When running the power from the hips. It’s important that runners do exercises to strengthen the hips. This is because having strong hips will help improve running form, increase force production and decrease the chance of injury. The hips directly impact the alignment of the knees and ankle joint. This is why hip exercises for runners are a must. In this article we will explain a few different exercises that will strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip joint.
Lateral Band walks
This is a go to hip exercise for runners. Band walks are an exercise that builds strength in the outer thigh muscle and. The muscles worked in this exercise are the gluteus minimus and medius. The action of the gluteus minimus and medius are abduction of the hip joint. Hip abduction is the action of the leg moving away from the midline of the body. The gluteus minimus and medius work to keep the legs stable while running. The best way to work the gluteus minimus and medius is to do actions that engage the muscles which the band walks do. Band walks are simple to do. All you need is a hip resistance band and a place that you can walk 10-12 times back and forth. Simply find a band resistance that is challenging but doable, place the band around your mid foot or ankle, slightly bend the knee and walk from side to side. Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions This is one of the best hip exercises for runners that you can do.
The glute bridge is an important hip exercise for runners because it builds strength in the gluteus maximus. The gluteus maximus is the prime mover in the running movement and when your glutes are weak the body will use synergist muscles to pick up the slack. This is something called synergistic dominance and it can lead to bad running form or injury. Synergistic dominance: “Synergistic dominance – an increase in synergistic muscle activity relative to a weak or inhibited prime mover.” The gluteus maximus has one main job and that’s to extend the hip joint which is where the power comes from when running. When doing the glute bridge you will place your body on the ground and bend the knees with the feet placed firmly on the ground. Next you will press your hips up toward the sky and engage the glutes. Make sure that your feet are straight ahead before starting the movement. You want to aim for 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions. This is an important foundational hip exercise for runners and should be included at least twice a week.
Monster walks are one of the go to hip exercises for runners. The placement of the band on the monster walk is the same as the lateral band walk. The difference is that you’ll be moving in a forward and backward motion. The monster walk works the hip flexor muscles and the gluteal muscles. Try walking forward for 10 steps on each side and backward for 10 steps on each side. Repeat 3 times. Make sure to keep your feet pointed straight ahead.
The primary muscles in the hip flexors are the rectus femoris, iliacus, psoas, iliocapsularis, and sartorius muscles. All these muscles play an important role while running. Weak hip flexors may lead to improper running form or an injury.
Check out our article on how to run a faster marathon.
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