What I’ve learned lately…”core” includes more than just our abs and back muscles.
Runners know that our core is one of the most important thing we can work on to become stronger and faster, and it will also help us avoid injuries. Ask any fitness nut or personal trainer about “core work” and you will be treated to a long spiel about how important is it to our routine.
First, we have to figure out what exactly we mean when we say “core.” Ask for a core workout from a personal trainer at a health club, and you will probably get a series of crunches, planks, and sit-ups. However, “core” means something very different to a physiologist or an orthopedist: it means all of the muscles of the lower trunk and pelvis: not just your abs and your back, but your hip flexors, glutes, abductors, and adductors too!
These hip muscle groups are particularly important because they’ve been involved in a range of running injuries. Weak hips can often be the cause of IT band pain, patella tendonitis (runner’s knee), piriformis issues, sciatica, and a myriad of other common running injuries.
Instead of going into too many details about the various studies that have been done.. here are some highlights. Want to know more? Check out this Runners Connect article, The relationship between hip strength and running injuries – the latest research.
It’s true that these studies were done with women, but another study done by Reed Ferber, Ph. D., director of the University of Calgary’s Running Injury Clinic concluded that “Inadequate hip muscle stabilization is a top cause of injury in runners,” he says. “The hips need to be strong to support the movement of the feet, ankles, and knees.”
In 2007, Ferber conducted a study of 284 patients (men and women) who complained of leg pain. He found that 93 percent of them had weak hip muscles. After putting these people on a targeted strength program, 90 percent of them were pain-free within six weeks! So yes…hip strength is important for ALL runners, men and women.
We’ve had a lot of leg and glute strength exercises in the past, but we’ve never had a month dedicated to hip strength so our November Challenge is going to focus on this area. We will still have a couple ab days and Sundays will be arms…but in November, It’s all about the hips!
Here’s the skinny…
- Monday: Hips + Plank + Pigeon Pose
- Tuesday: Abs + Plank
- Wednesday: Hips + Plank + Pigeon Pose
- Thursday: Abs + Plank
- Friday: Hips + Plank + Pigeon Pose
- Saturday: Long Run + 7 Key Stretches for Runners & Pigeon Pose + Plank
- Sunday: Arms + Plank
As always, don’t get overwhelmed before we get started. This month, I wanted to make sure the exercises don’t take too long towards the end of the month so we will not go over 3 sets of 15. Our hip strength/stability and ab routines are quick but effective our Sunday arms will help us keep the strength that we’ve already built. Let’s get to it!
Our November 2016 Challenge Calendar and links to our “how to” video pages are below.
- Monday & Wednesday: “How To” Hips
- Tuesday & Thursday: “How To” Abs
- Friday: “How To” Hips
- Sunday: “How To” Arms
Other than doing the pigeon pose, we don’t have a day dedicated to stretching this month but by now, you should be stretching A LOT. If not…you’re missing out! Here’s the link to our 7 Key Stretches for Runners!
Check below the calendar for links to this month’s daily posts with exercises, bonuses, stretches, and speed work!
Days 5 & 6: Weekend Long Run and Arms – Sorry no post was at RNR Savannah! 🙂