Building a Stronger Runner Part 2

Congratulations on finishing the first four weeks of our building a stronger runner series!  This week we will begin part 2:  The knee and Hip.  Often when you hear people talk about running-related injuries, knee pain is high on the list.  Although pain and inflammation may show up in the knee as the primary source of pain it is often dysfunction elsewhere that is causing the abnormal strain on the knee.  The knee is a relatively simple hinge joint, with more complex joints below it and above it.  Muscle imbalance in the foot and ankle complex and the hip can cause pain in the knee.

Since you have done such an amazing job strengthening your feet and ankles, we will begin this new series targeting the strength in the hips.

1.  Exercise number one is a bridge.  Bridges work to stabilize the abdominals and strengthen the glutes while working hip extension.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip distance apart.  Tighten your abdominal muscles and squeeze your gluteals prior to lifting your bottom off the floor.  Hold for 10 seconds.  Repeat 10 times.  As you get stronger increase the duration of your hold to 20 seconds with 5 repetitions.

2.  Exercise number two is a side-lying clam.  This exercise works gluteus medius one of the primary stabilizing muscles used with single-leg weight-bearing activity.

Lie on your side with hips and knees bent.  Keep your feet together and lift the top knee up towards the ceiling.  The hips and trunk should not move during this exercise, if you feel you are rolling back you have lifted your knee too high.  To increase the difficulty of this exercise add a resistance band or increase the length of the hold.  Repeat each exercise 15 times holding 5 seconds each.

Good luck and keep up the good work!  Let us know how it is going.