Day 14: Power From the Hips

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As we continue to chat about hip stability and strength, we have to take a minute to reflect on how much we reply on our hips for speed and power.

One very common misconception is about exactly where the “power” in your stride comes from. Most people picture power being generated in the running stride when the foot pushes off the ground. It’s true that we get power from our legs, but in the mental image that most people carry with them, that major “push” comes from the quads, much like a leg press.

we can’t deny that we need strong legs but this this mental image of running power leaves out a major contributor: the hips. If you looked at your watch and saw 3:51:40 with one mile to go in a marathon, you’d start driving your legs and pushing off harder each stride to try to make sure you finish under the four-hour mark.

Generating power at the quads is fine, but focusing on that to the exclusion of hip power proves to be a big problem.

When you drive hard with your quads on the leg that is pushing off, you’re inevitably going to be “reaching” forward with your other leg, which is still swinging through the air. When that leg hits the ground, your knee will be excessively extended and your foot will be landing further in front of your body. This is over-striding, and you can’t start pushing off again until that foot is behind your center of gravity (around your belly button), so that time spent waiting is essentially wasted.

If you try to shorten your stride, you won’t be generating as much power! Fortunately, there is a way to generate long, powerful strides without reaching forward with your lower leg and overstriding, and that is by focusing on hip drive.

A strong drive backwards using the hip muscles to extend the leg and “drive” into the ground will provide a good increase in stride length without it turning into over-striding. Take a look at the glute muscles in a sprinter, they have some serious muscles in their rear for propelling them forward at ten meters per second or faster.

Your ability to move fast hinges upon your capacity to direct force into the ground, and neglecting the component of that force that comes from the hip extensor muscles is short-changing your stride.

Improving your hip strength and drive should give you noticeably more “pop” in your stride when you are running fast. In addition to our hip strength exercises, incorporating some bounding and skipping a few times a week will go a long ways towards improving your ability to generate power from the hips!

Day 14 exercises: Hips – Modern Mom video – watch video below

  • Side Leg Pulse
  • Side Bicycle
  • Leg Stir
  • Big Circle
  • Hot Potato
  • Back Butt Press
  • Forearm Plank – :60
  • Pigeon Pose

Bonus: Drills and Strides– After your hip strength work and before you set off for you run, start with bounding and lateral skipping drills then do 6 x 100M strides. Then set off for your run.

Bounding screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-5-44-40-am

Why: Bounding increases foot, calf and hamstring muscle power and develops single-leg stance stability necessary to maintain fluid running form while fatigued.

How: On a flat or very slightly downhill slope, alternate thrusting into the air off one leg in an exaggerated skipping motion. The focus should be on a powerful leap into the air and a quick (but not super fast) cadence. Your arm motion should be synced to the opposite leg’s action, holding steady for the brief moment while you’re off the ground. Do three to four reps of 10 leaps on each leg.

Lateral Bounding screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-5-47-08-am

Why: This drill develops lateral strength and agility necessary to stabilize the body and maintain single-leg balance during forward running motion. Specifically, this drill works the glutes, hip flexors, tensors, abductors and psoas muscles in ways that are otherwise neglected in forward running.

How: With an upright torso and level head, move laterally in one direction by alternately bounding with your legs spread and your legs together. You’ll probably need to swing your arms overhead in an opposite pattern to maintain balance. Do two to four 50-meter reps to the left and right, facing the same direction for each lateral movement.


Speed Work: 3-4 x mile

Speed Work is essential to getting faster, but it also helps us improve our breathing and our ability to run longer distances. This weeks speed work is all about mile repeats. Don’t try to run your fastest during the first mile. Choose a pace and stick with it, then try to increase your speed just a tad as you move through your repeats. Done correctly, your last mile should be your fastest.

For our longer distance runners, don’t skimp on mile 4. You know who you are…and so do I! 😉

Workout: 

  1. 1 Mile warm up
  2. 3 – 4 x Mile – increasing or maintaining speed throughout each repeat
  3. 1 Mile cool down
  4. Total of 5-6 miles with warm up and cool down being slowest!

When you’re done for the day and before you move on to other things, take time to stretch! Run through our 7 Key Stretches for Runners then throw in the hip specific stretches below to ease and pain and open up your hip flexors.

Happy running Crew! 🙂

Day 25: Abs and Yoga

Yoga for runners2

How about a little ab action before Yoga today?

Stick with the old or go for the new…choose which ab circuit works best for you!

Then drop into some yoga and stretch out those muscles cause the weekend is coming… and since I’m rarely subtle…it’s almost time to go long and we can’t have you shuffling!

No injuries, no soreness, no aches, no pain. If you’re feeling these ailments…only you are to blame. Take care of your body with some relaxing downtime and be ready to go long cause we’re runners (duh) …and that’s when we’re in our prime!

Day 25 exercises: Yoga for Runners + Plank – 1 minute (1X)

Bonus: Choose your circuit – #Abination or #AbPyramid

Running Drills: High knees, butt kicks, bounding and grapevines

Speed Work: If today is your speed work day…do it before your ab work and yoga. Click here to see the work out.

#BrowniePoints: Side Plank with Forward Kick – We are doing a version of this plank in our June Challenge so try it now and see how you do! Go for :30 on each side.

Always lots of fun things to do mid week so get up, get moving, and make it a fabulous Wednesday Core Crew! 🙂

 

Day 7: What Do They Say About Monday?

Monday startoverGood morning Challengers and happy Monday!

Everyone pretty much killed week 1…but if you know you didn’t give it your all…time to regroup, recommit, and get to it! Will you struggle to make time for you or will you be strong and power through?

What do they say about Monday? NEVER SKIP A MONDAY WORKOUT! 🙂

I’m going to start adding bonus workouts and running drills this week. These extra workouts and drills are meant to get you moving more and improve your running efficiency…but don’t stress if you don’t get each one in today. I will refer to them all week so just do your best and keep being active!

Day 7 exercises: Legs – 3 sets of 10

  • Plank – :30
  • Wall Sit – :30 (3X)
  • Calf Raises
  • Sumo Squats
  • Plank – :30
  • Side Planks – :30 each side
  • Pigeon Pose all cardio challenge
  • Calf Stretches
  • Quad Stretch

Week 2 Bonus Workout:

All Cardio Challenge: This bonus workout can be done any day this week…or everyday this week…so fit it in when you can to get your heart rate up and burn some calories!

When you do fit it in make sure you post using #AllCardioChallenge so we know you went the extra mile! 🙂  One last thing ere…DON’T SKIP THE BURPEES! They are good for you…just try them! Keep your core tight and go slow until you have the form correct. Remember to watch the “how to” videos again if you need reminders on form for any of our exercises.

Running Drills:

We’ve talked about some running drills before, but this week we are going to start introducing two drills per week to get you familiar with them.  Going forward I will ask you to incorporate them into your routine 3-4 times a week. They can be done as warm ups or after your run to reinforce good running form when you’re fatigued.

These drills are for everyone! It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner runner or a veteran …we can all benefit from adding running drills into our weekly routine.

According to RunningCompetitor.com,

“If you want to improve as a runner, you’ve got to do more than just run. You’ve got to make time to do the extra stuff, too. Taking 20 minutes to do a handful of drills…can dramatically improve your running form and economy (or the ability to run fast efficiently) and increase your stride cadence and racing speed.

Each of the drills highlights one or more aspects of good running form and accentuates them through repetitive motion, which trains the body to become comfortable with that movement so it can be inserted into your typical running mechanics.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 5.52.31 AMButt Kicks:

Why: Butt kicks engage the hamstrings and accentuate the recovery portion of the running gait and improve leg turnover cadence.

How: Run in place with your thighs more or less locked in a neutral position and try to kick yourself in the glute with your heel on each stride. Focus on keeping he rest of your body still and simply flicking your lower leg backward. If you’re not making contact, you need to improve your dynamic range of motion. Do two or four reps of 15 kicks with each leg.

Bounding:Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 5.59.17 AM

Why: Bounding increases foot, calf and hamstring muscle power and develops single-leg stance stability necessary to maintain fluid running form while fatigued.

How: On a flat or very slightly downhill slope, alternate thrusting into the air off one leg in an exaggerated skipping motion. The focus should be on a powerful leap into the air and a quick (but not super fast) cadence. Your arm motion should be synced to the opposite leg’s action, holding steady for the brief moment while you’re off the ground. Do three to four reps of 10 leaps on each leg.

Lots going on here…but don’t let it overwhelm you. The bonus workout and running drills can be incorporated throughout the week when you have time but I wanted to get them out early so you can plan ahead to fit them in.

As always…never miss a Monday workout! Let’s get the week started right and make it a great day Challengers! 🙂