In the previous section, we looked in detail at hip joint articulation with CARs. That’s a very “micro-look” at the joint itself, to see how it is moving.
In this area, we’ll look more holistically – think of it as a global picture of hip oriented resting tissue (or muscle) length – which we’ll call, at least for our purposes right now, running-specific passive flexibility.
Now you might be asking, “why is this a run-specific assessment?”
Here’s why: The amount or relative level of passive flexibility that each person has is unique to them. Some of us are quite flexible in our legs and hips – others are much less so.
As an activity, distance running can have the longterm effect of leaving a distance runner on the “short end of the stick” so to speak – when it comes to muscle lengths. I’m speaking specifically of the legs (hamstrings and calves) and especially, the hips!
This can be especially true for aging runners as connective (soft) tissue like muscle and fascia become less elastic and more fibrotic.
This gradual “shortening” (sometimes thought of or interpreted as “tightness”) can often turn into a negative result – especially for a runner – if it ends up reducing or compromising hip or ankle range of motion and reducing stride length, putting even more stress on the soft tissues and joints.