It’s for the booty….but runners know it’s also for the hips!
An article in RunnersConnect.com called “How and Why You Should Strengthen Your Hip Abductors” says,
We often hear about how running is “all about the hips”, and how the source of all your running injuries is weakness in the muscles around your hips, but what does that mean?
Which hip muscles are so critical to success as a runner?
Turns out your hip adductor and abductor muscles are a huge part of you being able to stay healthy as a runner, and if they are neglected, you are putting yourself at serious risk of an injury.
In the article Proper Running Form: Does Gravity Help You Run Faster?, we considered the importance of hip extension in running, and noted that in cases of runners with restricted mobility in the front of the hips, we often see a forward drop of the pelvis, highlighted by an increase in the curve of the lower back.
What does that mean? The body succeeds in traveling over the supporting leg, but without making optimum use of the powerful Gluteus maximus(the main muscle of the buttock).
As a result, stride length becomes compromised, propulsion is reduced, overall effectiveness of the running gait cycle is inhibited and risk of injury potentially raised.
The Gluteus Medium, a smaller but equally important member of the glute family – contributes to what is commonly known as the “hip drop”.
The Trendelenburg gait is exhibited by a person who through weakness in the abductor muscles, cannot maintain sufficient height of the opposite side of the pelvis to raise the foot and transfer weight to the other leg.
Instead, the pelvis drops downwards, meaning the affected person has to bend their leg more than usual at the knee in order to make up for the lack of lift.
To compensate, the stride on the unaffected side typically becomes shorter, along with a tendency for the person to lurch towards the weakened side in an attempt to maintain a level pelvis.
We’ve talked about this “hip drop” before, noting that almost every runner has some form of weakness in their glutes contributing to this issues. Check out the image below…
What does this “hip drop” lead to?
Various studies have shown a link between Gluteus medius weakness and athletic injury:
- In a study by Fredericson et al (2000), 24 distance runners with Iliotibial Band Syndrome had the hip abductor strength of their injured limb compared to that of the non injured limb (and to that of a control group). It was found that on average Gluteus medius strength was 2% less on the injured side.
- After a six-week rehabilitation period with particular focus on strengthening the Gluteus medius (side-lying hip abduction and pelvic drops), 22 of the 24 injured athletes were pain-free and able to return to running. Furthermore, a six-month follow-up showed no reports of recurrence.
- Other studies have also linked weaker hip abductors and external rotators to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Ireland et al.,2003; Robinson et al.,2007; Cichanowski et al.,2007).
Yep you got it…tight hips, IT Band pain, knee pain, and so on right down the legs. It’s all connected!
So what do we of about it? Blast that booty and build stronger butt muscles! Let’s do this!
Day 3 exercises: 2 sets of 10
- Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant
- Butt Lift Bridge
- Plank – :60 (Your choice of plank)
Bonus: Side-lying hip abduction – 2 sets of 10
To work the right hip abductor muscles (as in the photo):
- Lie down in a left side-lying position. Make sure your hips are “stacked” (right hip directly over the left hip) and that your body is in a straight line.
- Placing your top hand on the floor in front of you can help ensure that you are not leaning forwards.
- Your pelvis should be in a neutral position (not hitched or tilted forwards/backwards).
- Burpees – 15
- Push Ups Beginner – 4
- Push Ups Advanced – 15
- Squats – 75
Speed Work Options: “If you want to run faster, you have to run fast!”
Do you have a plan to get your speed work in? You’ve got options so decide when it will happen and go get you some speed!
- On the Track: “High-intensity track sessions move the muscles through the full range of motion, improving elasticity and enhancing coordination between your nervous system and muscles. With time, you’ll develop a more efficient stride at all your paces.”
HIIT It: Begin with two 100-meter accelerations that include 40 meters at top speed, with 2 to 3 minutes of walking or jogging between.
Build to 6 x 150 meters hard, including 80 meters at top speed, with 3 to 4 minutes jogging or walking rest.
Over time, increase the number of repeats to 10, lengthen reps to 300 meters (running nearly the entire distance at top speed), or reduce the rest interval to one minute.
- On the Hills: Inclines are a great venue for superfast speedwork. Compared with a flat surface, hills reduce the impact on your legs and limit your range of motion, thereby lowering the risk of strains and pulls. Plus, hill repeats build muscle power, which helps you run more efficiently on level ground, says McConkey.
HIIT It: On an incline, start with three 30-second moderate repeats and walk down the hill for recovery.
When this becomes comfortable, progress to 4 x 1 minute near all-out efforts with a downhill jog and an additional 30 to 60 seconds jogging or walking rest.
Over time, add additional reps, extend effort length up to two minutes, and aim for steeper hills.
Speed Workouts for Beginners: When you’re just starting out, any type of interval—even alternating walking with jogging—will challenge your body in new ways.
Incorporate one of the following workouts each week to introduce intensity and boost your speed.
- Track: Run two laps. On the straights, accelerate and hold top speed for 20 meters. Walk the curves.
- Trail: Intersperse an easy run with 3 to 4 20-second, moderate-intensity surges.
- Hills: Do an easy run that incorporates three 20-second climbs, each one at a moderate effort.
What else should we be doing today? Well…Tuesday is always a great day for a No Junk Food Challenge! And I need it…yes I do need to be reminded to eat well. So here’s to a fabulous day of sweating, eating right, and of course….