How’s Your Hip Extension?
A Simple Test To Assess Hip Flexor Mobility (and More)
Since publishing my recent article about The Importance of Hip Extension for Runners, I’ve received a number of emails from runners asking me to explain how best to assess their own hip extension. What we really need to assess the degree to which any restriction in their Hip Flexors impedes hip extension.
The Thomas Test featured in the video below is simple to implement and tells us about muscle length in terms of Iliopsoas and Rectus Femoris in particular. A close look at the quality of movement as the limb reaches terminal hip extension will also provide insights into ITB tension and TFL tone.
The key factor in the set-up for this test is to set the pelvis into a posteriorly rotated position by pulling the uninvolved knee in to the chest. This ensures that all observed extension is coming from the hip, not the lumbro-pelvic region.
Modified Thomas Test
The Modified Thomas Test as demonstrated by Osteopath John Gibbons in the video below adds another dimension to the depth of assessment this test can provide.
He also goes on to explain how the test can be turned into a stretch and position for soft tissue treatments.
My Favourite Hip Flexor Stretch
The majority of runners and triathletes I work with will be all too familiar with the following exercise!
I tend to recommend this stretch as a go-to exercise to facilitate a hip flexor stretch, as well as encouraging the mind-muscle connection of consciously firing Glute.Max. I particularly like starting with 20 seconds in holding passive stretch, followed immediately by 20 mobilising reps, pushing (not bouncing) further into the stretch for 1-3 seconds.
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