By Pamela Mazzuca HBSc. Kin, Athletic Therapist
It’s not uncommon for most runners to be plagued by some sort of pain at one time or another but that doesn’t mean you have to be. Take a few minutes before your next run to try these activating exercises to get your glutes and core firing so you can keep running sans pain and help prevent overuse injuries and strains.
Modified Side Plank
What it activates: obliques, gluteus medius, core, shoulder girdle
How it helps: Builds your shoulder, core and leg strength.
How to do it: Lie on your side with bent knees. Position your elbow under your shoulder with your forearm flat on the ground. Keeping your head in a neutral position, lift your hips up and push them forward so that your hips are in line with your shoulders and knees. Be sure to squeeze your glutes. Breathe. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the other side.
What it activates: Gluteus maximus, core
How it helps:Strengthens the glutes and helps stabilize your hips
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor directly under your knees. Place your arms on the ground by your sides with your palms flat on the ground. Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips up towards the ceiling until your hips, knees and shoulders form a straight line. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly lower your hips back down and repeat for 10 reps. If you have any pain in your low back then don’t lift your hips up as high.
What it activates: Posterior chain, gluteus maximus, core
How it helps: This is a simple core move that can help relieve lower back pain, by improving overall stability and posture while increasing your range of motion.
How to do it: Kneel with knees hip-width apart and hands t shoulder-width apart. Brace your abdominals and lift one arm out straight in front and extend the opposite leg behind you. Keep your body in line from your hand to your foot, keeping hips squared to the ground. Hold for a few seconds, then return your hands and knees. Switch to the other side.
What it activates: vastus medialis oblique
How it helps: Focuses on strengthening lower body movement which gives you more kick.
How to do it: Standing with you feet hip-width apart, as if you were going to sit in a chair but only go down a quarter of the way. Pause for a second and then stand back up really focusing on squeezing your glues and quads. Repeat.
What it activates: gluteus medius
How it helps: This is a great exercise to improve the strength the hip abductors, including the gluteus medius.
How to do it: Stand on an elevated surface, like a step or a curb with all of your weight on your left foot. Keeping your right leg straight, lower your right foot below the step, letting your right hip dip. Keeping your right leg straight and your right foot flexed, lift your right foot up above your left foot by hiking the right hip. Hold for a second and repeat.