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4168 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Nov 16, 2011 2:02 PM by Imgellin
Ken Halle Rookie 2 posts since
Sep 1, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 16, 2011 6:51 AM

How to strengthen hip flexors for my marathon?

I'm 56 and in the middle of training for my first marathon.  My hip flexors begin to bother me around mile 8 and from there on they get really sore.   Without some help I'm not sure how far I can go with the pain and soreness I get while running.  What is the best strength training I can do to help with this?

  • erfman008 Rookie 5 posts since
    Nov 4, 2000
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    1. Oct 16, 2011 6:59 AM (in response to Ken Halle)
    How to strengthen hip flexors for my marathon?

    I think stretching is a big help, for me anyway. I've used a bungy rope thingy around my ankle and extended my leg away from my body sideways. I hope this makes sense. I had hip flexors and ITB issues as well. If IIRC, the ITB connects up around that area too even though the symptom for that is usually around the knee. Good luck.

  • Damien Howell Legend 312 posts since
    Feb 27, 2008
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    2. Oct 16, 2011 9:44 AM (in response to Ken Halle)
    How to strengthen hip flexors for my marathon?

    Do not automatically assume that hip pain should be treated with stretching exercises.  Take a look at short aritcle Hip Pain and Stretching Exercises, and Should you stretch it out.  It could be that your hip flexor muscles are weak.  However, if the pain is related to running, another possiblity is that the increased stress could be related to the manner in which you run.  Take a look at How do you feel about your running form.  If you have a relatively long stride length particularly if the long stride is a result of relatively too much hip extension, this could lead to increased hip pain.  Both the Pose method, and Chi Running suggest that rather than push off that you consider lifting your heel off the ground, and this action results in less hip extension and a relatively shorter stride length.  A slow motion video analysis could help determine if your stide length is too long. 

    Damien Howell PT, DPT, OCS - www.damienhowellpt

  • njnitehawk Expert 50 posts since
    Mar 21, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Oct 17, 2011 5:01 AM (in response to Damien Howell)
    How to strengthen hip flexors for my marathon?



       how does a person strengthen hip flexors and the inside muscles of their legs


      i do several exercises but still have trouble


              1 exercise one leg bird drink? 15-20 reps per leg

              1 exercise beligum squat         10-16 reps per leg

              1 exercise stand on platform raise one leg and do a slight squat   12-18 reps per leg

  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,291 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Oct 17, 2011 7:00 PM (in response to Ken Halle)
    How to strengthen hip flexors for my marathon?

    I agree with Damien, and think you may be barking up the wrong tree by trying to gear up for increaed hip flexion, especially during an event that is all about motion economy.


    I also want to add that, as a guy a little older than yourself, even after running the marathon distance many, many times, I still get the bulk of my soreness in the middle of each year's marathon training schedule. The shock of getting used to increased mileage is always worst soon after you start going beyond the "normal" mileage most people run, which is probably what you are used to running as well.


    Case in point, after I finished my 18 miler this summer I had to pry myself out of my car in a parking lot on the way home, I was cramping so bad. Some young guy actually got out of his car to assist the stiff-legged geezer I appeared to be at that moment, cramping on both sides of my legs at once. I told him I just ran 18 miles and he drove away, lol. But that's not the best part. I just ran 24 yesterday without a hitch, and was back to taking stairs two at a time this morning. Point is, you get used to it, but you can expect the growing process to be painful, especially when it's your first time.


    Heed the caution about stretching right now, at least as we generally understand the term "stretching." A couple of gentle leg swings before, during, and after your exercise session may help loosen you up a little, but anything beyond that poses great risks, despite the potential benefits. It's true that your hip flexors will tighten through a process we call "adaptive shortening," but they do that according to one of those beautiful adaptations of nature, to limit your stride and the potential damage that goes along with it. Focus on keeping your legs under you and increasing your turnover. The legs will begin to unwind as the muscle get used to the workload. Once again some gentle range of motion like a leg swing can shake off some of that rust, but you need not further stress the tissue that is already overworked. Marathon lore is replete with stories of compact shufflers bypassing the athletic striders anyway, enroute to an overall win. Forget speed form; it's about endurance, and that will come with practice and continued adaptation. There are no shortcuts.


    I wish you the best (even though you are in my age-group lol), and I'm sure you will gradually strengthen, simply by continuing to train, just like I did. Patience is key.

  • Imgellin Legend 623 posts since
    Jul 13, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Nov 16, 2011 2:02 PM (in response to Ken Halle)
    How to strengthen hip flexors for my marathon?

    If you do come to the conclusion that you are in need of either strengthening or increased blood/oxygen supply to the hip flexors, try Kung Fu stances. These stances each have a right and a left stance, except for Horse Stance. Try to hold a minute a piece for each one, with no rest in between. That's what I do.

    Taming the Tiger stance will work on your hip flexors, as well as Bow and Arrow Stance. These act as isometrics, making blood vessels in lower extremeties more efficient.


    Ma Bu Horse Stance
    Kung Bu

    Forward Stance
    (Bow and Arrow Stance)


    Tai Chi Stance

    (Chuat Sing)

    Hsu Bu Empty Stance
    (Cat Stance)
    Pan Bu Coiling Stance
    (Scissors Stance)
    Du Li Bu One Leg Stance
    Fu Hu Bu Taming Tiger Stance
    Chi Sing Bu Seven Star Stance
    Pu Bu Drop Stance
    Xie Bu Sitting Stance
    Chi Lin Bu Unicorn Stance
    Yen Bu Swallow Stance
    Chi Bu Chicken Stance


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