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React Now to Build Strength
While training for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, it’s important to remember strength training as part of your routine. This will ensure you are getting proper activation of your trunk and hip musculature.
Let’s take a look at ways to strengthen your gluteal muscles, which are essential for overall leg stability as well as propelling you forward while running.
In our React Physical Therapy clinics, we work with many runners who suffer from hip, knee and ankle pain that is caused mainly by poor activation and/or weakness of gluteal muscles.
Once you are able to understand how to fire your glutes correctly, you can work on the exercises listed below and demonstrated in the video. Note, for all exercises it’s very important to take your time and focus on correct form rather than getting through sets as fast as possible.
1) Single-leg glute bridge
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the table/ground. Straighten one leg. While keeping your abs tight and pelvis level, raise your pelvis in the air and squeeze your glute muscles tight at the top. Hold for two to three seconds, then slowly lower while maintaining a neutral pelvis. Perform three sets of about six to eight repetitions, increasing reps and/or hold time as you get stronger
This exercise emphasizes hip abduction strength. Lie on your side and bring both knees to about waist level with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Straighten the top leg. While keeping your pelvis facing front, raise your top leg to the height shown in the video and hold for two to three seconds. Then slowly lower your leg back to a neutral position. Avoid letting your pelvis roll backward while raising your leg by keeping your abs tight. Perform three sets of about six to eight reps.
3) Single-Leg RDLs
Keeping one foot flat, hinge forward on your stance hip while keeping your back and opposite leg straight. Hinge forward as far as you feel comfortable, then slowly return to the starting position. With more practice, you’ll be able to hinge forward farther without losing your balance. This exercise will not only improve your glute activation, but it will also mobilize your hamstrings, which tend to become very restricted in runners with poor glute activation. Perform three sets of about eight to 10 reps.
4) Bulgarian Split Squat
Stand a couple of feet away from a chair, and reach one leg back so that the top of your foot is resting on the chair’s seat. Begin by contracting your abs and slightly sticking your butt out to achieve a neutral pelvis. Slowly lower yourself by hinging and sticking your butt back into a squat. Lower as far as you feel comfortable and then return to the starting position. Avoid letting your knee fall forward past your toes and/or letting your knee fall inward. Focus on using your glutes to control the motion down, as well as when you explode upward. Perform three sets of about six to eight reps.
For more great exercises, visit React’s YouTube channel. And to schedule your FREE screening with one of our great therapists, call the nearest of our six locations (yes, we are open) or our main number (312-243-9350) to explore the new Telehealth options from which when can serve you anywhere in the world.