Day 3: Booty Blast

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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”.

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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…

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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 

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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….

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Day 30: Bust It Out!

Final Day! screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-4-31-36-pm

Get up, get moving, and bust it out Crew!

1 round of hips for each leg then for your bonus, do it again!

2 rounds. 5 minutes per leg. 1 :60 plank and pigeon pose.

20 minute workout.

Once you get it done, shout it out loud cause you just finished an awesome month of strong hip and ab work!

Day 30 exercises: Hips – Modern Mom – Strong Hips Video 

Follow along with the me and let’s finish the month strong!


Speed Work: The week isn’t over just yet…have you done your speed work? Here’s this week’s workout:

Workout: Gear Shifter

How to Do It: In this workout, alternate between your easy, medium, and fast paces. Warm up with three to five minutes of walking. Then ramp up to your easy pace (see below) and hold it for two to three minutes. Then shift into your medium pace and sustain it for one minute. Then shift into the fast pace for 30 seconds. Repeat the cycle two or three times. Walk for five minutes to cool down.

Use this guide to find each gear:

Easy: Conversational pace; a pace where you could chat with a friend running alongside you. This is a rhythm that feels like you could maintain it all day long if you had to.

Medium: This should be faster than your easy pace, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re speeding. You would prefer not to hold a full conversation, but if someone asked you a question, you could answer in two- or three-word sentences.

Fast: Quicker than your medium pace. In this gear you should be able to say one or two words but, if someone asked you a question, it would make you mad because you wouldn’t want to expend the energy to answer them. Don’t sprint all-out or push to the point of pain, or where you feel you’re going to pull something. You should feel like “I’m okay, I just don’t want to do this for very long.”


We’re not getting any downtime…December starts tomorrow!

But before we move on…take a moment to reflect on the month and how far you’ve come. How many days did you complete? Did you give it your all? Why not? What got in your way? What can you change in December to help you do a little more? To push a little harder?

A successful challenge month isn’t measured just by completing each day on time…it’s also about challenging yourself, doing a little more than you thought you could do, pushing your limits, and coming out stronger because you did.

Can you call November a success?

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Day 6: I Like Strong Glutes…

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We know the core (hips, transverse abdominis, lower back) are important for preventing running injuries, but without exercises to strengthen your hips, glutes and hamstrings, your body will break down.

We must learn how to engage our glutes when running to run faster and more efficiently.

It’s true that some of the power in the running stride comes from your quads and calves, but the reality is that the quads and calves play only a minor role in your ability to generate a powerful stride compared to the hips, hamstrings and glutes.

How strong are your hips, glutes, and hamstrings? Don’t ignore the power these parts of our legs have an our ability to run faster and stronger!

Day 6 exercises: 2 sets of 10

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

  • One Legged Bridge
  • Side Lunges
  • Side Lying Leg Raises
  • Plank – Your Choice (:30 2X)

Familiar with theses exercises and feeling good after 2 sets? Throw in one more round to feel the burn and make it count!

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 5.49.11 AMBonus: #BalanceAndReach – Balance and Reach is an exercise brought to us a few months ago by our very ow Jennifer Moro-Ortiz. It’s a great exercise for hip stability and strength. If you’re doing it right…you’ll also feel it in your butt too. Use those glutes and hips to keep yourself balanced and to move your legs back and forth smoothly. Click here to watch the video and see how it’s done. Work through 2 sets of 10 on each side.


Speed Work: Seeing so many of us racing 5Ks yesterday, I thought it would be Speed work does a runner gooda cool idea to find out where your 5K pace stands so you have a way to gage your pace for other speed work. If you raced a 5K or any distance yesterday or this past weekend…you’ve already done your speed work for the week….don’t add another “effort workout”.

If you didn’t race this weekend, perform your own 5K! Remember that the warm up is an essential part of doing your best 5K. Run at least a mile at a slow conversation pace. Jessica and I ran a 12 min mile to warm up before our 5K yesterday. Then we were able to pull out 3 9 min miles during the race. Without that warm up, we would’ve been dead on the course after mile 1.

It’s also important to run a short cool down afterwards. So when you’re done, slow it down and run another 1/2 to full mile at your conversation pace. All in all you should have 4-5 miles with this workout. Let us know how you did and write down your pace for future reference when we talk about speed work drills. This information will help you determine how fast your interval sprints should be. More to come on that later…


Ready for a great Tuesday? Remember….we need strong, stable muscles in every part of our legs to get the speed and stability we want during our key races. Skipping leg day because you feel that you get enough strength from just running is a bad idea….

Get to work and fire up those legs Crew! 🙂

strong legs for running