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  • Writer's pictureLuke Nelson

Runners, what’s your number? Lateral hip strength

We’ve previously discussed the importance of lateral hip strength (here), and the potential consequences of weakness which include patellofemoral pain and increased risk of non-contact ACL injury, so how do we assess its strength?

At Health & High Performance we utilize our state of the art AxIT system to accurately assess lateral hip strength and rate of force development.

What is normal lateral hip strength for runners?

Assessed in the side-lying position, we like to see our runners achieve 35% bodyweight for males, & 25% for females. In order to take into consideration different leg lengths between runners, we also convert this into normalized torque using the following formula: dyno reading / bodyweight x 100 x moment arm (distance in m from greater trochanter to where on the leg you take the dyno reading). Normals for torque are 14kg-m per kg for males, and 10.2 for females.

Alternative tests

Don’t have access to a hand held dynamometer? A handy test to perform at home is a side plank hold. The side plank puts a high demand on the lateral hip muscles, but also incorporates a number of others so this needs to be taken into consideration. To perform this test, get in the side plank position and hold for as long as you can! An ideal score here is 45 seconds, and no more than 10% difference between sides.

Not just peak force!

There is some growing evidence to suggest that rate of force development may play a role in injury. Previous research by Nunes and Ferreira has found an average 30% loss in hip abduction rate of force in those with patellofemoral pain. (Ferreira 2019, Nunes 2019).

Examining rate of force development is important as the ground contact time in running is very fast between 200-300ms, so therefore during running the rate at which muscles need to contract to their peak is lightning quick at 50-200ms. Because the time taken to achieve maximal strength is 300-600ms, assessing rate of force development is vital in the running athlete.

This rate of force is something that we are also able to assess using our AxIT system. Read more here

If you are a runner needing help with an injury, or looking to improve your performance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!


  • Ferreira, A. S., et al. (2019). "Impaired Isometric, Concentric, and Eccentric Rate of Torque Development at the Hip and Knee in Patellofemoral Pain." J Strength Cond Res.

  • Kemp, J. L., et al. (2013). "Greater understanding of normal hip physical function may guide clinicians in providing targeted rehabilitation programmes." J Sci Med Sport 16(4): 292-296.

  • Khayambashi, K., et al. (2016). "Hip Muscle Strength Predicts Noncontact Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in Male and Female Athletes: A Prospective Study." Am J Sports Med 44(2): 355-361.

  • Nunes, G. S., et al. (2019). "Clinically measured HIP muscle capacity deficits in people with patellofemoral pain." Physical Therapy in Sport.

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