Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Workout Wednesday: Overcoming a Hip Flexor Strain Day 1

As I mentioned yesterday, I am currently dealing with a hip flexor injury. This means no running for right now (but maybe Sunday for Nike Women's. I paid $150 for that race, I'm going to do everything I can to make it to finish to get that necklace!). It does mean lots of cross-training and light stretching and strengthening.

Yesterday morning I went to the gym to see what I could do that wouldn't hurt my hip. The conclusion was definitely biking was not painful and maybe the ARC trainer. I should mention that I am under the supervision of a physical therapist, so I'm not just flying in the dark here.

I intended on trying out sunrise cycle this morning, but woke up a bit stiff and wasn't confident that my hip could handle all of the fancy maneuvers involved with cycle classes. I'm guessing that if running on roads is off limits, then "running" on a spin bike is probably frowned upon as well.

So I hopped on a stationary bike and set out to do 60 minutes of rolling hills. Unfortunately, after 43 minutes, I accidentally (maybe) hit the stop button and lost the entire workout. If I'm being honest I was so thrilled. My runner bum was so SORE from the bike seat. Yes, I'm a wimp. So I "cooled down" for 7 minutes and then hopped on the ARC trainer. Because I was experiencing no sharp pain while pedaling (?) away on the ARC trainer, I clocked a solid 30 minutes and then called it a day. Pedaling around on cardio machines like a lab rat is an awful replacement for running outside, but I suppose its better than nothing.

I was also given some stretching and strengthening exercises to do from my PT. Fortunately, squats and lunges don't hurt and I was given the green light to do as many as I want! This is great news because these are my favorite (and really efficient) running related (and in general) leg strengthening exercises. So I did 3 sets of 20 squats and 3 sets of 20 lunges per leg.

The other exercises prescribed by my PT include:

  • Single knee to chest stretches - laying on your back pull your knee in towards your chest, assisted by your hands
  • Standing hip flexor stretch on a chair - Standing in front of a chair, put on foot on the seat of a chair and lean in until your knee makes a 90 degree angle. You should feel a stretch in the hip flexor of the leg still on the ground.
    Source - Yep, just like this.
Or more practical, I suppose.
  • Hip External Rotation with Bent Knee in Supine - Basically a butterfly stretch but you're laying on your back instead of sitting on your bottom. 

  • Jane Fonda Leg Lifts!

Each stretch is held for a couple of seconds, released and repeated for a total of 20 reps.

I'm hoping that these stretches will help improve my range of motion. I will definitely continue to do these once I get back to running. This injury has really taught me the importance of focusing on stretching all of the muscles in my legs, and not just stretching my quads and calves. ALL of the leg muscles are important! So love your legs everyone!

What are some of your favorite stretches?

Anyone else love PT as much as I do (not sarcasm)?


  1. I laughed out loud at your first standing hip flexor stretch picture! Love that you're keeping such a sense of humor through all this.

  2. I just found your blog! I hope you heal fast! Injuries blow.

    My favorite stretch is when you are lying down and cross the ankle over the knee then pull it into your chest!.I'm sure I have the tightest hamstrings in the world.. I hardly stretch.. I know I'm terrible..

    1. Thank you! And thanks for stopping by!! I am with you on the tight muscles/lack of stretching. I usually static stretch my quads and calfs (and static stretches are not advisable for cold muscles, oops!) before I set out on the road and don't do much after a run, except walk like a tenth of a mile. Maybe some day i'll stretch more...maybe... :)

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