In the next installment of our injury prevention series, we bring you a few more exercises to incorporate into your routine to help make you a stronger, less injury-prone runner. As a reminder or if you didn’t have the opportunity to read the other posts in this series (found here, here and here), weak glutes are a large contributor of injuries for runners, including runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, and Iliotibial Band Syndrome. If the gluteal muscles are weak and not activated when running, other parts of the body overcompensate and an overuse injury is born. This can happen in any runner – beginner or experienced. Sitting for long periods of the day, as many of us do at work, helps contributes to this glute inactivation, which makes it a common occurrence for runners of all abilities.
Luckily you don’t have to spend hours in the weight room to activate and strengthen those glutes. Spending just 15 minutes, 2-3x a week, performing a couple of targeted exercises will help ward off injury. Schedule them on your calendar so you’re more likely to complete them. If you can’t fit them in right before or after your run, do them while you’re cooking dinner or watching TV! The key is ensuring you do them on a regular basis, as these little extra activities are often the first to go when we get busy.
The two moves below can be mixed and matched with the exercises from the previous posts. Try picking 4 of them and doing 12 reps of each for 2-3 rounds.
Start in plank position, with your shoulders and wrists in alignment. Engage your core and make sure your hips are not sagging or hiked up in the air. Bring your knee to your elbow on the same side of your body, bring it back to the ground, and repeat on the other side. As you are moving your knee to your elbow, keep your core stable and engaged. Do 12 reps on each side (24 total), for 2-3 rounds.
To add more challenge: Perform with hands on a bosu.
To add less challenge: Plank can be done on knees (make sure core stays engaged)
A resistance band is needed for this exercise. Put the resistance band around your legs – either at your ankles, right below your knees, or right above your knees (depending on how much resistance you want). Make sure it’s not directly over a joint. Sink down low in a squat, making sure your weight is in your heels, your knees are not over your toes, and your chest stays tall. Take a small step at a 45 degree angle to one side and bring the other foot to meet it. Repeat with the other leg. Use your glutes as you walk forward. Take three steps forward and three steps back. That equals one rep. Do 10 reps, 2-3 rounds. Your glutes will be burning after this one!
Remember that just 15 minutes, 2-3x a week is all it takes to notice a difference! Putting in that time now will help you stay on the road later!
Tammy Whyte is the owner and head coach at TW Training and Wellness and is both a certified personal trainer (NASM) and certified running coach (RRCA). Summer Marathon and Half Marathon Training Programs are now open – save $20 by signing up by Friday, 4/6, and entering promo code PACERS20. All programs integrate strength exercises to help with injury prevention and building stronger runners. Check out more information and her training programs at www.twtrainingwellness.com. Feel free to reach out with questions at [email protected]