Primary Distance Runners Hip Muscles

 

By Rick Morris

 

The muscles acting on your hips perform a number of services including hip flexion, hip extension, hip rotation and core support. Here are the major runner’s hip muscles and the actions that they perform at your hip.

 

Illopsoas

 

This muscle originates on your lower spine and the inner side of your pelvis. It attaches to the upper part of your femur. The illopsoas flexes your hip and externally rotates your leg. This is a deep muscle that you can’t usually feel or see.

 

Sartorius

 

The Sartorius originates on the lower outside portion of your pelvis and travels around the front of your thigh, across the inside of your knee and attaches to the upper part of your tibia. This muscle flexes you knee, flexes your hip and externally rotates your thigh. This muscle, which is hard to see or feel, is famous for being the longest muscle in your body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rectus femoris

 

This muscle originates on the outside of your pelvis just above your hip socket. It attaches to your upper patella and patella tendon. The rectus femoris flexes your hip and extends your knee. This muscle is part of the quadriceps muscle group and is easily felt in the middle of your thigh.

 

Tensor fasciae latae

 

If you have ever had problems with your iliotibial tract you are probably familiar with this muscle which originates on your hip bone and attaches to the iliotibial tract just below your pelvis. This muscle abducts and flexes your hip.

 

Gluteus maximus

 

Everyone knows this one. It’s more commonly known as your “butt muscle”. This muscle originates along the crest of your rear pelvis and attaches to the outside of your upper femur and to your iliotibial band. Your “butt muscle” extends and externally rotates your hip. Your gluteus maximus especially comes into play after your hip extension exceeds 15 degrees making this a powerful hill running muscle.

 

Gluteus medius and gluteus minimus

 

These muscles are smaller muscles located under your gluteus maximus. Both muscles abduct your hip. The gluteus medius and gluteus minimus perform and critical function during your running stride. When your body is supported on one leg during the foot strike and push off phase of your stride, these muscles prevent the opposite hip from collapsing or sagging. Without these muscles you would not be able to hold a strong core or develop any speed or power.

 

Biceps femoris

 

This “two headed” muscle is one of three muscles that make up your hamstrings muscle group. The long head of the biceps femoris originates on the lower part of your pelvis while the short head originates on the front of your femur. This muscle attaches to the lateral side of the top of your tibia and the top of your fibula. This muscle extends your hip, flexes your knee, and externally rotates both your hip and knee.

 

Semitendinosus

 

The second of three hamstring muscles, this one originates on your lower pelvis and attaches to your upper tibia. This muscle extends your hip and flexes your knee. It also internally rotates both your hip and knee.

 

Semimembranosus

 

This is the final muscle in your hamstring group. This muscle originates on your lower pelvis and attaches to your upper tibia. This muscle performs the same action as the semitendinosus. Both the semitendinosus and semimembranosus are important muscles for maintaining knee stability.

 

Pectineus

 

This is a relatively small muscle that belongs to your hip flexor muscle group. This muscle originates on the lower front of your pelvis and attaches to the upper inside portion of your femur. The pectineus flexes, adducts and internally rotates your hip.

 

Adductor brevis

 

This is one of four muscles that primarily adduct your hip. This one originates on your lower pelvis and attaches to the inside of your femur. It adducts and externally rotates your hip.

 

Adductor longus

 

This hip adductor originates on your lower pelvis and attaches to your femur just below your adductor brevis.

 

Adductor magnus

 

This is your largest hip adductor muscle. It originates on your lower pelvis and attaches to nearly the entire length of the inside of your femur.

 

Gracilis

 

The gracilis is a long but slim hip adductor muscle that originates on your lower pelvis and attaches to the medial side of your upper tibia. In addition to adducting your hip it is also a weak knee flexor and internally rotates your hip.

 

Hamstring Muscle Group

 

Some muscle are more well known by there muscle group names. You are probably very familiar with your hamstring muscle group. There are very few runners that haven’t has the occasional pulled “hammy”.  The three muscles in the hamstring group are the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. The hamstring muscle group is commonly called the “running muscle” because of their importance in accelerating, pushing off and hill running. The hamstrings are primarily knee flexor muscles but are included here because of their additional running duties as hip extensors.

 

Primary Hip Flexors

 

The main hip flexor muscles are the illopsoas, pectineus, rectus femoris, sartorius and tensor fasciae latae.

 

Primary Hip Adductors

 

Hip adductors move your leg from the midline laterally away from your body. The primary hip adductors are the adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus and gracilis. While the adduction motion is not a prime running motions these muscles are still important in stabilizing your stride.

 

Primary Hip Abductors

 

Hip adductors move your leg laterally toward the midline of your body. Primary hip abductors are the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. These muscles are critical in preventing opposite hip collapse or sagging during the stance and push off phase of your running stride.

 

Primarily Hip Extensors

 

The most important hip extensors are the gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. These muscles work very powerfully during uphill running.

 

 

 

 

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