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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.

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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!

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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!

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Marathon de Paris : the aftermath

Ok, *way* to foreboding a title. The ‘aftermath’ of Paris was really not that bad. While I was stiff, I was in pretty good shape and could walk without trouble. My glutes and hamstrings which were quite painful after the race had settled down completely, it was really just my quads that were pretty sore, making going down stairs and sitting down an exercise in controlled falling…

Monday in Paris was spent seeing off Mark and his Lovely Fiancée, doing lots some sightseeing, and a bit lot of eating, most of which was conducted on a walking food tour of the St Germain district. If you’re in Paris, marathon or not, I can recommend the Paris by Mouth walking tour.

On the tour we had a fantastic guide, and also met a lovely couple Chuck and Lisa who had also come for the marathon. It turned out to be Chuck’s twelfth marathon! Amazing effort. Naturally our discussion turned to the race and it turned out we’d had similar experiences with water stations, the cobbles and ‘the tunnel’ but overall had found the race very enjoyable. We also found the cheese, charcuterie and wine on the walking tour much to our liking as well…

Running wise I took the WHOLE week after the marathon off. I loved it. I admit it. Not ‘having’ to run was a bit of a treat, and I didn’t run until Saturday when I did a shakedown run to see how everything was. I did a slow half-mile then built up to a bit slower than marathon pace for the rest of the two mile run, followed with 5x100m strides at a bit slower than 800m pace to test the muscles and joints. Overall I was happy with how I felt, no injuries as such and the strides felt pretty comfortable. So I signed myself off ‘fit’ to play Aussie rules on Sunday, and (un)surprisingly found myself much more bruised and battered from the game than the marathon.

Last night I hit the gym for the first big strength session of the year. I didn’t go too heavy on the weight, but by doing super-sets I was able to give myself a good dose of DOMS today. I’m walking worse than after the marathon 😉

Going forwards, the plan is to go easy on the running for at least the next month and instead focus on strength training to resolve my glute weakness/activation issues. While certainly my glute strength/activation is a lot better than it was at the end of last year when I got my calf injury, my right hand side is still weaker and not firing correctly, which is the cause of the tendinitis problems I had before the marathon.

So it’s time for more gym action for me. But not today. Today I feel like I slept in a washing machine and, as it’s sunny, a beer on the Thames riverside is in order!

Anyone else looking to ‘reset and reload’ after their spring racing in preparation for autumn’s races?

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
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Beware the silent Mogwai : He’s the real troublemaker

Her: “Wow, your calf muscles are well developed.”
Me: “Thanks for noticing.”
Her: “It wasn’t a compliment.”
Me: “Oh… Yes, of course, sorry.”

It has been some time since I saw my chiropractor, and I had forgotten that she doesn’t remark on areas of my body unless there is a problem. Luckily for me I was face-down on the treatment table so she didn’t have to see my embarrassed look.

In my last post I mentioned that I had a few little Mogwais causing issues which I needed to sort out to prevent them becoming nasty little gremlins, the notable one being calf and associated shin pain.

What happens when I eat after midnight...

Well, it turns out that these little Mogwais were only the noisy ones. There were a couple of quiet ones hiding in the shadows waiting to cause havoc…a weak butt and tight hip flexors.

Unfortunately, my overdeveloped calf muscles are not the result of genetic luck, they are a symptom of requiring too much propulsion from my calves. Turns out my glutes and hamstrings are the culprits, by not providing the ‘missing’ propulsion. It’s not all their fault though. The real villain is my hip-flexors – they are very tight, which prevents my glutes/hamstrings from ‘pulling’ my leg back, meaning that I ‘drive’ my leg back through my quads and use my calf muscles to generate power at the end of my stride.

Further, the tight hip flexors ’tilt’ my pelvis forward, which has caused the muscles in my lower back to become stretched. I learned that it is these lower back muscles that assist in preventing lower back pain (which I get when standing for even a short period of time) and, crucially, weakness in these muscles can prevent the gluteus medius muscles from firing. Kind of a double whammy really.

The prescription?

  • Hip flexor stretches to open my hips
  • Lower back exercises to strengthen and shorten the muscles
  • Strength exercises focussing on my glutes and hamstrings

I’ve set myself a ’30 day challenge’ to do my stretches and exercises every day for the next 30 days, which will take me through to 17th December, which is also the date of the first run of my next marathon build-up.

I have to admit that is cutting it fine to be focussing on fixing a muscular imbalance issue at the same time as building up to a marathon training phase, but for the time being I will just have to keep the running reduced while I build up the volume of these exercises – I don’t want to overload my glutes and hamstrings and risk injury.

It’s not all bad news though. I was also complaining of some SI joint pain. I was relieved to hear from my chiropractor that my SI joint is moving freely, the pain was being referred from my lower black and gluteus medius muscle, so the treatment of my hip flexor and glutes/hamstring should resolve this issue.

Back in your box little buddy...

Back in your box little buddy…

Fingers crossed dealing with my hip flexor and glutes will resolve my calf issue and other little Mogwais, and if I’m lucky, make me a better runner.

Is anyone else battling a couple of little Mogwais at the moment?

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
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Thursday Training Tip #2

Strength Training

Strength training is really important for improving your running and reducing the likelihood of injury.
Here is a set of strength training exercises for beginner runners from the Guardian Lifestyle running blog

Strong 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

Power legs workout

John from Fit For a Year posted a new challenge today. 30 days of this stuff!

I already use these exercises as part of my cross training routine to build explosive power, increase stability and strengthen my core. The jumping lunges also help with the imbalance in strength between by hamstrings/glutes and quads.

30 days straight though? No thanks…

Let’s be honest with each other. These exercises are hard – downright nasty almost. There is a teaspoon full of masochism needed to make yourself go through a full workout like this, but the completion will give you a great feeling of accomplishment.

But 30 days straight is not for me. I’ll stick to weekly/fortnightly I reckon!

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