Day 2: It’s All In the Hips

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In 2007, Reed Ferber, Ph. D., director of the University of Calgary’s Running Injury Clinic, conducted a study of 284 runners (men and women) who complained of leg pain. He found that 93 percent of them had weak hip muscles. After putting these people on a targeted strength program, 90 percent of them were pain-free within six weeks!


Most runners know that  our core is one of the most important thing we can work on to become stronger and faster, and it will also help us avoid injuries. Ask any fitness nut or personal trainer about “core work” and you will be treated to a long spiel about how important is it to our routine.

First, we have to figure out what exactly we mean when we say “core.” Ask for a core workout from a personal trainer at a health club, and you will probably get a series of crunches, planks, and sit-ups. However, “core” means something very different to a physiologist or an orthopedist: it means all of the muscles of the lower trunk and pelvis: not just your abs and your back, but your hip flexors, glutes, abductors, and adductors too!

These hip muscle groups are particularly important because they’ve been involved in a range of running injuries.  Weak hips can often be the cause of IT band painpatella tendonitis (runner’s knee)piriformis issues, sciatica, and a myriad of other common running injuries.


How do we protect ourselves from injury and pain and stay on the road healthy and able to train and do what we love? We strengthen our hips, core and glutes!

Today’s workout is one we’ve done for a while but it’s still tough. For our newbies, you WILL feel today’s workout. Push through and finish what you can. Take small breaks when you need to…rub that booty then keep going. That soreness means it’s working!

Day 2 exercises:

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

  • Donkey Kick Workout – Workout video on how to page or follow along with me below
  • Moving Clamshells – 2 sets of 10
  • Side Lying Leg Raise – 2 sets of 10
  • Plank – :60
  • Wall Sit – :60

Challenges:

  • Superman – :15
  • Push Ups – 25

MadManMartin’s Plank Challenge:

  • One more :20 plank

Donkey Kick Workout – I did this video for our November Challenge and I will do another one for you soon so you can see how much stronger I’ve gotten in the last few months. Follow along with me and feel that booty burn! You got this Crew! Knock out this 10 minute burn then move on to your moving clamshells and side lying leg raises.

When you’re done with today’s workout. Take another minute to stretch out those hips and glutes. Try one of my favorite stretches. The pigeon pose. It’s ok if you can’t get all the way down or your legs don’t quite move into this position easily yet. Keep working on it. This stretch is fabulous for after a run or after lots of hip and glute work. Pop on the TV and watch your favorite show while you give your hips and booty a nice stretch. Your legs will thank you!

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Love yourself enough to be active today. Push through the pain, strengthen those hips and glutes, and DO NOT GIVE UP!

Nobody remembers the guy that gave up. Be memorable and have a great day Crew!

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Day 25: Turkey Day Aftermath

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The day after a big eating holiday can go a few different ways.

  1. Sit around feeling bloated
  2. Sit around feeling bloated then reach for leftovers
  3. Go shopping and walk off some calories
  4. Knock out yesterday abs, today’s hips then go for a run!

Unless you have to work, you can probably make time for activity today! Don’t sit around making yesterday worse…get up and get moving! Who’s going for a run today? Who skipped abs yesterday and has some catch up work to do? (Me!)

I am not a Black Friday shopper. In fact, I avoid stores at all costs today. We do have plenty of leftover turkey and ham so sandwiches it is!

Since we are home and have no pressing matters, I plan on being active and getting outside for a while. What are your plans today?

Day 25 exercises: Hips – 3 sets of 10 

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

  • Brigid’s Runner Clams
  • Side Lying Leg Lift
  • Reverse Clam (feet up)
  • Forearm Plank – :60
  • Pigeon Pose – :30 each side

Bonus: Go for a run! Remember “active recovery” after our racing yesterday is a good thing! Go for a shake out run. Keep it slow and easy and just have fun being outside and burning some calories. In this case, “active recovery” can also refer to recovering from the aftermath of our Thanksgiving meal! So go on….get up and be active today Crew!

Do yourself a favor and avoid the scales today. No reason to make yourself crazy. Lace up and go outside instead! 🙂

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Day 18: Weak Bums

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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…

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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.

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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! 🙂

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Day 16: Super Happy Fun Time!

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-8-36-54-pmShort and sweet today y’all.

Heading to track while the moon is high then a field trip with Silas’ class to Sweet Pete’s Candy Shop! Busy busy day ahead but no excuses…I will get in my Super Happy Fun Time!

Hips, Jennifer’s Bonus “Super Happy Fun Time” and SPEED WORK!!!

Watch the 2nd video for today’s bonus and our October 30 Day Challenge Winner!

GETT ITT Crew!

Day 16 exercises: Hips – Follow video below

  • Side Leg Pulse
  • Side Bicycle
  • Leg Stir
  • Big Circle
  • Hot Potato
  • Back Butt Press
  • Forearm Plank – :60
  • Pigeon Pose – :30 each side

Bonus: Jennifer’s Super Happy Fun Time and Squat Walk 🙂

  • 2 sets of 10 on each leg for both exercises

Check out the video below for the exercise Jennifer Stoner showed us last week and which happened to be the exercises my PT had me do on Monday. Good stuff y’all. If you don’t have a resistance band just do the exercises without it. You’ll still get a good burn!


Speed Work: 3-4 x mile repeats

Click here and scroll down for this week’s speed work. I haven’t seen any mile repeats yet…did I miss them? Get that speed work done Crew!


Please congratulate last month’s challenge winner! She works hard every day and this medal is well deserved! Who will it be for November? We have a lot of people stepping up so it’ll be a tight race. Keep up the hard work.

Rise and Run Crew…then get you some Super Happy Fun Time! 🙂

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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 11: Disaster Waiting to Happen

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Run harder…you’ll be fine…

NO WAIT! Running harder without giving some attention to the other less fun stuff could be a real disaster!

If you’re still not convinced that hip strength is important, or think you’re good to go and don’t need to worry about it, I hope you’ll keep an open mind and continue reading…

An Active.com article called Runners and Weak Hips, spoke with Jason Fitzgerald, a 2:39 marathoner and coach in the Washington D.C. area, who attributes hip weakness to the constant sitting we do in our daily lives. Fitzgerald said, “When you consider how important proper hip strength is for runners and the fact that most runners don’t do the specific strength exercises that bolster the hip muscles, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.”

You read that right, he said, “Disaster waiting to happen.”

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Since the hips stabilize each leg during the stance phase of the running gait, strength in that area is particularly vital. “Hip weakness throws off all that stability, resulting in excess movement not only at the hip, but also at the knee,” says Fitzgerald. “The two most common injuries that result from weak hips include illiotibial band syndrome or patellofemoral pain syndrome, but in fact, many other injuries could occur from weak hips, including Achilles tendinopathy, shin splints and plantar fasciitis.”

All that from weak hips!

A study in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine discovered an association between overuse injuries in the lower extremities and poor strength in the muscles around the hip region, including the hip abductor, adductor and flexor.

Chris Johnson, a New York City-based physical therapist and amateur elite triathlete explains, “If a runner is really weak in that area, it can set the stage for overcompensation injuries.” When certain muscles aren’t strong enough to do the work they are supposed to do during running, other muscles take on that work; this can result in overuse issues. When you strengthen your entire kinetic chain, individual muscles aren’t required to do more than they are built to do.

Fitzgerald has his athletes try a one-legged squat to determine hip strength. “You should be able to squat down so your femur is about parallel with the ground and your knee remains pointed straight ahead,” he says. “If you’re wobbling all over the place and your knee collapses inward, you have hip weakness.”

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Can you do a Pistol Squat? I’m pretty sure that no one is this group can do a full pistol squat. That means we ALL need to work on our hip strength. Yep, that means you!

I hope this has made an impact and you’re ready to to jump in and do some hip strengthening exercises with us. Even if you’re already strong in that area, there’s always room for improvement. What better time to do it when the exercises are quick and when everyone else is getting it done too!

We change it up a bit on Friday’s just to keep things from getting boring, but if you have an extra 8 minutes and 36 seconds, then go ahead and run through our Modern Mom hip video too. 🙂 Here’s the link to our page with that video.

Day 11 exercises: Hips – 3 sets of 10

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

  • Brigid’s Runner Clams
  • Side Lying Leg Lift
  • Reverse Clams (feet up)
  • Forearm Plank (:60)
  • Pigeon Pose

Bonus: Single Leg Bridge & Donkey Kicks

Single-Leg Bridge: Lie on your back with both legs bent and your feet flat on the ground. Lift your left leg off the ground and extend it while you raise your lower back and butt. Hold the position for two seconds and lower back downwards in a controlled manner. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each leg.

Donkey Kicks: Get on all fours again, but this time you will only be lifting and extending your legs, keeping your hands on the ground. Instead of extending the leg backwards like you did during Bird Dogs, keep the knee slightly bent and kick upwards, with the bottom of your shoe facing the sky. Repeat 15 to 20 times on each side.


So…long runs coming up! What’s on your schedule this weekend? Anyone racing? Tell us about it so we can cheer you on!

Racery: Our #CoreCrew virtual race through Paris is already half way over! Are you getting your miles in a logged? We already have one Crew member who’s crossed the finish line. Way to go Lisa Lasseter! Who’s next? Here’s the top five runners so far!

Don’t forget to log your miles. You should get an email each day reminding you to log but if you can’t find it, or need to go back and log some miles you missed, here’s the link.

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Lisa Lasster is done and Jennifer Stoner is right behind her. She’s being chased by Amiee Cords, Catherine Wogoman, and Annette Williams! Tight race…but don’t count out those runners out of camera, they might sneak up and steal the show. Keep watching!


Last but certainly never least…STRETCH! Take some time to stretch out those legs after all the work you’ve put in this week and the work you’ve got coming this weekend. Your body will thank you!

7 Key Stretches for Runners

If you’re still on the fence about this month hip strength focus…think about how much it sucks to be sidelined from an injury. With the fun races we all have coming…ain’t nobody got time fo dat! Have a great Friday Crew! 🙂

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Day 9: Drop It Low…Let Me See Yo Hip SWING!

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Working out doesn’t have to be a drag…

Let’s have some fun…turn up the music and rock it out Crew!

Drop it low and let me see yo hips SWING!

Day 9 exercises: Hips – 1 round per leg – Follow video below

  • Side Leg Pulse
  • Side Bicycle
  • Leg Stir
  • Big Circle
  • Hot Potato
  • Back Butt Press
  • Forearm Plank – :60
  • Pigeon Pose – :30 each leg

Bonus: Yesterday was a doozie so we’re taking it a little easier today. What’s your favorite hip or glute strength exercise? TONS of options…take a short video of your favorite and share it with the Crew!


Sarah’s Calorie Burn: Easy extra to throw in

  • 25 Squats
  • 60 Jumping Jacks
  • 20 Push Ups
  • 50 Crunches

Speed Work: Who’s doing speed work this week? I’m hitting the track this morning and Catherine is joining me YAY!! Early morning for us but we’ll share how it goes when we get done. What’s your plan to get it in? Click on the “short ladder” link and scroll down for this weeks workout.

The “Short” Ladder


Racery: The race is ON with 17 out of 30 runners on the board! 24 miles through Paris in 7 days. Remember, it doesn’t matter who crosses first….it’s all about getting those miles in.

24 a little over your weekly average? Add a mile to your daily run and get a long run in this weekend and you’ll get it done! Click here to log your miles and see the scenery along the way.

10 spots still left in the race and plenty of time to jump in. Click here to join now and start logging your miles!

Life is too short for boring workouts. Make it fun and let me see those hips SWING!

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