Muscle strength imbalances, particularly weak hip abduction muscles, affect running kinematics for the worst.
You probably already know that ITBS is a very common running injury, but did you know that hip abductor weakness is the underlying cause of the condition?
Implications of Weak Hip Abduction Muscles in Runners
Implications of weak groin muscles in forefoot runners include a cross-over running gait and poor balance control.
Strong groin muscles reduce ground reaction forces by preventing side-to-side motions and act as an effective mechanism for balance control during forefoot running.
As mentioned briefly, weak groin muscles influences a crossover running gait in forefoot running and is a major risk factor for ITBS.
A forefoot runner can easily strengthen the groin muscles by simple, at home strengthening exercises to help you run smoother, injury-free, and more efficiently.
Groin Strengthening Exercises for Forefoot Running
Groin strengthening exercises should be a priority for runners, not only to avoid a groin pull, but to optimize running mechanics and improve running economy:
- strengthening the groin eliminates crossover running by enabling the legs to stay parallel to each other and prevent knee-on-knee contact when running
- strengthening the groin will promote a wider step-width, thereby relieving IT band strain
- the step-width needs to be widened only slightly as studies show that humans prefer to run with a step-width near zero
The Take Home Message
Improving groin strength for forefoot running not only corrects a crossover gait, but improves lower limb alignment, allowing less energy to be used at a given speed. And, of course, reduces injury.
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Recommendations on Minimalist Running Shoes for Forefoot Runners
Everything you need to know about why barefoot running is better
A closer look at what a proper forefoot strike should look like.
Arellano, CJ and Kram, R. The effects of step width and arm swing on energic cost and lateral balance during running. J Biomech, 2011; 44(7): 1291-5.
Niemuth et al. Hip muscle weakness and overuse injuries in recreational runners. Clin J Sports Med, 2005; 15(1):14-21.
Williams, KR and Cavanagh, PR. Relationship between distance runners mechanics, running economy, and performance. J Appli Physiol, 1987; 63(3):1236-45.
BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
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