If you’re an avid runner, the last thing you want is to have an injury that keeps you sidelined. Many runners are aware of the importance of wearing the right shoes and focusing on foot-strike, but oftentimes core strength and hip exercises are overlooked.
It’s important to have a strong core as a runner. Having a strong core can help your run more efficiently and faster with less risk of injury. Your core muscles – chest, back, abs, and obliques – are what help you stay upright during a run. With a strong core, you’re less likely to be wobbly on your feet and your lower body and upper body work better together to keep you moving. The more stable your core is, the less energy you’ll expend during a run – allowing your body to work smarter, not harder.
As a runner, if you have weak hips, you’re likely to overcompensate for that weakness and put additional pressure on other muscles, making you susceptible to overuse issues – especially in your knees. With weak hips, you may feel hip joint pain or tightness in your hips, or more specifically, your hip flexors. When your hip flexors are tight, your stride become shorter, and you might even experience pain that prevents you from running.
Although you may be tempted to skip hip strengthening and stretching exercises when you’re training, if you do, you’ll likely experience issues down the road that could keep you sidelined. In this week’s Top 3 Tuesday, we’ll show you some hip exercises for runners that can help you build up your strength and prevent overuse injuries.
Start by stabilizing your core. This is the foundation of everything you do, and it’s important for your core to be strong.
Next, start to swing one of your your legs backwards and forwards, trying to get as much range as motion out of your hip as you can.
Don’t cheat yourself by engaging your lower back. Focus on keeping your core stable and just moving your hip.
Complete 8 to 10 leg swings with each leg. This is a great warm up for your hips.
Our next hip strengthening exercise is hip circles. Start by lifting one leg and rotating it clockwise, focusing on getting a wide range of motion in your hip – not in your pelvis. Keep your core stable to focus on just moving your hip and not your spine.
Then rotate your leg counterclockwise.Alternate between rotating your hip clockwise and counterclockwise and then switch to the other leg.
For this exercise, all of the motion will take place in your front hip.
Stand with a strong core and put one leg in front of you at 90 degrees. Put your hands on your hips. Rotate from your hip towards the bent leg. The motion should be in your hip – not in your knee or spine.
Repeat the hip exercise with your other leg.
These three hip strengthening exercises should definitely help increase your mobility and reduce the risk of developing back or knee pain from overuse injuries. If you try them out, let us know how you felt afterwards. You can find Twin Cities Movement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.