What the Heck is a Hip Flexor and Why You Should Care

Running can and should be a part of your everyday life in order to be healthy and happy.  However, it can be difficult to run when the weather is unappealing or several other reasons.  This is just one of the reasons that treadmills are so great.

When you run on a treadmill, you should know how it differs from running ‘normally’ outside.  Once you know this you can incorporate treadmill training into your structured running routine to get the maximum benefit.

What’s the Hip Flexor?

One extremely important muscle group for running is your hip flexor.  Located all along the front of your hip region (from your abdominals to the top of your thigh), the hip flexor is one of the most powerful and versatile muscle groups in the body.  Not only do the muscles that make up this group provide power, but there are also several stabilizing muscles that keep you balanced when you do things like running.

The hip flexors help you move by contracting while you walk or run to lift your leg upwards and outwards.  The best example of an intensive hip flexor assisted movement is walking up the stairs.

Treadmills and Your Hip Flexor

First and foremost, the most common thing about training on a treadmill is that there is almost always at least a small incline.  What this does is force you to basically run uphill over long distances.

Remember that example with the stairs?  It can be likened to running uphill because you need to lift your legs up with more force than if you are moving on a flat surface.  You will notice that your hip flexors will be really sore after the first few times you run on a treadmill, but this is a good thing!  If you keep it up your muscles will adapt, giving you more strength and endurance when you run.

It’s best to run on varying angles on your treadmill so that you don’t strengthen your hip flexors too much.  It is possible to create a strength imbalance if your hamstrings don’t grow stronger as well which could lead to an injury.  As long as you make sure you vary the type of running you do, the surface you do it on, and the angle you should not have to worry about getting injured from running.