Category Archives: Thursday Training Tip

Thursday Training Tip: 30 Day Hip Flexor and Glute Strength Challenge

Hip Flexor and Glute strength for runners

A reader recently reached out to me through my Facebook page and asked me if I could share the 30 Day Hip Flexor and Glute Strength Challenge workout schedule that I completed last year whilst I was recovering from a calf injury.

Strength training is an important part of being a runner. It helps prevent injuries and can make you a better runner overall. Adding glute strength exercises and hip flexor stretches into your strength routine will help you build strength in this key area and hopefully reduce your chance of lower limb injuries caused by a weak gluteal area. For more detailed information on why your glutes are so important you can check out my post here.

IMG_5484

Should you do a 30 Day Hip Flexor and Glute Strength challenge?

Before we start, here’s a quick word of advice: A 30 Day Challenge is meant to be hard, but completing one should never come at the expense of your other training, and should never replace a ‘whole body’ strength session done to keep everything in tune. Instead think of it as a way to improve on a particular area you are weak in, or as something you could consider doing if you aren’t currently running much.

I did this particular challenge when I wasn’t running (due to injury recovery) so I was able to add it to my usual core routine without over-training. That said, it was still a tough challenge and by the end of it I was struggling to keep up, even with splitting the big days into a morning and evening workout.

If you’re still running when taking on this challenge, halve the number of squats (though keep the stretches the same). If you’re training heavily for a race, think carefully if this is the right thing for you at all, or try only a quarter or a third of the squats listed.

Now, just because it’s a 30 day challenge that doesn’t mean you should stop after the last day. The big benefit of these sorts of challenges is it makes you strong enough and confident enough to add the exercise into your normal strength training routine. After you finish the challenge, keep it up and make the squats you’ve learnt in the challenge part of your normal routine.

And finally – It’s hard. The early days might seem easy but they build up quick. If you’re struggling to keep up, don’t worry about it. Take an extra rest day and pick up where you left off. Making sure you increase your efforts at a pace your body can cope is much more important than doing it within 30 days!

IMG_4822

30 Day Hip Flexor and Glute Strength challenge – Get Squatting

The schedule is based around the bodyweight squat and split squat – great all-rounder exercises – as well as two basic stretches for your hip flexor and glute. For those who are new to the exercises click the links in the text to watch some videos of correct form. The schedule also introduces many different types of squats, of various complexity. I’ve included links to the videos in the text, but if the exercises are causing you more than normal fatigue-based pain when you’re doing them, stop and reassess your technique. If a particular one just isn’t working for you, replace it with a bodyweight squat.

Babies are natural squatters!

Babies are natural squatters!

30 Day Hip Flexor and Glute Strength challenge – Lets do it!

Day 1:
1) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
2) 10 squats
3) 10 split squats each side
4) 20 squats
5) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 2:
1) 10 squats
2) 10 split squats each side
3) Runners World Glute strength video
4) 20 squats
5) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
6) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 3:
1) 10 squats
2) 10 split squats each side
3) Runners World Glute strength video
4) 25 squats
5) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
6) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 4: REST DAY
1) Hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Foam roller hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side
4) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
5) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 5:
1) 20 squats
2) 10 split squats each side
3) 10 one legged squats each side
4) 5 Bulgarian split squats each side
5) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
6) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 6:
1) 25 squats
2) 10 split squats each side
3) 10 one legged squats each side
4) 5 Bulgarian split squats each side
5) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
6) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 7:
1) 20 squats
2) 10 split squats each side
3) 10 one legged squats each side
4) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
5) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
6) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 8: REST DAY
1) 10 one legged squats each side
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
5) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side

Day 9:
1) Fitness Blender 10×10 challenge
2) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side

Day 10:
1) 35 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 10 split squats each side
4) 10 one legged squats each side
5) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
6) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
7) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side

Day 11:
1) 25 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 10 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 10 ski squats
6) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
8) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side

Day 12: REST DAY
1) 10 one legged squats each side
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) Glute stretch, 45 seconds each side
5) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 13:
1) 25 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 10 ski squats
6) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
8) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side

Day 14:
1) 25 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 ski squats
6) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
8) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 15:
1) 30 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 ski squats
6) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
8) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 16: REST DAY
1) 30 squats
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
5) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 17:
1) 30 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 ski squats
6) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Gluteus medius workout
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 18:
1) 30 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 20 ski squats
6) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Gluteus medius workout
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 19:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 20 ski squats
6) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Runners World Glute strength video
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 20: REST DAY
1) 15 squats, 15 Plié squats
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
5) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 21:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 side leg lifts each side
6) 20 ski squats
7) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Runners World Glute strength video
9) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
10) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 22:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 20 side leg lifts each side
6) 20 ski squats
7) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 23:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 10 side lunge squats each side
6) 20 side leg lifts each side
7) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 24: REST DAY
1) 10 one legged squats each side, 10 side lunges each side
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) Half Pigeon yoga pose 30 seconds each side
5) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 25:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 side lunge squats each side
6) 20 side leg lifts each side
7) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side
10) Half Pigeon yoga pose 30 seconds each side

Day 26:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 side lunge squats each side
6) 25 side leg lifts each side
7) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side
10) Half Pigeon yoga pose 30 seconds each side

Day 27:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 side lunge squats each side
6) 25 side leg lifts each side
7) 20 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side
10) Half Pigeon yoga pose 30 seconds each side

Day 28: REST DAY
1) 10 one legged squats each side, 10 Plié squats
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
5) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 29:
1) 40 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 side lunge squats each side
6) 25 side leg lifts each side
7) 20 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side
10) Half Pigeon yoga pose 30 seconds each side

Day 30:
1) 40 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 20 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 side lunge squats each side
6) 25 side leg lifts each side
7) 20 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side
10) Half Pigeon yoga pose 30 seconds each side

 

I hope you enjoyed the challenge and have noticed a real increase in strength through your gluteal area and an increased range of movement through your hip flexors. Don’t forget to keep up the exercises as part of your usual strength routine!

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

On Facebook? ‘Like’ my Facebook page and keep up with my day-to-day happenings, hints, tips and shares
Want to see what/where/how I’m training? View or ‘connect’ with me on my Garmin profile to see what’s been going on
Like a bit of Youtube? Check out my channel with my collection of videos I use and refer to

Thursday Training Tip : Strong Running Needs Strong Glutes

Most runners know that core work and general strength work is an important tool for making you a better runner and preventing injuries. Almost every book, website and forum tells us that ‘core is king’ and we need to focus on this area.

I think they are still right – I do core and general strength workouts as part of my weekly training – but due to a recent calf injury I’ve found out about the importance of strengthening your glutes to help prevent injury – particularly overuse type injuries and lower limb injuries.

The reason the glutes are so important is because they form a key link between your lower limbs and your torso, especially when running. A weak gluteal area will cause imbalances in your whole kinetic chain, increasing your risk of injury. Your glutes are also responsible for providing rearward drive through your legs. Stronger glutes mean faster turnover and faster running.

However, glutes are hard to train as most exercises don’t isolate the area, allowing other muscles to be recruited to take the load. Plus, for those with desk jobs your hip flexors are often tight due to the hours of sitting, further inhibiting activation of the glutes. Adding glute strength exercises and hip flexor stretches into your routine will help you build strength in this key area and hopefully reduce your chance of injuries caused by a weak gluteal area.

Read the rest of this entry

Thursday Training Tip #11 : Proper running form tips

Following my previous post of a parody on awkward running styles, I thought I would pull together a collection of information on good running form as a bit of a guide.

Disclaimer time: I’m not a professional, a coach, a physio or anatomical guru. I also don’t win races. I’m just a guy who loves running who also shares information I find useful for me and hope will be useful for you.

Try to review your form regularly when you’re running, every few minutes or any time where you ‘check in’ after a bout of daydreaming or distraction.

Now, there are a load of tips and tricks to help tweak your form, arms, legs, shoulders, breathing – too many to remember on their own. To help me when I’m running, I developed a chant of U, A, B, C” to prompt me to review my form. Hopefully you will also find it useful to help keep a good running form:

 

U is for ‘You’:

  • When you check-in do a body scan to see how you feel.
  • Any niggles, unusual tightness or sharp pains are an indicator of trouble and you should pay them some attention to judge if they are fleeting troubles or indicative of impending injury. Stop running or start walking if you have sharp pains or any significant impairment in your ability to run.

 

U is for ‘Upright’:

  • You should be standing tall, with a slight forward lean. Make sure your lean isn’t a tilt from the hips. Practice this feeling by standing up straight, then leaning forwards without bending at the hips, until your weight is on the balls of your feet (but not as far forwards as your toes). The lean will be slight, only about 1 degree, and your eyes should naturally fall on a point on the ground about 20m/50ft in front of you.
  • If you start to slouch during a long run, reset your posture by taking a deep breath while standing up tall, then maintain that tall feeling.

 

A is for ‘Arms’:

  • Your arms should moving forwards and backwards like a pendulum, loosely from the shoulders, not swinging across your torso.
  • Check that your shoulders are relaxed. They should not be hunched, tense, pulled back or swinging too much.
  • When running check your arms aren’t crossing in front of your zipper line, and that your zipper line is staying relatively straight, not being twisted like a pretzel.
  • Here’s a link to a previous post about good arm swing technique, and try this video:

 

B is for ‘Breathing’:

 

C is for ‘Cycling’:

  • Check your gait. Your legs should be cycling through, with an efficient knee lift (not high like a sprinters, but not straight legged like a robot), engagement of your glutes and hamstrings and without scrubbing your feet when they land.
  • Your cadence should also be around 180 steps per minute. Cadence is hard when running outside. Practice on a treadmill set on your ‘comfortably fast’ pace, then count your footfalls for one minute. Count just one foot and try to get to 90 steps in a minute.
  • Your footfall should be conducive to efficient flow and foot turnover. This doesn’t mean you have to be a forefoot striker; there is all sorts of debate and little consensus about optimum foot strike. The key is that your foot should hit the ground lightly then quickly roll forward (fast cadence will help this), with your foot-strike being under your centre of gravity to avoid the ‘braking’ that occurs when your foot lands in front of your COG.
  • Here’s a video about good foot position when running:

 

Hopefully with these tips you’ll be able to keep and eye on your form, improve your running, reduce likelihood of injury and make your running more enjoyable. And with luck you can try not to look like these guys (remember this is a parody):

I’m a ‘T-1000’ runner by the way…

 

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

 

Related Articles:

A breath of fresh air : The correct breathing technique for running – getgoing-getrunning.com

Run with your arms – getgoing-getrunning.com

The Perfect Form – Running better, from head to toe – runnersworld.com

The Five Most Common Running Form Mistakes – running.competitor.com

 

On Facebook? ‘Like’ my Facebook page and keep up with my day-to-day happenings, hints, tips and shares
Want to see what/where/how I’m training? View or ‘connect’ with me on my Garmin profile to see what’s been going on
Like a bit of Youtube? Check out my channel with my collection of videos I use and refer to

Thursday Training Tip #10 : Proper breathing technique for running

A little while ago I posted some pointers on proper breathing technique for running. Ok, it was a long while ago, however I’ve finally managed to compile the expanded info onto a single page along with some tips and instructional videos. I hope you weren’t holding your breath…

Here are the key points to ensuring you have the proper breathing technique for running:

Breathe easy: in through the nose, out through the mouth but swap to mouth breathing once it gets difficult

Breathe deep: deep into your lungs maximising intake and exhale, equals more oxygen and removal of all CO2

Breathe from the belly: use your diaphragm to breath, not your chest muscles, as this will give you the biggest, and strongest, breath

Breathe slow: Bigger breaths mean you can breathe slower, which gives the lungs the time they need to complete the oxygen/CO2 transfer

Breathe rhythmically: breath in rhythm to your footfall so your breathing muscles work with your core, not against them.

Breathe Strong: You train your legs, so train your breathing muscles too. This will have the added benefit of a stronger core as well.

Here is the link to the full article on my site. I hope you find it useful, and please feel free to leave comments!

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

On Facebook? ‘Like’ my Facebook page and keep up with my day-to-day happenings, hints, tips and shares
Want to see what/where/how I’m training? View or ‘connect’ with me on my Garmin profile to see what’s been going on
Like a bit of Youtube? Check out my channel with my collection of videos I use and refer to
Related articles:

A Breath of Fresh Air – Get Going, Get Running

Thursday Training Tip #9 : Carbo-loading for endurance

As I, and a few of my readers, are running a marathon this weekend I thought I would make this week’s Thursday Training Tip about carbo-loading. Despite what a lot of people think, and most of us hope, carbo-loading for endurance events like half and full marathons isn’t a licence to gorge on pasta, fizzy drinks and sugary cereal. Carbo-loading is an important part of race preparation, and should receive the same level of focus as your physical and mental preparation.

carbo-load-pasta

Now, before the food bit, a bit about your training. If you’re about to start your carbo-load and you’re still running, STOP RUNNING! Most people follow a taper plan before a marathon, but then bottle it in the last few days and think if they don’t run they’ll lose their edge. This is simply not true. The repair and fuelling of your muscles you will be able to achieve in the last few days will help to deliver you to the starting line in the best possible condition to race. Your marathon performance was already set about 3 weeks before the race, running lots up to the event will hinder, not help.

Here are 8 tips to help you get the most out of your carbo-loading:-

Read the rest of this entry

Thursday Training Tip #8 : Dynamic Stretches for Runners

Dynamic stretching is the best way to warm up before running. Unlike static stretching, dynamic stretching includes movements more similar to running, which prime your neuromuscular system for the task ahead. Dynamic stretching raises your heart rate and increases blood flow to your muscles, which combined with running-like movements to increase range of motion helps to better prepare your body better for running than static stretching.

My personal routine of dynamic stretches and exercises takes me about 6 minutes to complete before my run. I do the following:

  • squats
  • walking lunges
  • calf raises
  • leg lifts
  • leg swings
  • torso twists

I do one set of each (10-12 reps) followed by another set of squats and walking lunges. This routine raises my heart rate, gets a good stretch through my legs and joints, and puts some warmth into my muscles, leaving my body and mind primed for my run. To complete my warmup I then run slowly for the first 5-10 minutes of my run, before building up my pace.

For some ‘how to’ on the above movements, here is a great video of dynamic stretches produced by Runners World:

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

On Facebook? ‘Like’ my Facebook page and keep up with my day-to-day happenings, hints, tips and shares
Want to see what/where/how I’m training? View or ‘connect’ with me on my Garmin profile to see what’s been going on
%d bloggers like this: