the neural connection and then re-train stability. You can learn strategies to do so in the following video…
[Question of the day] Have you ever seen a runner who’s knee collapses inward as they run? Please leave a comment in the box below.
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART