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Overtraining the Hip Flexors

~~The problem with overtraining the hip flexors in student athletes

Overtraining specific muscles (Psoas, Iliacus, Tensor Fascia Latea, Sartorius, Rectus Femoris, etc.), commonly referred to as the hip flexors, can be especially problematic for athletes. These muscles are particularly used in hip flexion, a common movement for any athlete: Especially athletes that do any kicking. When overtraining occurs college athletes are at a disadvantage on and off the field.

Overtraining can happen many ways including abrupt increase in the amount of a specific task asked to do by an athlete. Overtraining typically occurs when a training load exceeds a person’s recovery capacity. If there is not time to ample time to recover, improper nutrition or athletes do not have access to athletic trainers/medical professionals who can identify complications related to repetitive motions it will lead to sports injuries. Common sports injuries associated with repetitive hip flexion and kicking include: IT-Band syndrome, Strain/Sprain injuries, Knee conditions, Trochanteric Bursitis, Iliopsoas Bursitits and Hip/Groin strains. Many women are already at a predisposition to these conditions simply due to their anatomy and an increased Q-angle. Strained muscles and spastic muscles alter biomechanics and movement patterns further increasing the likelihood of sports injuries.

For example when an athlete is pushed to the point where they start to use muscles that typically wouldn’t be used for a specific task it is called compensation. This compensation alters the form of a particular motion decreasing the quality of a movement and thus placing the athlete at a predisposition for sports related injuries and low back problems.

As previously stated overtraining can lead to problems both on and off the field. Physically, aside from increased risk of sports injuries, here are some signs to look out for: Elevated resting heart rate, frequent colds, chronic muscle soreness or joint pain, weight loss, appetite loss, insatiable thirst, decreased performance and delayed recovery from exercise. Psychologically overtraining can lead to: Reduced ability to concentrate, irritability, insomnia, anxiety/depression and headaches.

The best way to combat overtraining is to gradually increase the work load required in training routines particularly if it is a repetitive/monotonous motion type of exercise. If you suspect overtraining issues with your athletes the best approach is to rest the over trained muscles for 3-5 days and decrease the frequency and duration of the exercise, then gradually increase the specific motion that needs to be strengthened. Focusing more on quality of the movement rather than the quantity is always the best way to prevent injuries.

-Seth Elliott DC
Owner of Park Hill Chiropractic in Fort Worth, Texas.

Dr. Elliott graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Promotion and Exercise Science. He later attended Cleveland Chiropractic College and earned his Doctorate of Chiropractic degree