Runners need strong hips. They’re the driving force behind every stride you take and the better they are able to perform the faster you’ll cover ground. Tight hip flexors and weak glutes are common and contribute to a myriad of injuries from IT Band syndrome to runner’s knee. Strengthening your hips and glutes helps prevent injuries while improving running form and increasing speed. Here are four of Team ECRP‘s favorite hip power building exercises.
Fire Hydrant. This simple body weight exercise is a winner for working the hip abductors. Start with your hands and knees on the ground in an all fours position then lift your leg away from your midline. Be sure to keep your hips still while focusing on the activation of hip and glute muscles. Pause at the top then repeat for your desired number of reps and sets.
Clam Shells. Another uncomplicated exercise, clam shells also work the hip abductors. You can step the difficulty up by adding a resistance band above your knees but that’s not necessary to get the benefits. Begin lying on your side with a neutral spine. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and hips to 45 with your top leg stacked directly on your bottom one. Keeping your feet together raise your top knee away from the bottom one (abducting your hip). Pause at the top then repeat for your target number of reps and sets.
Seated Band Hip Abduction. Use this move to earn strong hips and glutes. Begin sitting on a bench or chair with a flat back and feet flat on the floor shoulder width apart. Place a resistance band around your legs above the knees. Grip the front of the bench with both hands and maintain good posture while you pull your knees apart. Do not let your knees cave in after you pause and return to the starting position for your goal reps and sets.
Strong hips are important and using these three exercises will help you earn them.
The running community is amazing. From elite athletes to first time 5k runners the support and enthusiasm is tangible everywhere. While there are running events all year long, spring and fall are home to most of them. Every weekend from March to November is packed with some kind of race. After participating in a few, it’s nice to give back and help other runners have the great experiences you do. Here are four of Team ECRP‘s favorite ways to give back to your local running community.
Volunteer – If incredible people stopped volunteering for running events, 95% of participants would be priced out and thousands of events would be canceled. With a multitude of places to pitch in there’s sure to be a spot for you. Consider a water stop, handing out medals or directing traffic. Can’t make it on race day? Help with packet pick-up or pre-race course set-up.
Organize – Put together your own race. You’ll need some of the valuable volunteers mentioned above but if a cause is near and dear to you, support it! Putting together an event can also be a great opportunity to meet others in your area. Between sponsors, volunteers, t-shirt printers, timing crews and participants organizing a race will bring you into contact with tons of people who love running. Who knows? You might even find your next chance to give back.
Cheer – Happen to crash into a race during your long run or while exploring a new city? Stop and cheer for a few minutes. Spectators are the backbone of the running community and some people pick races based on how many will be out there. It won’t cost you a thing and you might just be the one encouraging word that helps a someone hit a new PR.
Coach – There are lots of organizations that need volunteer coaches. From your local track club to the national Girls on the Run there’s nothing more rewarding than helping children find something they love. Even if one of the kids you work with isn’t the next Usain Bolt, the rewards you’ll reap are great.
What are your favorite ways to give back some of what the running community gives you?