by Erin Looney, DPT
Runners and endurance athletes alike are all too often victim to those pesky stress injuries. I know there are a lot of you out there that know what I’m talking about! The gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and gluteus medius are often the “weak links” responsible for this. Because of the repetitive forward movement required of runners, the quads are often very strong and developed. However, the muscles used to extend the leg and for side-to-side movement become weak since they are not used as much. More often than not, this is what leads to injury… and sends you to us. While we enjoy your company in the clinic, we like hearing about your success stories even more!
Add this quick 15 minute workout to your weekly routine to help decrease your risk of injury. Whether you are a weekend warrior or a competitive runner, throwing the Runners’ Supplemental “Sixpack” into your weekly workout can only help. And who knows, you might even notice improvement in your race time (*wink, wink*)!!!
3-way Hip Strengthening with Band* – Perform 15-30 repetitions in each direction
The band should be taught with no slack. Stand on the left leg. Bend the right knee slightly and keep both hips level. You will most likely feel these on your standing leg also. Repeat the same exercises on the left. As you feel more comfortable, challenge yourself by performing the exercises slowly and without holding on to a stable surface and moving the band above the knee with more tension.
(* Looking for some resistance bands? Visit our online store and receive our BSM discount! http://bostonsportsmed.com/store/)
Forward: Bring the right knee forward, then return to resting neutral. You should feel this in the front of your thigh/hip.
Side: Bring the right knee out to the side and slightly back, then return to resting neutral. You should feel this on the outside of your buttock.
Back: Bring the right knee back keeping upper body straight, then return to resting neutral. You should feel this in your buttock.
Single Leg Deadlift – Perform 15-30 repetitions on each leg
Stand on the left leg. Tighten your stomach muscles to support your back (keep natural arch in low back). Hinge forward at the waist, lifting your right leg while reaching forward with your arms. Keep both hips level throughout the motion. You should feel this in your standing leg. Repeat the exercise standing on the right leg.
Bridge – Perform 15-30 repetitions
Lie on your back with your knees bent up and feet flat on the floor. Lift hips until your shoulders, hips and knees are in a straight line. Squeeze your glutes together. Hold for five seconds, then return to the resting position. As you feel more comfortable, challenge yourself by performing the exercise with only one foot on the floor and the other held straight in the air.
Single Leg Squat – Perform 15-30 repetitions
Stand on the left leg. Hold your right straight leg in front of your body approximately three inches off the floor. Squat down as if you were going to sit in a chair behind you, then return to the resting position. Be sure to keep your knee in line with your toes and your hips level.
Lateral Band Walk with Band* – 20 foot distance, 5 -10 times each
Place the band around your ankles. Spread your feet apart until band is taught. Side step to the right for 20 ft while squeezing buttocks. Maintain tension on the band for the entire 20 feet. Then side step to the left.
Hip Flexor Stretch – Hold for 60 seconds. Repeat 2 times on each side.
Stand in a lunge with the right leg forward. Tuck your buttocks down and under. You should feel this stretch in the front of your left hip. Repeat on the other side.
Dr. Looney is a Physical Therapist at Boston Sports Medicine