Home > Injury Prevention, Knee Injury, Movement Dysfunction, Uncategorized > Effects of Isolated Hip Strengthening on Biomechanics During Running and Single-Leg Squat Performance

Effects of Isolated Hip Strengthening on Biomechanics During Running and Single-Leg Squat Performance

Will RW, Davis IS.  The effects of a hip-strengthening program on mechanics during running and during a single-leg squat.  J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 41(9):625-632, 2011.

Note: This study demonstrates that a hip strengthening program performed 3-times per week for 6-weeks (exercise examples: side lying hip abduction, standing hip abduction and external rotation against a wall, single leg squat, pelvic hike, side-step with resistance band) does significantly improve hip abduction and external rotation strength.  Furthermore, the hip-strengthening program also significantly changes hip motion during a single leg squat task (e.g. less hip adduction and internal rotation).  Thus, demonstrating improved neuromuscular control of the hip during a single-leg squat task.  However, there were no significant alterations in hip kinematics during a running task.

These findings indicate that changes in running biomechanics are not achieved following a hip-strengthening program.  This may be due to the nature of the exercise program as no exercises were performed over the 6-week intervention period that simulated running.  Thus, the individuals were not able to transfer their improved strength and neuromuscular control to other tasks.  It is possible that more functional/integrated may be required after achieving improved hip strength and single leg squat neuromuscular control to ultimately improve running biomechanics.

Clinical Implications:  While running biomechanics were not improved, this study does demonstrate that hip strengthening is a necessary component to improve neuromuscular contorl during a single leg squat task.  Therefore, including these types of exercises in an injury prevention or rehabilitation program to improve hip strength and neuromuscular control is supported.


STUDY DESIGN: Block randomized controlled trial. OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether a strengthening and movement education program, targeting the hip abductors and hip external rotators, alters hip mechanics during running and during a single-leg squat. BACKGROUND: Abnormal movement patterns during running and single-leg squatting have been associated with a number of running-related injuries in females. Therapeutic interventions for these aberrant movement patterns typically include hip strengthening. While these strengthening programs have been shown to improve symptoms, it is unknown if the underlying mechanics during functional movements is altered. METHODS: Twenty healthy females with excessive hip adduction during running, as determined by instrumented gait analysis, were recruited. The runners were matched by age and running distance, and randomized to either a training group or a control group. The training group completed a hip strengthening and movement education program 3 times per week for 6 weeks in addition to single-leg squat training with neuromuscular reeducation consisting of mirror and verbal feedback on proper mechanics. The control group did not receive an intervention but maintained the current running distance. Using a handheld dynamometer and standard motion capture procedures, hip strength and running and single-leg squat mechanics were compared before and after the strengthening and movement education program. RESULTS: While hip abductor and external rotation strength increased significantly (P<.005) in the training group, there were no significant changes in hip or knee mechanics during running. However, during the single-leg squat, hip adduction, hip internal rotation, and contralateral pelvic drop all decreased significantly (P = .006, P = .006, and P = .02, respectively). The control group exhibited no changes in hip strength, nor in the single-leg squat or running mechanics at the conclusion of the 6-week study. CONCLUSION: A training program that included hip strengthening and movement training specific to single-leg squatting did not alter running mechanics but did improve single-leg squat mechanics. These results suggest that hip strengthening and movement training, when not specific to running, do not alter abnormal running mechanics. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapy, level 2b.

KEY WORDS: biomechanics, gluteus, knee, lower extremity

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