You might think that I work only two parts of my body: my legs during running and my hips during PT because well that’s what I talk about a LOT, like all the time, constantly.
What can I say, I’ve learned the hard way that hip strengthening exercises must the corner stone of most runner’s pre-hab strengthening routines to keep us running injury free (and faster).
I find different ways to work my hips all the time because we know that runners, women especially, are prone to knee, IT Band and other injuries when they have weak hips and glutes.
This workout is going to help to get your glutes firing again and here’s why this matters:
When you place a movement demand on your body, it’s going to do its damnedest to perform. If it can’t do so using the correct muscles, then it’s going to start firing all sorts of funky stuff in a mad dash to satisfy your demands.
The gluteus maximus is a primary mover of hip extension. There are two other muscles associated with the glutes called the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. These two muscles are most associated with stabilization and are equally as important as the gluteus maximus. Weak glutes mean weak extension, less power and overcompensation injuries
How do you know if your glutes are firing?
Here are a few tests you can use to test your glutes (and hips).
Do your knees drift in when squatting?
Standing in front of a mirror if you notice your knees falling in, that’s often a sign of hip and glute weakness. If you’re also noticing knee pain during many of your runs, time to look at your glutes. When not firing they stop helping to stablize the knee.
Do you have lower-back pain?
Lower-back pain is another sign that your glutes aren’t engaged because they compensate for inactive glutes.
Do you sit most of the day?
Sitting causes the muscles in the front of your hips to tighten. The result of this is called anterior pelvic tilt and I show you some great stretches to help with it. But the second part of this tilt is that it absolute cuts off the engagement of your glutes.
Can you hold a Single-Leg Stand?
Do a Single-Leg Stand with your eyes closed and your feet facing forward. If you can’t hold this position for at least 1 minute—and especially if you fall forward and toward the middle—your glutes aren’t working properly. Test each side a few times and compare your average times to see if one side is working better than the other.
(Love this one from Stack)Image from PTonTheNet.
Why Use Resistance Bands?
You can do a lot of glute work without any tools at all, like bridges and clam shells.
However, resistance bands are ideal for glute strengthening exercises for a number of key reasons:
- they force us to strengthen our stabilizers
- isolating each leg requires us to engage our core/stabilizer muscles
- they allow for a greater range of motion
- allow for more muscles to be engaged at once
- engaging the glutes also engages the hips, which a common area of weakness
- they’re an easy tool for when we travel
We are all busy and who has time to guess or only work one muscle at once? This workout will help you target all the areas of the glutes that are causing you pain and quickly get you on the road to recovery or prevention!
Here is a great set of mini bands, that will work for a variety of moves and allow you to progress as your strength increases.
Resistance Band Workout
Let’s get down to work! Watch the video below from Tara Laferrara and put these glute exercises with bands in to your routine.
2-3 rounds of 10 reps (per side where appropriate)
Or toss in 1 round after a run, then do a different Hip Workout on other days, this is my preference.
1. Place the band around your laces, then begin moving quickly with high knees.
2. Place the band around your ankles, then squat and upon rising lift your leg out to the side
3. For a glute activator, place the band around your ankles and plant your right foot then drive knee backward to leg raise.
4. To practice stability and activate the glutes, place the band around your ankles then go in to a low squat. From there do a sumo squat with tuck jump…the goal is to keep your knees the same distance apart throughout the exercise.A quick, but intense resistance band workout for hip strength! #sweatpink #runchat Click To Tweet
Watch the video to see the hip workout in action:
Why Glutes Matter for Running
We focus so much on the power of our legs, but without engaged glutes we run in to a number of issues!
The gluteus maximus is the main muscle used in hip extension.
Hip extension is important for running because it allows you to have more power in your leg’s forward swing. This allows you to go faster with more power and who doesn’t want that?
The glutes also provide stabilization for the knees and pelvis by limiting the amount of side to side motion. Weak glutes can allow the knee to not track correctly leading to runners knee, Achilles and IT Band issues. The glutes start the chain of health down the leg and it’s important to target these muscles before they fail us!Overcompensation Fatigue
When our glutes are not firing, then other muscles try to take over that load. This leads to overuse injuries and leads to quicker fatigue during your run. When all muscles are working at optimal levels, you’re able to run farther with what feels like less effort.
When the glutes aren’t working optimally, it can lead to hip flexor dominance. An extra problem because that area is so often already tight due to sitting all day long!
Meet the Trainer!
Tara Laferrara is a Certified Personal Trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine in the Mile High City. While her athleticism came from running track through her young adult years, she has a passion for helping and inspiring people to pursue their dreams in fitness and wellness. She’s a big fan of HIIT, high metabolic, and plyometric exercises.
Follow Tara’s awesome Instagram for lots of motivation and workout moves!
Do you use resistance bands?
Have a favorite hip move??
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