So if you’re a runner you may have had issues with tight hips, “runners knee”, or IT-Bands. You also might notice your hips are usually pretty tight. Runners typically have overworked and weak glutes (butt muscles) and psoas (hip flexors) muscles. So what are good exercises to do to strengthen those muscles and make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for common running injuries?
A strong core and stabilizing muscles are a great place to start. That’s why I’ve chosen to share these Pilates exercises with you kind folks. The first being: Standing Leg Lifts with Circles. This move helps to strengthen the stabilizing muscles, along with challenging the core and adding to hip mobility.
-Standing straight up, knees soft but strong, and arms parallel to your sides, slowly raise your right leg leading with the outer hip. Hold for a count or two at the top making sure to keep your foot flexed and toe turned down, and slowly lower your leg back to start. Repeat this exercise 8-10 times on each leg. To add to this move, lift as mentioned above, but at the top, circle your leg in a small clockwise motion 8-10 times, then counterclockwise 8-10 times.
The next exercise is the Hip Circle with Zigzags.
– This exercise utilizes the abdominal muscles while targeting the abductors, adductors, and hip flexors. It also helps to stretch the top of the foot, which will help with those pesky shin splints.
-Lay on your back, propped on your elbows. extend your legs out at a 45 degree angle. If you aren’t able to hold the 45 degree angle, bend your legs to a 90 degree angle. Do hip circles, 6-8 each direction. Once you’ve completed circles in both directions, extend both legs out, toes pointed. Cross your right leg over the top or your left and widen your legs about 2 feet apart. Next cross your left leg over your right, repeating this “zigzag” for 8-10 per leg.
– to advance this move, slowly raise your legs upward for 2- 4 sets, and then downward for 2-4 sets as you zigzag.