Runners, both seasoned and newbies, often focus on building leg strength and endurance, but it's equally crucial not to overlook another key player in your running journey – your hips. When we run, our hips act as vital stabilizers, ensuring our gait is smooth and balanced.
Strong hips not only increase our overall running efficiency but also help prevent common running injuries linked to weakness or imbalance in this area.
This blog post introduces four simple yet effective warm-up exercises to fortify your hips, setting you up for a healthier and more resilient running experience.
Stay tuned to discover how you can incorporate these exercises into your training routine and why it's time to give your hips the attention they deserve.
Start by positioning yourself on all fours on your exercise mat, with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees under your hips. This is your starting position.
Keeping your knee bent at a 90-degree angle, lift your right leg out to the side until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Make sure to keep your core engaged and maintain a neutral spine.
Pause here for a second, then slowly lower your leg back to the starting position.
Repeat this process for the recommended number of repetitions, and then switch to the left leg.
The Fire Hydrant exercise is excellent to strengthen runner's hips as it enhances hip abduction – the act of moving your leg away from the midline of your body, a motion we use while running.
By building strength in this area, runners can improve stability, balance, and coordination, ultimately leading to a smoother, more efficient running stride and reducing the risk of hip injuries.
External Hip Rotations
First, lie flat on your back on a mat, with your knees bent and feet planted firmly on the floor. This will be your starting position.
Next, let your knees gently fall outwards, opening up your hips. Ensure to keep your feet touching and your back flat against the mat.
Hold this position for a few seconds, feeling a stretch in your hips.
Slowly bring your knees back together, returning to the starting position.
Repeat this for the recommended number of times.
External Hip Rotations are fundamental in promoting hip mobility and flexibility, which is essential for efficient running. It helps to stretch the hip muscles and improve the range of motion, thus strengthening runner's hips and reducing the probability of hip-related injuries.
Begin by positioning yourself on all fours on your exercise mat, similar to the starting position of the Fire Hydrants exercise, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips. This is your starting position.
Extend your right leg straight behind you while keeping your hips level. Make sure to engage your core to maintain balance and stability.
Hold this position for a moment, feeling your glutes and hip muscles engage.
Slowly return your knee to the starting position.
Repeat this motion for the recommended number of repetitions and then switch to your left leg.
Hip Extensions are a fantastic way to strengthen the gluteal muscles, which offer support to the hip joints. This exercise promotes hip stability and strength.
Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing forward. This is the starting position.
Slowly lower your body as if you are going to sit in a chair, bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Ensure your knees are aligned with your toes and do not extend past them.
Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor, or as close to parallel as you can get comfortably. Keep your back straight and your core engaged during this motion.
Pause momentarily in this squat position, feeling the engagement in your hips, glutes, and thighs.
Push through your heels to return to the starting position.
Repeat this exercise for the recommended number of repetitions.
Mini Squats are a versatile exercise that enhances lower body strength, particularly targeting the hips, glutes, and thighs. By incorporating Mini Squats into your routine, you can boost hip stability and strength, which will contribute to a more efficient running stride.
Is Hip Pain Getting In The Way Of Your Training?
Have you been experiencing hip pain that's stopping you from pushing so hard in training sessions or has interrupted your training time completely?
It can be difficult to take time out from training to treat an injury, however, it's vital you seek help before the injury has more serious consequences like putting you out of your next big race.
So that you can resume your training faster and get back to sport pain-free, we're currently offering a hip pain assessment for just $57!
In this assessment, you can speak to a member of our expert team who can put your worries at ease and explore your next steps so you can start hitting those PBs once again.
If you or someone you know has been training through an injury causing unnecessary pain, arrange your hip pain assessment by filling in our simple web form or calling our clinic at 516-387-0053.
Other Free Resources For Runners
If you don't feel you're quite ready to come into our North Massapequa NY clinic, we have even more free resources for runners.
Download Our Free Report - 5 Tips To Stay Out Running With Friends And Achieve Personal Bests
Read Our Blog - Working Smarter During Training: Overcome Your Roadblocks!