Importance:Sufficient hip extension is vital for proper running gait, form, posture and efficiency. Inhibited or restricted hip extension in running can result in:
- Decreased running economy
- Poor movement patterns
- Potential risk for injury and/or compensation up and down the kinetic chain
The Gluteus Maximus is the primary hip extensor and the strongest muscle in the body. It is hypothesized that our massive glute max relative to other primates is due to an evolutionary adaptation. This allowed better bipedal locomotion and enhanced our running ability. Proper activation of the glute max and hip extension motion is needed for most primitive and basic movement patterns, especially skills requiring power. This is evident in many basic power skills such as:
- Bridging of the hips
- Swinging an object like a club, baseball bat or golf club.
Limitations in hip extension or gluteus maximus activation can also affect static postures like standing by influencing pelvic tilt, motor control activation strategies, lumbar curve and ultimately the body's center of gravity. For more reasons on why "running is all in the hips", see James Dunne's great post, here.