Knee pain is one of the most common injuries experienced by runners.
No wonder, because enormous forces act on the knee joint when running.
The pain does not necessarily result from overstressing the joint itself.
Often the symptoms arise from instability of the leg axis.
Therefore, strength exercises should also be an integral part of your training plan.
Hip training is particularly valuable.
After all, the hips are the key element in running.
In this article, I’ll show you four exercises you can do to work your hips efficiently.
Hull remains trump card
Endurance athletes often lack the lack of tension in the core muscles.
Sitting for long periods of time will keep your hips constantly flexed.
As a result, your hip muscles become more inflexible every day.
You probably won’t notice this creeping process that quickly.
You only notice the lack of flexibility in your hip flexors when it is too late.
A shortened hip flexor is often reflected in a seated running posture when running.
In this case, your lumbar spine has to compensate for the lack of mobility in your hips, which often causes lower back pain.
In order to be able to run symptom-free, you should be able to stretch your hips as much as possible.
Hip training is essential for runners
You should also have strong buttocks muscles.
Because as an opponent to the hip flexor, the gluteal muscles influence your hip extension and thus your stride length.
A protagonist in this biomechanical interaction is the tensor fascia latae (TFL) muscle – the so-called thigh ligament tensioner.
This skeletal muscle is part of the outer hip muscles and not only enables the thigh to be spread apart, bent or rotated internally.
It also stabilizes the knee joint.
In addition, the TFL has a significant influence on the so-called iliotibial band (IT band).
You are probably familiar with this term if you have often struggled with knee or hip pain.
The IT tape is a long strand of fascia that runs from the hip to the knee and down to the shin bone.
An excessively tight iliotibial ligament provokes irritation of the knee joint, which creates the dreaded runners knee.
The relevance of strength training can definitely not be dismissed out of hand.
But in addition to the regular running ABC, the consistently performed stretching routine and the blackroll sessions, most runners lack the time and desire to do additional strength training.
But as soon as the pain is so great that training is no longer possible and the doctor consulted has prescribed the consistent implementation of targeted strength exercises to alleviate the symptoms, most runners will understand.
Effective injury prevention is so simple.
Because for an efficient workout, you neither have to take out an expensive gym membership nor leave your own four walls.
All you need for strength training is some space, a resistance band, and your own body.
So that you can train injury and pain-free in the future, I’ll show you four exercises for hip training.
Exercise 1: clam
Repetitions: 10–12 times per side
The clam is one of the most efficient exercises for strengthening the hips, buttocks and pelvis.
Regular practice can also prevent injuries and reduce tension in the lower back.
It is therefore part of every runner’s workout.
Execution: Lie on one side and place the resistance band around your knees.
Now bend both knees to 45 degrees.
Make sure that your legs and feet are exactly on top of each other.
Now lift the top leg as much as you can without moving the rest of your body.
Hold this position for three seconds, then lower your knees again, and repeat the exercise.
Then you change the side and thus also the leg to be trained.
Keep your feet together while doing this exercise.
Exercise 2: monster gang
Repetitions: 10–12 steps in each direction
Granted, doing this strength exercise looks a bit strange.
But it’s a simple exercise to improve hip stabilization, strengthen abductors, and increase knee joint stability.
Execution: Put the resistance band around your feet.
Then, put your feet shoulder-width apart.
The tape should be taut, but not too tight.
Get on your knees slightly – you should activate the gluteal muscles.
In this position you now step aside.
After ten to twelve steps, you change direction to train the other half of your buttocks.
When doing this, be careful not to push your knees over your toes.
You should also keep your pelvis level at all times.
Exercise 3: pelvic lift
Repetitions: 10-12 x
When running, the gluteal muscles stabilize the pelvis and hip area.
Weak buttocks can affect your entire musculoskeletal system and make you more prone to injury.
As a runner, you should therefore attach particular importance to strong buttocks muscles.
Execution: Lie flat on your back and pull your heels towards your buttocks until your lower legs are pointing straight up.
Put your arms to the side to stabilize your body during the exercise.
Now lift your buttocks off the floor and keep the muscles tensed in their final position.
During the entire exercise, make sure that your back stays straight and that your buttocks and thighs are as straight as possible.
Then lower your body again and start the exercise again.
Exercise 4: Standing leg spreader
Repetitions: 10-12 x
When done standing, this exercise not only strengthens your glutes.
It trains your balance, coordination and stability at the same time.
Execution: Stand up straight.
The resistance band is placed above your knees.
Now bend the leg to be trained as if you wanted to stretch your front hamstring muscle.
In this position, you now spread your leg to the side in a controlled manner.
Be very careful not to use your knee joint to perform this movement.
You should feel this exercise clearly in the posterior muscle.
Strong hips for more power
Most athletes are just as aware of the relevance of the knee joint as the impending pause in running that can result from knee pain.
Instead of trying to get rid of the symptoms, it is better to stop the training session as a precaution.
When it comes to knee pain, even the toughest runners draw a clear line.
However, it is important to understand that knee discomfort is not necessarily caused by local problems.
The pain can also result from muscular insufficiency in a completely different part of the body.
It is even very likely that biomechanical relationships are causing the annoying knee pain.
However, a common misconception still prevents too many runners from doing extra strength exercises to strengthen their bodies.
After all, running training is a full-body workout.
However, this is only partially correct.
Because when you run, a large number of muscles are stressed.
The feet, the calves, the thighs, the buttocks.
But your upper body is also really challenged while running.
Strong back muscles ensure that you run upright and dynamically even when you sprint to the finish line of a marathon.
It is wrong, however, that your muscles are trained with the mere burden of jogging.
You may appreciate the monotony of running.
Your muscles, however, can’t stand the monotonous sequences of movements at all.
Your muscles are crying out for new challenges.
You need new stimuli on a regular basis to become stronger.
A strong musculoskeletal system is particularly important for runners.
Therefore, you should exercise both the hip and gluteus muscles regularly.
The time is well invested.