Being a running enthusiast, if you haven’t spared a thought for your hip muscles, think again! It’s not just for your butt to look nice, weak hips are also the cause of common running injuries. By learning various hip strengthening exercises for runners, you can improve fitness, minimize the risk and tone your posterior in no time!
What’s with the Hip Connect?
You might think that by running, you are working your hip muscles, but the fact is that the hip muscles need to be strengthened with specific hip exercises. As hips give the legs stability while running, having them stronger is vital. Any weakness in this area results in excess movement at the hip as well as the knee. Weak hips can often lead to injuries like Runner’s knee, IT band syndrome, shin splints, and many common running injuries.
The hip muscles often referred to as glutes, are the largest muscle group in the body comprising the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. With the present-day lifestyle, we are seated most of the time which puts the hips in a constant bent position. This results in our hip flexor muscles getting overworked, while the gluteus maximus, which is responsible for hip extension, remains inactive due to which it does not function properly.
Runners can also land up with problems related to the hip muscles that could be because of a poor running form, past injuries, or stress that the body is subjected to when your legs pound on the ground or pavement while running.
Hey! This doesn’t mean that you’ve got to give up running! All you need is a little training and extra effort to strengthen the muscle that gives you all the power to run.
6 Hip Strengthening Exercises for Runners
Sit & Stand
As simple as this, all you need to do is to sit and stand but with a single leg!
Find a bench or a chair, stand in front with hands held straight, parallel to the ground. Lift your right leg a few inches above the ground and balance on your left leg. Shift your body weight to your left heel and slowly sit down. Keep your right leg raised above the ground. Rise back to the standing position, balancing back on the left leg. Repeat the same exercise with the left leg lifted and balance on the right leg. You can do three to five sets of 10-12 repetitions.
Touch the Ground
Yes, you read it right, all you need to do is touch the ground!
Probably the easiest of hip strengthening exercises for runners, the touching the ground technique can be done anytime! Stand straight with your right hand on your hip and the left hand straight. Raise your left foot a few inches above the ground and balance on the right leg. Slowly bend forward at the waist, keep your back straight and reach the ground with your left hand. Continue to slowly bend down till you can touch the ground, come up slowly, back to your standing position. Next, do the same exercise with the right foot raised and balance on the left leg. Repeat this for two to three sets of 10-12 repetitions.
This isn’t difficult either!
Stand with your feet apart in line with your hips, hands on your hips, and toes pointed forward. Keep your knees behind your toes and shift your weight to your heels. Slowly lower yourself down stretching your hip muscles and keeping your back straight.
As you come down, join your hands in a prayer position, in front of your chest. Squeeze your hip muscles and get back to your standing position with hands back on your hips. Repeat this exercise for three to five sets of 10-12 repetitions. Try this out with a kettlebell for more defined results. In fact, most kettlebell exercises help you move better, lose fat and become a little more flexible, something all runners would find useful.
Straight Leg Clamshell
As easy as it could get!
Lie down on the ground on your left side. Bend your left arm at the elbow to support your head. Bend your left knee to 90 degrees while keeping your right leg straight. Work on your glutes by gradually lifting your right leg to a 45-degree angle. Lower it down slowly and repeat this exercise. Do this for each side – 3 to 5 sets with 10 to 12 repeats. You’ll love the stretch that this exercise gives you.
This bridge builds your butt!
This is one of the most beneficial hip strengthening exercises for runners to practice regularly. Lie down on your back with your knees bent at 45 degrees. Fold your arms against your chest. Now, squeeze your glutes, and raise your hips off the ground till your back is in a straight line from your knees to your chest. Slowly lower yourself back to the ground. Repeat this exercise for 3 to 5 sets 10-12 repetitions.
Sounds funny but works wonders for your glutes!
Get on your fours with your hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips, and feet flexed. Now, pick your right leg off the ground with your knee bent and push back as though you were giving a kick! Lower your knee but don’t let it touch the ground and repeat this exercise 10 to 12 times for each leg.
By now you would have surely realized that it wouldn’t take much to do these simple hip strengthening exercises for runners and that they will go a long way in helping you pursue your passion for running. Just like a well-oiled machine performs better, taking care of your body is bound to give you great returns!