Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hip Strengthening Exercises

      Weak hips can be the cause of IT band pain, patella tendonitis (runner’s knee), Achilles tendinitis, sciatica, iliotibial-band syndrome, and other common running injuries. Not to mention an inefficient stride which can slow you down. To avoid these issues, try incorporating hip strengthening exercises into your routine 2-3 times per week. Below are a few exercises that can prevent injuries and help keep you running strong!

     Side Leg Raises:
  • Lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of one another.
  • Lift your top leg to about 45 degrees and then lower it back down.
  • Repeat 15 to 20 times per leg

Bird Dog:

  • Get on all fours on the ground.
  • Focusing on balance, lift your right arm and extend it straight out in front of your body.
  • Simultaneously lift your left leg and extend it out behind your body.
  • Bring your extended arm and bent knee back to the center under your body, then extend them both out again.
  • Repeat 15 to 20 times on each side.

Hip Hikes: 

  • Standing on an elevated surface, on one foot, drop the right side of your pelvis a few inches downwards while keeping the left side in a neutral position.
  • Activate your left hip muscles and lift your right side back to the starting position
  • Repeat 15 to 20 times on each side.

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.

Clamshell (with or without resistance band):

  • Lie on your left side on the floor with your hips and knees bent 45 degrees.
  • Your right leg should be on top of your left leg, our heels together.
  • Keeping your feet in contact with each other, raise your right knee as high as you can without moving your pelvis. Don't allow your left leg to move off the floor.
  • Return to the starting position. 
  • Repeat  10 to 20 times on each side.

Happy Running!