Day 7: How Does Your Hip Drop?

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-5-35-12-amGood morning and happy Monday Crew!

Continuing this month’s focus on “All In the Hips” we must talk about side to side stabilization and hip drop. No we’re not talking about the heel drop in your shoes, we’re talking about the way your hips line up when you’re running.

Do you stand tall when you’re running, or does your body involuntarily lean to on side causing your hip to drop to an unnatural level?

I found a really good article on hip stabilization on RunnersConnect.com called, Hip strength and running form: The role of hip drop in running injuries. I won’t recap the entire article for you as the link is above, but it is important to know that many runners who suffer injuries have weak hip stabilizing muscles. Among these muscles, the ones which are most often weakened in injured runners are the abductors and external rotators.

research by Irene Davis at the University of Delaware has shown that one good predictor of future injuries in healthy runners is a mechanical evaluation of hip mechanics: runners who have excessive hip adduction (opposite of abduction) and internal rotation are at an increased risk of developing injuries in the knee and IT band.

The logic is pretty simple, then: weak abductor and external rotator muscles cause excessive adduction and internal rotation during running, since the hip muscles aren’t strong enough to resist the forces from ground impact.

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Here’s a few pictures of me at RNR Savannah this weekend. I look happy and of course I’m smiling as always, but the knee pain was real and it kept me from taking that left turn onto the highway to complete the full marathon as I had signed up for. I was happy with my half marathon finish….but I am guilty of weak hips and here is the proof.

Totally guilty of hip drop. Especially later on in the race when I get more tired and lazy about my form.

Want to find out if you need to work on stabilization and getting those hips in line too? Find a race photo, or use a mirror, camera, or a friend to evaluate yourself to see if your hips tilt when you’re in the stance phase of your stride, particularly if you have had knee or IT band issues in the past…or feel a little niggling in your lower extremities now.

If you do find that your hips are dropping, we can fix it either by overriding your “natural” gait habits and practicing “standing taller” when we run and by doing strength exercises to shore up our weaknesses.  Fortunately, after adding hip strengthening exercises and practicing standing tall and keeping your pelvis level for a while, it will become automatic, overriding the old stride pattern in your brain. YAY…there is hope! 🙂

These exercises are for everyone so even if you don’t suffer from poor running form, eventually your hips will grow weaker and you may find this becoming a reality too. Work on hip strength now to avoid pain and injuries in the future.

Day 7 exercises: Hips/Glutes – Follow video below

  • Side Leg Pulse
  • Side Bicycle
  • Leg Stir
  • Big Circle
  • Hot Potato
  • Back Butt Press
  • Forearm Plank – :60
  • Pigeon Pose – :30 each leg

Seems like a lot…but in reality this workout takes about 5 minutes total for both legs. Don’t forget to start the video over with the opposite leg!


Bonus: Clamshell – 3 sets of 10 (each side) – Perfect addition to today’s hip/glute workout and an exercise we can do daily without any worry of “overdoing” it. Add some difficulty by using a resistance band around your knees.


Sarah’s Calorie Burn: Want to burn some extra calories today? Sarah has extended a little side challenge to us for this month that I am going to include each day. It’s a quick way to burn some extra calories so if this is an off day from running and you want to get your heart rate up a bit more, throw it in!

  • 25 Squats
  • 60 Jumping Jacks
  • 20 Push Ups
  • 50 Crunches

Lots of fun stuff to do on a Monday….but what else are Monday’s for other than a little hard work? 😉


Speed Work: Speed work can be done any day of the week but should be a few days in advance of your long run to give your legs a chance to recover fully before another “effort session”. If you go long on Saturday, get your speed work done by Wednesday. If you wait till Sunday to get those extra weekly miles in, you can safely wait till Thursday for speed work. But don’t put it off. Get it done because we know that speed work has MANY positive effects on on our running. Better breathing and lung capacity during our workouts being a huge motivating factor!

Workout: The Short Ladder 

This is a tough workout but once it’s done…man on man do you feel like a total badass! here’s how to set it up. I’m calling it the “short ladder” because I’m leaving out the 1200m this week. Baby steps…

  1. Warm up – 1-1.5 miles slow and easy – Rest 2 min
  2. 1600 – 1 mile – Don’t go all out…yet – Rest 2 min
  3. 800M – 1/2 mile – Speed up a little from your mile – Rest 2 min
  4. 2 x 400M – 1/4 mile – These should be your faster intervals – Rest 2 min between and after
  5. 800M – 1/2 mile – Back off the 400m speed but still give it some power! – Rest 2 min
  6. 1600m – 1 mile – This will be hard…but you can do it! Don’t give up!
  7. Cool down – 1 mile – This mile will feel easy and should be at your long run pace. Take time to breathe and just bring your heart rate down.
  8. STRETCH!! This is just as important as the rest of your workout. Don’t skip it. Your back, hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves will thank you! Here’s our 7 Key Stretches for Runners. Throw in a final pigeon pose just because it feels so good!

Don’t have time? Make time! This is for YOU! You need it. You deserve it! You will love yourself when it’s over! Get to work Crew and make it a fabulous Monday! 🙂

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