August – Day 7: Where the Hips Go…

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Wouldn’t it be great if we were able to strengthen our “prime movers” to keep us healthy and strong BEFORE we got injured?

“Prehab before Rehab” What does this statement mean to you?

Prehab means taking care of the areas important for our quality of movement, longevity of our limbs, and the highest level of performance possible BEFORE we get injured. If we take the time to work on some key areas (in this instance our prime movers) before we get injured then our risk of injury goes WAY down and we can avoid needing rehab!

Our hips are the ‘prime movers’ in any traveling movement. This includes changing levels or heights such as in a squat, jump, or lunge, walking or running, cycling or even dancing! The hips are the body’s center of gravity and the foundation for the spine and upper body.

Where the hips go…the rest of the body will follow.

All too often, our modern lifestyle leads to dysfunctions in movement. The simple act of ‘sitting’ leads our body to develop many different compensation strategies as the musculature of the hips learns to ‘turn off’ over time and will not just ‘turn back on’ when needed to walk, jump or run.

The longer we sit, the more that our hip muscles will not be ready and able to work when we need them. The neuromuscular connection to these muscles become inhibited or turned off. These inhibited neuromuscular connections make it harder for our hips muscles, including the glutes, to be active and maintain their strength and endurance. The end result is that they begin to alter our biomechanics and our body creates different strategies of compensation in movement patterns.

Activation Exercises are designed to strengthen the neuromuscular connections to these specific muscle groups in order to restore our normal biomechanics and optimize our movement. When our body is able to use proper biomechanics, it will move more efficiently and we will be able to maximize use of these important muscles with the least amount of effort. This provides us, as athletes, more opportunities for success.

There are lots of great hip and glute activation exercises we can use and today we are focusing on a few of these key moves that will help us get stronger and “maximize our output”. But these exercises require workout out. While they are important, there is something we can do during simple everyday activities that will also help us activate theses areas…

Practice Standing!

Practice standing?? Yes! We can activate our hips and glutes when we are standing, walking, even running! We can strengthen these areas WHILE we are doing what we love to do!

Once we have developed a sense of what it feels like to activate the muscles of our hips during exercises that target these areas, we want to keep the glutes turned on as much as possible, even when we’re just standing! How? When you are standing, walking or running, engage your hips and glutes. It’s simple. Just SQUEEZE!

The more that we practice using this neuromuscular connection, the stronger and more stable it will become. Stronger and more stable hips and glutes will activate when we need them because they will be ready to move! Basically, the more that we practice squeezing, or engaging, our glutes, the easier it is to recruit them (without thinking about it) when we’re ready to walk, run, stand up or just move!

Practice standing and turning on the Glute Complex and Hips as much as possible today. Try it in your normal everyday situations. When you stand you squeeze, when you walk you squeeze, when you run…you squeeze!

Day 7 Plan:

  • Food Challenge – Tiny Tuesday! Every Tuesday this month is Tiny Tuesday! This just means we want to eat small portions. We should do this everyday but especially on Tuesdays in August!
  • Quick Core Workout & Coffee Break Workout (see below)
  • Day 7 exercises (see below for list and “how to” videos)
  • Bonus – Practice your squeeze! During normal activities like standing, walking and running
  • Speed Work – This week’s speed work is below

Quick Core Workout (#QCW) & Coffee Break Workout (#CBW)

Day 7 exercises: 3 sets of 20!  (“how to” videos below)

  • Low Squats – How low can you go? Yes this means going beyond 90 degrees with your legs! See video below for the proper way to do it and stay safe!
  • Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant – Technically this is 2 moves but we like to roll them into one and get more out of each exercise.
  • Clams – A basic but important hip/glute activation exercise
  • Single Leg Bridge – single leg exercises are key to running strong!
  • Wall Sit (3 x :30 – don’t forget to squeeze!)

Day 7 “how to” videos:

Low Squat (AKA Goblet Squat or “butt to the ground”)

Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant – We’ve done both of these moves many times…now we’re just putting them together to make it one killer move!

Clams – You know this exercise…keep your feet and toes together and if you want a little additional challenge lift your feet off the floor just like in the Clam Video Workout we all love.

Single Leg Bridge – Great exercise for our Core, Back, Glutes, Hips and Legs!

Wall Sit – Three separate times at least :30 each with tight squeeze at the end!

Speed Work: This week’s speed work is meant to challenge you. Once a week, we want to push ourselves and this is that day! But pushing ourselves doesn’t always mean running an all out pace. For this workout, you want to go the distance so think around your half marathon pace. If you’ve never ran a half marathon, use your most recent 5K time then add about 60-75 seconds per mile.

The Workout:

If you are training for a 5K to 10K

  • 1 mile warm up
  • Mile repeats (2-3 miles with a .25 mile walk or jog in between each mile)
  • 1 mile cool down
  • Total of 4 – 5.5 miles

If you are training for a 15K to a Marathon

  • 1-2 mile warm up
  • 2 x 2 OR 3 x 2 mile repeats with half mile (.5 mile) in between each set of 2 miles)
  • 1-2 mile cool down
  • Total of 6-8 miles (for 2 x 2) or 8-10 miles (for 3 x 2)

This workout will help us hold that “faster than our easy pace” for longer. It will increase our VO2 Max while also teaching our legs to turn over faster. The key here is to stick to Half Marathon pace. You DO NOT need to run faster. You want to hold that pace for the full 2 miles for each set then take the .25 or .5 mile walk/jog then start your next 2 mile repeat. Tough…yes! But so is that goal race you have coming up!

Questions? Please ask! This is the first time we are working on longer repeats so please reach out to me with any questions. If you want to set this up in your Garmin and do the workout on the road (as opposed to the track which I would prefer since this would be a lot of circles) please see the screen shot below.

This is the workout I will be doing on Wednesday. You can adjust the mileage and recovery period to your needs. Let me know if you have questions about how to set it up!

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Time to turn on those PRIME MOVERS and get our hips and glutes moving! Remember, where the hips go….the rest of our body follows!

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