All runners should strengthen stabilizer muscles as part of their training regimen. Find out why it’s so important and how you can add simple exercises to help!
This is an update on my original post from July 2017.
There are some things I tend to focus on over and over again during race training: nutrition, running, and strength training. And for good reason, too. All those things play a huge role in race day success. Sometimes, though, as the mileage increases and the time available to workout decreases, something ends up taking a back seat. Sadly, it’s usually the strength work that’s first to go. But it definitely shouldn’t be.
Strength training is important to strengthen stabilizer muscles responsible for keeping your moving parts aligned and strong. The stabilizer muscles responsible for keeping your running form intact are the gluteus maximus and medius, the tensor fascia latae (or TFL), your hip musculature, and, of course, the core. Working these muscles and keeping them engaged while running will help keep injury at bay. The root of many running-related injuries can be attributed to weakness in these areas which can lead to issues with muscle imbalances and poor biomechanics. The biggest thing we can control is strengthening our stabilizer muscles to stay balanced and injury-free.
Making sure your muscles are toned and engaged, and keeping your form intact can help you avoid (or rehab) the following:
- ITBS (ilitibial band syndrome)
- plantar fasciitis
- stress reactions (by improving your form and footstrike)
- low back pain
- runner’s knee
Strengthen Stabilizer Muscles and Run Injury-Free
Examples of exercises to work these muscles are squats, lunges, burpees, planks, clamshells, lateral leg lifts, and small side circles.
A simple strength training circuit to strengthen stabilizer muscles goes something like this:
- single leg squats x10 (each side)
- marching bridge x20
- clamshells x10 (each side)
- lateral leg lifts x10 (each side)
- planks 1-minute
- push-ups x10
- burpees x10
Rest for 2-3 minutes and then repeat this circuit 3 times. For best results, try to do this circuit 2-3 times per week. There are several other exercises that are great for working the hips, glutes, and core. It’s best to switch things up every couple of weeks.
Strengthen the Hips, Glutes, and Core
It’s important to do these types of exercises regularly. You can spend as little as 15 minutes every other day on these exercises. In this case, something is better than nothing.
If you’re suffering from any soft-tissue injury, or you have in the past, it may be worth looking at your strength training regimen to make sure you’re engaging the muscles that need the work. A combination of foam rolling, stretching, and strength work will go a long way in keeping you running happy and injury-free.
TALK TO ME!
Have you suffered plantar fasciitis or ITBS?
Do you strength train often?