Day 3: Booty Blast

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-5-13-30-am

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”.

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-5-26-48-am

An excerpt from RunnersConnect.com

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…

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-5-30-55-am

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

****Click here for how to videos****

  • Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant
  • Butt Lift Bridge
  • Clams
  • Plank – :60 (Your choice of plank)

Bonus: Side-lying hip abduction – 2 sets of 10 

side-abduction

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).

January Challenges:

  1. Burpees – 15
  2. Push Ups Beginner – 4
  3. Push Ups Advanced – 15
  4. 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!

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  1. Track: Run two laps. On the straights, accelerate and hold top speed for 20 meters. Walk the curves.
  2. Trail: Intersperse an easy run with 3 to 4 20-second, moderate-intensity surges.
  3. 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….

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-5-47-26-am

Day 18: Weak Bums

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-6-41-39-pm

Our “weak bums” contribute to injuries….injuries that no runner wants to deal with.

Strengthening the muscles of the bum, hip, thigh, and leg are essential for a runner to maintain power and health!

Our hip muscles control the mechanics of our knees, so if we have weak hip abductor muscles and poor hip rotator muscle strength, our knees are at a higher risk of injury from patellofemoral pain syndrome and iliotibial band syndrome. We’ve already seen a few studies this month about how weak hips cause issues…but there’s more!

A recent study published for runners and referred to on RunnersConnect.com looked at the contributions of three muscles — the gluteus medius, the gluteus maximus, and the tensor fascia lata (TFL) — to hip motion hip strength exercises.

These three muscles are of interest because they have distinct and significant roles.

  • The gluteus medius is the main abductor and external rotator of the hip.
  • The gluteus maximus extends the hip and assists with abduction and external rotation.
  • The TFL is an abductor of the hip, but because of its positioning, it can also contribute to internal rotation

According to John Fairclough, who published an article specifically about IT Band Syndrome in the Journal of Science and Medicine, “a tense TFL (tensor fascia late), because it connects directly to the knee’s lateral side via the iliotibial band, may increase knee strain that could develop into or exacerbate injury.

His final thoughts…

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-6-54-22-pm

So what does all this mean for us? Well…Runners Connect and this Journal of Science and Medicine study suggest 5 exercises that are specific to runners and will help us strength our hips, and prevent and treat injuries.

  • clamshells
  • sidesteps with band
  • single-leg glute bridges
  • bent knee donkey kicks
  • straight leg donkey kicks

Great news for us since we have done ALL of these exercises this month! So for today, let’s do them again. Bonus exercises today: side steps with band, single leg glute bridge, and both variations of donkey kicks. Don’t worry it won’t take too long. These exercises transition easily into the next one.

Day 18 exercises: Hips – 3 sets of 10 

****Click here for how to videos****

  • Brigid’s Runner Clams
  • Side Lying Leg Lift
  • Reverse Clams
  • Forearm Plank – :60
  • Pigeon Pose

Bonus: 2-3 sets of 10

  • Side Step with band (If you don’t have a band it’s super cheap and would be a good investment!)
  • Single Leg Glute Bridge
  • Donkey Kicks (bent knee)
  • Donkey Kicks (straight leg)

See below for slide show with photos of these exercises as reminders.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-8-23-25-pm


She Power Virtual Half Marathon & 5K: Remember that “She Power” virtual half marathon/5K we talked about a few weeks ago? Jan let me know that it’s on sale right now for $25.50 so it’s the perfect time to sign up!

The virtual race will be in January and you can run it anytime within the month. You can run it all at once, or in pieces, but I think we will try to pick a date that a lot of us can try to run it “virtually together.” I will start an event in Strong to the Core so we can chat more about the date that works best for everyone.

Let us know when you sign up! Here’s the link:  https://131events.com/she-power/


So what’s on your schedule this weekend? Who’s racing? I know Jamie Murray is running the Philadelphia Half Marathon on Saturday and he’s gonna KILL it! 🙂 Jamie, ca we track you?  Anyone else doing this race or other races? Full? Half? Any fun 5Ks?

What about long runs? Tell us what’s on your schedule so we can cheer you on!

Remember….distance makes the heart grow stronger! So figure out your plan and get ready to GO LONG Crew! 🙂

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-8-50-43-pm