Mini Band Workout for Hip & Glute Strength
Morning friends! I was up bright and early this morning for the first 6:00am practice of the season… the 4:45am wake-up call was easier than expected but I’m definitely glad there aren’t as many of these early AM practices in track as in cross country. I’m finishing up this post while the team is out for their easy run and then I’m heading to the rec center on campus for my tempo Tuesday workout!
When I’m at work and have a workout on the schedule I tend to do it on the treadmill because I don’t feel super safe running near campus by myself. If it’s a workout I really want to get done outside I’ll do loops around campus (it’s a nice 2 mile loop). On the schedule today is 6 miles at 6:05 pace – it’s crazy how I can be nervous about hitting that pace when it felt easy a few months ago. I mean by half marathon pace in October was 6:00! Fingers crossed it goes well!
Today’s workout is one that I’ve been doing for the last 6-7 months. It helps with hip & glute strength which are two of my weaknesses as a runner. Hip strength is required to lift your legs for each stride while running, doing these exercises helps increase your hip strength which helps you maintain good form deep in the distance races. I’ve gotten various form analyses over the years and each time I’ve been told that I don’t engage my glutes enough. This is really common in distance runners because slower, longer distance running is a *mainly* front-side motion. Weak glutes can lead to injury and causes you to become fatigued more quickly in races because you are only using your front muscles (quads, hip flexors, etc.). When you have strong glutes and are able to engage them while running you’ll have more power in your stride and you’ll be recruiting more muscles for each stride which helps relieve the load on your quads a bit.
I do the following mini-band exercises 2-3 times a week, usually after my easy runs or in the evenings. As always with new workouts start with a lower resistance and fewer sets and slowly work your way up in sets/resistance over the course of a few weeks/months as you get stronger.
1 – Forward Walking – 2-3x 10 steps
2 – Backward Walking – 2-3x 10 steps
Place band around your middle/upper calves and take 10 walking steps forwards and then 10 walking steps backwards
3 – Side Stepping – 2-3x 10 steps (each side)
With the band around your middle/upper calves, and your knees slightly bent take 10 shuffle steps to the right and then 10 shuffle steps to the left
4 – Back Laying Leg Lifts – 2-3x 10 lifts (each side)
Laying flat on your back, with the mini band around the middle of your calves raise your right leg up as high as you can without straining your hip or bending your leg. Repeat 10 times and then switch to the left leg.
Your hips should stay and stationary as possible. I recommend keeping your hand on your hips to monitor any hip movement that might occur.
5 – Side Laying Leg Lifts – 2-3x 10 lifts (each side)
Lay on your left side with your hips stacked on top of each other, with the band around your calves lift your top leg as high as you can without straining your hips and keeping your leg straight. Repeat 10 times and then switch to your right side.
Make sure that your hips remain stacked throughout the entire movement.
6 – Front Laying Leg Lifts – 2-3x 10 lifts (each side)
Laying flat on your stomach, with the mini band around the middle of your calves raise your right leg up as high behind you as you can without straining your glute or bending your leg. Repeat 10 times and then switch to the left leg. Your hips should stay and stationary as possible.
7 – Donkey Kicks – 2-3x 10 kicks (each side)
Start in a table top position (on all fours) with the exercise band around your lower thighs. Raise your right leg up behind you, keeping your knee at a 90 degree angle. Squeeze your hamstring, glute at the top of the motion and return to table top. Repeat 10 times with your right leg and then switch to the left side.
Do not arch your back or let either of your hips drop throughout the movement.
8 – Clam Shells – 2-3x 10 lifts (each side)
Lay on your left side with the band around your lower thighs. Your thighs should be at ~135* angle from your torso and your knees should be at a 90* angle. Stack both your hips and your feet on top of one another.
With your feet touching throughout the movement, hinge your top leg up as high as you can without straining your hip. Keep your hips stacked throughout the movement. Repeat 10 times and then switch to the right side.
9 – Glute Bridge with Pulse Outs – 2-3x 10 pulses
Lay on your back with your feet planted shoulder width below your knees and your band around your lower thighs. Come up into a glute bridge, making sure that there is a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pulse your knees out 10 times, maintaining the straight line from shoulders to knees (aka. don’t let your hips drop!).
This entire workout will take you 10-15 minutes, depending on how many set you do, and can easily be done in your own home – even when your mini workout buddy is around, ha!
If you don’t have mini-bands I highly recommend these Perform Better Exercise Mini Bands.
Let me know if you try out these exercises!
Mamas – what are your tips for working out around your kiddos? I usually just let Liv and the dogs crawl all over me because my at-home workouts are all pretty mellow (core, balance, hip strength, etc)