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Hip and Glute Strength Exercises For Runners

Believe it or not, your body is built to be a mean running machine. The strength in your legs comes from your hamstrings, hips and glutes, the muscles that are essential for running efficiency. The largest muscle group in the body is the gluteus medius, minimus, and maximus. Pair these muscles with your hips and hamstrings, and it's no wonder your legs were made for running.

 

Where the issue lies is when one of these muscle groups lacks strength, other areas must compensate, which can lead to injuries. Research has shown that injuries ranging from shin splints, to IT band syndrome, to runner's knee, can be a result of deficiencies in the hips and glutes. The time and effort put into strengthening these muscles is definitely worthwhile, especially for injury prevention. Here are some exercises to get you started.

 

Try this hip and glute strengthening routine

2-3 times per week.

Donkey Kicks:

Get on all fours with your hands and knees shoulder-width apart. Lift your right knee off the ground as you kick your foot upward so your thigh is in line with your back and the bottom of your foot is facing skyward. Bring your leg back down to the ground. Repeat. 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps on each leg.

Glute Bridges:

Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart flat on the floor. Lift your back off the ground until you form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Push your heels into the ground and squeeze your glutes, hold for two seconds, and then lower your body back down. Repeat. 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps. 

Glute Bridge Leg Extension:

Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart flat on the floor. Lift your back off the ground until you form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Extend your right leg and flex your quadriceps, hold for two seconds, and then lower your body back down. Repeat. 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps on each leg.

Clamshells:

Lie on your side with your knees bent on top of each other (band optional) and your arm under your head for support. With your feet together lift your top knee up, while keeping your pelvis and core stable. Bring your top knee back down to your bottom knee. Repeat. 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps on each leg.

Standing Glute Kickback:

Loop a resistance band around your ankles, and stand with your feet hip width apart. Engage your core muscles, shift your weight onto one leg, and with the opposite leg, slowly kick backward. Repeat. 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps on each leg.

Lunges:

Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and your head facing forward in line with the spine. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Repeat. 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps on each leg.